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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Survival? Then What?

The world teaches much on survival. We have television shows that glamorize it; psychologists have taught us survival tips and beat the drum singing the mantra that no matter what, if you survive, you'll be stronger. Slogans touting this abound; you've heard them. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," "Survival of the fittest," or, "Only the strong survive." Not to put too fine a point on it, but these sayings are crap.

The Holy Spirit brought back a memory today; I love it when He does this.

I sat in a college course titled, "Violence and Sexual Assault." While the course was excellent and God used it to initiate some deep inner healing, I remember a guest speaker one evening. She was a psychologist who specialized in counseling women who'd survived rape etc. As she shared, she mentioned something praiseworthy about women who were survivors and how they were now functioning adults.

A thought struck me like a thunderbolt: "Who gives a rip? I mean, if surviving is the best the world has to offer, big deal." Another thought followed on its heels: Jesus offers more than survival; He offers the opportunity to overcome. I'm here to tell you He does it. Overcoming is healing, restorative, and invigorating; it can only happen for those who choose to slog through the muck of life allowing God to use anything and everything to bring about complete surrender to Him. In complete surrender comes healing and restoration. In complete surrender, we learn about who Jesus is, and about His character.

Know this for a fact: He does NOT approve of those who attack and hurt you; He does NOT approve of those who do not value you and treat you with contempt. But, He will use them to soften you and make you malleable in His hands. In the garden, weeds are plucked, dirt's plowed. It stinks, but there you have it. Only when we surrender to being plucked and plowed do we become ready for the seed.

Then comes the harvest.

Here’s some encouragement: I will also testify that it's temporary and amazing once you come through the other side. Your intimacy with Christ, and His with you will leave you breathless.

Jesus is deeply moved by your willingness to endure ill-treatment at the hands of those who should protect and groom you in your gifting. He will also settle the account with them--this is a biblical assurance. Meantime, rejoice in the words of G.D. Watson: 

"The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because he wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this is to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has the right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. God will take you at your word; if you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot.

Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over the peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God."


Barbara said...

Debbi, I only the chance to skim this as I have to get to work, but it reminded me of something Dave Edwards, UGM counselor, says: "The goal is thriving, not merely surviving." I love the imagery of being malleable in God's hands.

Jenny Mertes said...

Thank God (and I really mean that), there's more to the Christian experience than just surviving - at least, for most of us in the Western World. How blessed we are!

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