Enter Through Tribulation
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21
Writing has been a way that I can see through the static of illness. It's been a gift to help me abide in God's peace, through the racket of noise that pain produces in the mind, body and soul.
The hardest days almost always precede the most treasured poems. Every frustrated set back reveals itself, eventually, to be a kiss from Abba. The longest nights collect the most dew.
If I keep my hands open before the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, what flows in just flows out. I don't think a person can truly receive from God and not pour it back out, because the enormity of what we receive with Christ is more than enough to sustain us this day and through eternity. We can't possibly hold it all in our little hands. We pour ourselves out as offerings, to make room for more.
Knowing God changes us, like the sinful woman of Luke 7, who poured out her life savings in her small bottle of perfume upon Jesus, while weeping. Any notion of self-preservation, whether material or by fear of scoffing eyes, evaporates when we lay ahold of him.
A theme in the Bible is that every trial is an invitation to glory with Christ. The entrance to the kingdom of heaven is always through adversity and lack (Acts 14). We have to come with nothing. The false health and wealth gospel is the snake on the tree, offering us everything we've ever wanted, while separating us from God, the only One who is made to satisfy us.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
God has shown me so many facets of his staggering love in my grief, sorrow, fear, and sin, that it has shattered every natural bent towards self-pity. He has made me rich in Him.
I write this with gratitude, because today is Thanksgiving. I can't be with my family. I can't eat much more than bananas and broth. But, I'm not just thankful for all that he's given me, but for all that he's taken away. More of him and less of me means fullness of joy and peace (John 3). His table is richly laid for us. A lavish banquet, where he's invited us to recline with him and drink deeply.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8