To live an overcoming life you have to believe in your heart that Jesus the Christ is Savior and Lord. And at the point of your belief….and trust…and acceptance of who He is, the infilling and indwelling life of Christ IN you begins thru the Holy Spirit. (John 14) Never forget WHO He is — or what is implanted IN you. He is “CHRIST” — meaning >> “the anointed one.” The anointed One now pours into your soul and heart and mind …and you have received what was given to Him…HIS anointing. It is passed on to you. It is ON and IN your life! You are raised up and seated (positionally) into heavenly realms of the supernatural. (Eph.1:13-14; 2:6; I Cor. 6:11) You have been given His Divine Nature, His Divine Power, His “authority” to overcome and walk in victory “on this side” of your eternal life. (2 Peter 1:3-4) You triumph over the enemy of your soul by the blood of the Lamb (CHRIST – the anointed one) and “the word” of your testimony. (Revelation 12:11) YOU are the people of the 3rd Day Resurrection. Because HE LIVES…you live today and forever. You will never die. That’s the free gift of eternal life that started at the point of your birth into this world. Your decision about Jesus the Christ … determines your destiny. You are anointed …infilled with His Spirit and walk in faith & move in the power of God in your life today. ARISE! You live both in the temporal and the supernatural. You look at your path of life and the circle of influence around you in the temporal horizontal. But you are in constant communion with The Father vertically “like Jesus” in the supernatural. You are anointed and filled with His Presence. You are Overcomers! ARISE!
God’s Presence on earth (as it is in Heaven) is the whole story. From the beginning of time…the Garden of Eden…All that He wanted was to be in relationship with the creation and those that He created (Adam & Eve). Since the first Easter and resurrection morning, when the Temple veil was rent, the Presence of God came to dwell NOT in a structure or a building…but in you, His beloved. And with that He wanted you to know Him intimately, personally, in a way that the incarnate dwelling among us NOW permeates our deepest level of who we are and how we are made…the Soul, the spirit, the will, the mind, the body. It isn’t an intellectual exercise … it’s a spiritual experience with the living God. And like Jesus, the God-Man, who walked on earth, we live NOT by our natural strength and energy, we live instead by the energy of our Father who dwells within us. It’s called “the indwelling life.” Christ IN me…the hope of Glory. The apostle Paul said it over 170 times in the epistles of the New Testament. Why does anyone repeat themselves 170 times? Its the SECRET—to life. Its the Kingdom of Heaven come down to you. Its the mystery of resurrection morning! Its JESUS within us who opened up the Throne room in Heaven to us. Thru Christ — we have access to The Father. The Holy Spirit empowers this relationship. Its the 3 in ONE … within you…moving … living … breathing. (John 14:15-31; John 16:13-15; John 17: 22-26) This beautiful relationship is yours for the asking. Seek Him. He doesn’t disappoint those who want Him. He is faithful to the faithful. Faith Full. (2018 copyright @soulthirstdisciplemaking.com)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt.5:1-10) Once you become a person who recognizes your poverty of spirit you recognize your spiritual inadequacy. And that brings you to a spirit of mourning. And you then you begin to experience the life of the Spirit to bring you hope and healing and comfort. Your posture of humility and brokenness leads you to meekness (not weakness) and “leaning in” to the Savior. It opens you to hear His voice (John 10:3-4) and you begin to sense His Presence on earth with you presently. Right now. His name is Immanuel (meaning Present). The bookends of the gospel of Matthew reaffirm that His name and His divine nature are among us. (Matt.1 & Matt.28). And now you begin to hunger and thirst for being in a continual state of righteousness (right with God). You seek Him. You want Him to fill you with his thoughts, character, and Presence. You desire to be in a place where the “inward life” of the soul, mind, body, spirit, are in alignment with how He thinks, acts, moves, walks. And out of the inward heart posture…you become merciful, loving, compassionate to others. You desire purity of heart above all else. So you keep your life open to His Word, His Spirit, and His Presence. And that purity of heart will make you confessional, repentant, and you will seek to be in solitude and in biblical community. It wasn’t meant that you live in isolation. Its that you reflect, ponder, study His Word to you for the day. And then move out into the community. The transformation of your character and heart reflects Christ. And transformed people transform their communities. You become a peacemaker and you see Christ IN YOU doing His work thru you. And as you see God at work … you are blessed for being sons and daughters of the most High God. Your unswerving loyalty to live in the power of this God with the heart attitude and loyalty to him, will cause others to wonder. And the magnet of the Holy Spirit will draw them forward toward you. Because you have something they want. His name is Jesus. He lives within your soul. And He is reflected like a mirror to them. Your fragrance is Christ IN You. They sniff the difference. They may persecute you for it. But you have the DNA of faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is LOVE. (I Cor.13) So, you