“. . . but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11 & I Corinth. 15:28)
A couple thoughts at the end of the year.
One is that the Lord is drawing us to Himself.
This is at the core of all things that the Lord does. All things.
Last summer, I had a discussion with someone close to me who has been struggling with cancer. We talked about healing. And what the Bible says about it.
I tried to listen carefully before I opened my big mouth. Something I don’t always do. And, as a result, I learned something.
Healing is a Process
While there are a lot of different views about healing, I believe that it is difficult for anyone not in the midst of the battle to really grasp the depth of the pain, doubt, and fear that accompanies a battle against disease and disability. Our carefully crafted theology, while incredibly important, tends to wither under the heat of tribulation. This is especially true of “armchair” theology — or theology unproven in battle.
Kind of like the old proverb, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Maybe that’s true; maybe not. But being in the fire is different than talking about being in the fire.
I also learned that healing is like all things we go through in this life.
It is a process. It is something the Lord guides us through. Sometimes that process can be brief. Sometimes long. Sometimes stretching over decades or even a lifetime.
But always for a purpose. Which is to bring us into a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord.
To Reveal Himself as the Solution
This is not just about healing. Healing is just one of countless areas that the Lord wants to be “all” to us.
In Sickness, He is the Great Physician. Even to be our Health Himself.
In Suffering, He is the God of all Comfort.
In Turmoil, He is the Prince of Peace.
In Confusion, He is our Counselor.
In drudgery and longsuffering and despair, He is Wonderful.
All the problems of our life are designed to do at least two things. To cause us to depend on the Lord Himself. And to allow the Lord to reveal Himself to the world around us.
Such as in the release of the ointment by the breaking of the alabaster bottle. Which is a beautiful symbol of the breaking of our outer man releasing the Spirit of God to minister to the surrounding world.
We think that this breaking should not occur. That there must be some other way the world can see the Lord without our having to suffer. Yet, that is not the case. The breaking of our outer man is critical. Otherwise, it is just the outer or natural man, that the world will see.
Only by this breaking of God can the indwelling Spirit minister to those around us.
This is not something we can do by our own planning or work. In fact, we resist this with every fiber of our being. No one likes suffering. And no sane person will choose it if there is some other way to achieve the same goal.
So, my take away from all this is that the Lord brings us through all kinds of things in our life. He wants to take us from our focus on good works or a million other “good things” to the focus on His Person. Because things, while good, are just that. They are dead things.
What we need and seek is life. Not just the absence of bad things or the absence of suffering or pain or trials. But the real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Life. In all the fullness that God has intended Him to be within us.
For the Lord Jesus to be “all” in us, He must shake up our lives.
The Shaking of God
We will see things that we have loved taken away. Things that we have great affection for will diminish in our lives. Dreams will fade away. Goals will become unattainable. Great plans will be shaken and destroyed by events and circumstances beyond our control.
All of this so that He can replace them with eternal things. Where the things that are seen are replaced with those that are unseen. Things temporal replaced with things eternal.
To bring us to a place where we are settled in Him.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:10)
To paraphrase A.W. Tozer, “There is coming a day when all we will have is God.” Where all the things of this life will be over. And He will be our everything.
As the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, we also must die to the things of this world so that we may yield fruit for eternity. And learn to live in this new eternal life we already have.
Drawing Men to Himself
All those who are serious about the Lord must recognize that He is drawing men to Himself. This is the purpose that overrides all others. And He wants to use us to accomplish that purpose.
Not to use our natural abilities. Nor our natural talents. Nor our money. Nor our celebrity. Nor our best efforts or anything else.
But He needs us to rest in Him — in whatever circumstance He has placed us. To trust Him to “redeem” all those things precious to us. To keep them for us and to make something wonderful out of them. To take our dreams, our plans, our hopes, our future and make of them what He wills.
To make something eternal.
So that whosoever will may come to know Him. And He can be all things to all who trust in Him.
Happy New Year!!