Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Kangaroo on a Leash

Have you ever had a kangaroo jumping on you? Me either, but it sure feels like that emotionally this past week. God has brought highs and lows into my life in a way that I have never experienced in so compact a space. Four days of fixing my eyes on Him—knowing more is to come.

Thursday morning I enjoyed sweet fellowship surrounded by dear brothers amplifying the faith we have in Christ and sipping on
coffee that needs a lot of sugar. At work, our morning devotional set me on edge as an unbiblical concept was touted as truth—twisted Scriptures as support.

Up, then down.

That afternoon I had the privilege of serving a dear sister and brother in Christ. Paul was diagnosed with cancer in September and had taken a hard turn—this disease ravaging his body with haste. I brought some groceries and sat with Cindy trying to show her love and support. Paul was asleep for the hours I was there, but I was able to lift him up in prayer as I sat next to his bed crying tears of bile mixed with fragrances I can’t even imagine.

Sorrow mixed with joy.

I moved from there to rejoicing in a new life born to another dear couple. Baby Julie was so small and fresh and glorious. God had created her as a new life—just as he had created Paul many years ago. She steps into a world that will prove to be harsh and wonderful and confusing. Paul is preparing to do the opposite.

Joy mixed with sorrow.

Thursday night finds me receiving news of another beloved couple deciding to leave our church and small group. Nothing personal, but doctrinal and practical. My heart melted and the grief that had faded as I held baby Julie returned—a different source, but the same bile.

Deep grief and crying out to an awesome God.

Friday finds me sharing lunch and encouragement with another dear brother and then giving another brother a ride home. The purpose was to follow up Thursday night’s grief with some necessary and clarifying conversations. More grief is added, but in an open, honest, and loving way. Driving back home through more tears to find comfort through God’s grace administered by yet another dear brother and my loving wife.

More grief and comfort.

Saturday morning I was lifted up in prayer by many more brothers and sisters as I led my first Joshua’s Men group (a men’s discipleship group in our local body). It was a glorious, and I don’t use that word lightly, time of worship through voice, prayer, and exalting God’s Word. As I returned home, I found my two beloved sons in agony from an illness.

Glory and corruption.

Sunday morning brought me a message from God about how His church should function; delivered through the lips of my dear pastor. My heart was stirred up to remember to love doctrine AND love people—not an either/or proposition. We sang and read of God’s throne in heaven and the Lamb who was slain as we celebrated communion with the bread and wine. As I was basking in those truths, my brother Paul was witnessing those things, too. He was face to face with Jesus reveling in the things I was hopefully singing of and meditating on. Another dear brother had delivered that message as we cried and embraced.

Awesome wonder and bile mixed with fragrances Paul now finds encompassing him.

After more solace from other brothers, it was off to Dunkin Donuts for a sweet treat with my precious daughter—and we had a donut, too. I see in her great hope of a life being built on Christ mingled with the struggles of the flesh. I am thankfully fearful of being her father and know that without the grace of my Father I will fail her. The same goes for my two precious sons.

Hope swirling with trepidation.

Looking forward to a Super Bowl party this evening where I will enjoy the company of many more dear brothers and sisters. I will share my struggles with them knowing that they will help point me to my true hope. We will have joyful fellowship and I am sure I will find myself crying as we do.

Go Packers! Go get a tissue.

I don’t want you to pity me or feel sorry for me right now. That’s not why I wrote this. We live in a world that is suffering under the curse of sin and corruption after God had created it in perfection—His perfection. Sometimes the smell of decay overpowers the brilliant fragrance of the blossoming trees. Sometimes the reverse. Both are part of the reality of this world. Both are part of God’s plans and purposes in this life. God is holding the leash on this kangaroo. In God's kindness, He has also surrounded me with many more of His children—those dear brothers and sisters I have been mentioning.

I can only call them brothers and sisters because we are all part of God’s adopted family. Each of the loved ones I have mentioned above has been bought out of this corrupt world with the precious blood of Christ. His perfect life and obedience has been credited to their accounts and their sin against God has been canceled by Christ’s work on the Cross.

Corruption conquered by redemptive love!

I am resting firmly in the goodness of God, the work of Christ, and the sealing and comforting of the Holy Spirit. I am excited to see how God will work all of these things together for my good and His glory—as He has faithfully promised to do. Don’t pity me, pity those who do not know this hope. Paul has been received into glory by His precious Savior—and I know I will join him some day.

Hope despite circumstance.

If Christ is precious to you, share that with everyone you can. If Christ is not precious to you, find someone who knows Him and find out why He is. The Apostle Peter knew. Listen to God’s words through him . . .
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 2 Peter 1:1–10

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