There was a certain man there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had been in that condition a long time (38 years), He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” The invalid answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am coming [to get into it myself], someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man was healed and recovered his strength, and picked up his pallet and walked.
~Jesus, King of The Universe (and my best Friend), in John 5
Oh beloved, it is true.
We want the happiness, or so we think. Really though, on many days we don’t.
This fool of a writer has had more adventures than should be allowed for one human being. And for all of it, i am truly thankful. I have sat aside a volcano as the lava flowed down its sides. I have survived a few times that most do not. I have slept in jungles, and climbed the above the tree-line. I have seen beauty no poet could capture, and horrors that one should ever see. I have tasted just about everything this world could offer. I have had the big job and the German turbo sedan. I have been honored in front of my peers, and so much more. In almost anyone’s book, my life has been as full as it can get.
And actually, by age 25 i understood the privilege my existence had been, to some extent. I had already lived on 3 continents. I had married, and was the father of three beautiful kids. And, beyond the good things that had happened to me, my efforts had brought some good to many, and a few to eternal Life in Christ.
But…. My ache was beyond a homesickness, or even just wanting more. In many ways, i was content. It is hard to complain about life when flying around in twin-engine Beechcrafts, skiing to my heart’s content, going to a good school, living in the mountains, flying to the beach, and having great friends and driving fast cars.
So, I finished Bible College, and slowed down on the skiing. I got serious about some sort of career in ministry. I had been a youth intern, worked for a parachurch group, and was recruited into a military contractor position as a youth leader in two US Army chapels in Germany. The preparation was challenging, and stretching. And, the opportunity was awesome in showing me that i had a LONG way to go to become a good Christian worker.
However, in all of this growth, i felt stunted. My weakness was borne of fear and loss. My pride was so large that it blinded me to the Gospel i had spent years in college – and thinking i was learning. But, even twenty years before He truly broke me, and tore me out of myself – now truly Alive in Him – It was a huge moment.
I remember the night… it was April, 1992. I was exhausted after working all day in ministry in Möglingen bei Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. My newly-born twin sons were finally both asleep. My wife and 20-month old daughter were too. I had just prepared the 16 baby bottles for the next day and finished a snack. At a Formica table, with red vinyl chairs, in my galley style Küche, I pulled open an anthology of CS. Lewis works, and read what is below. It was still two decades before I surrendered to it – but The Great Weaver ran this thread straight through my soul. So, read with caution 😀 😀 😀
When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested’ … concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes .How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we should have a value so prodigious in their Creator’s eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory, not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring; … We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine Love may rest ‘well pleased’. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable…
~ CS Lewis
Can we see it?
The passage above is where it is. We often claim we want the Christian Life. But, what we really mean is that we want to live a life good enough (we think) to maintain some sort of friendship with G_d. Now, friendship with our Maker is a good thing, and it takes real faith to enter into that place.
But, have we ever thought about what The Triune wants in Their relationship with us? What if it is more than just us being neighbors, comfortable in our chats on the patio?
What if, rather than comfort, He wants to take us through suffering and adventure that pays off in eternal dividends? What if He wants to actually prepare us for the moment when we shall see His Face, and no longer live as a result of the experience? What if He wants to draw us up into the pulsing and rhythmic dance of His own Being? What if He wants to take away all of the side-guards and seatbelts on the ride? What if the Divine wants us to join them in their very Life – and to begin to reign with Him forever – NOW?
Can this fool of a writer preach for a moment? The greatest regret of my Life is that I did not throw myself to the floor of that Küche, and tell Him to have His way with me from that moment forward. I have truly been thankful for the travels and experiences of this existence, but in coming to Know Him ten years ago, I would trade it all away 10,000 times, to have another 20-years of Him ripping my doors off with His Great Love and Guidance. And so, 20 years later, this Same Great Weaver began weaving more thoughts in just the right places. A few years ago I was standing on the Great Wall of China near the place the Qin Emperors had an island called 秦皇岛 (Qínhuángdǎo), and I remembered what Jack said about us.
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations…. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.
So, is He speaking to you? Listen. Ask yourself, and HIM: What does this mean? And… what must I do? It is an amazing journey, this New Life in Him. And, the only regret you will ever have are any moments you wasted in waiting to let Him have His Way.
Tonight is your Night. You gotta want it. But, when you do, be prepared for Life well beyond your imaginations.
Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask Him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about to-morrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it to-day, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful, when to-morrow comes, to ask Him to take it also,–till it will become a blessed habit to hold yourself simply and “wholly at Thy commandment for any manner of service.” The “whatsoever” is not necessarily active work. It may be waiting (whether half an hour or half a life-time), learning, suffering, sitting still. But shall we be less ready for these, if any of them are His appointments for to-day? Let us ask Him to prepare us for all that He is preparing for us.
~Francis Ridley Havergal
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “Wherever your story takes you, you’ll never arrive there first, because your Lord is already there in sovereign presence and power, and he rules that place in infinite wisdom and holiness.”―
The Daily Bible Reading: Reflection | You can download our 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.