are able to walk forward. Live it out. You reflect Christ. You reflect His character and DNA in your spirit. For it is controlled by the Holy Spirit and the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4) and His Word is instructing and counseling you. The heart attitude of Jesus was given to the first 12 disciples. They came to him open and with anticipation (this is key) (Matt.5:1) and he began to show them “the way, the truth, the life.” He showed him the Fathers heart thru his words and life. He showed them what they were to become. The same as Him. Poverty of spirit, spiritually mourning (broken and contrite), meek (humble), hungering and thirsty in the soul and human spirit, merciful (like him) towards everyone (agape love), pure in heart, peacemakers. Theirs (yours) is the Kingdom of God. They will see Gods Presence on earth as it is in Heaven. It begins on “this side of eternity.” Do you know THIS Jesus? You are people of the 3rd Day! Resurrected Jesus! Alive IN you. (copyright: Soul Thirst Disciplemaking)
Soul Thirst Disciplemaking Silence has substance. It has “presence” of something. It’s where the invisible becomes visible. When you let down, relax, wait, don’t talk out loud, you will discover what is already there. His Presence. “Be still, and KNOW that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) You are choosing to “enter in” and to be quiet enough to receive and respond. The Spirit of God thru Christ reshapes and refines you. And we can be at rest that He is at work in ways that purify our motives, adjusts and focuses us into God’s nature, character, transcendent thoughts, and adjusts our calendar into His Will for our lives. Yielding our “self will” to a higher purpose is opening your heart and soul to receive even deeper communion and intimacy. It’s called Sabbath Rest. Jesus, in his humanity, needed solitude, quiet, sabbath rest … before he entered into His day. “In the morning, a great while before day, he rose while it was still dark, and went out to a lonely place … a solitary place” (Mark 1:35) to become quiet, alert, hushed, motionless, and centered into the supernatural presence of the Spirit of God, His Father, to experience His Presence before he walked into a busy day in life. The mystery of God and the secrets of God unfold in this place and it was how he walked out his earthly life. He could look at the natural temporal horizontal everyday circumstances, challenges, and people on his path, being “in touch” with His Father in a posture vertically within his soul that was in humility now in a place to “receive.” He modeled his soul, his spirit, his mind, his being, being “at rest” and in full assurance and confidence that he was aligned with the Will of His Father. He exchanged busy, and hurry, and demands, and the pressures of life in these moments of solitude. Is Jesus saying to you “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31) Am I … are you…choosing to get away by yourself to a solitary place? (Mark 6:32). When we seek God we find God’s Presence and we enter in, we let down, we receive, and the promised sabbath rest of scriptures become ours. And we can walk out into our ordinary everyday world with the extraordinary fullness of His Presence thru Christ and the Holy Spirit going with us. (John14:15-31) Your soul is full and united with God. Intimacy with the Father is possible. Awe and wonder and mystery of “this relationship” is yours for the asking. Be still…and know…that intimacy with God is possible. His Presence is among us on earth as it is in Heaven as He promised in the Lords Prayer. Choose to discover Him and the secrets to how He walked out His life on earth. And when you do….you will find that it is what YOU have longed for from the beginning of your existence on earth. His breath becomes your breath. His peace becomes your peace. All chaos is quiet and fragmentation of your soul and spirit ends. His thoughts, His mind, His Will, His Presence, becomes real and deeply planted within. Silence has substance. The invisible becomes visible. “Be still and know that I am God.”
I’ve wondered at the Great Hall of faith in Hebrews 11 and those who have walked before me. How did they stay steady, pursue God, and inspite of their cirucumstances never lost their faith or hope in Him? I’ve pondered what their prayers were like when they sat in prison for days, weeks, months, and like Paul or the apostle John, on the Island of Patmos, for years. What did they think about? What was there prayer like when there were rats running near the wall or through the sewer and stench of their cell? What did they say to God when they couldn’t see sunlight? a sunrise? or a sunset? What were they thinking when once a day they were thrust a crust of bread and some weak watered down soup for protein under the cell door? What was the conversation between themselves and God when life was bleak and looked like it would never change? As days moved into weeks. And weeks moved into months. And the months became years.
I’ve wondered about the conversation that goes on in your head with your self-thoughts. And the prayer they prayed to the one that they had trusted and received into their soul through their belief in Jesus Christ. For He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is Emmanuel present….even in the prison or in your circumstance.
What no one talks about … is the prison they had entered where they couldn’t see friends, acquaintences, or family. Relationships were removed or cut off. They had breath to breathe, and food to eat. But, what were they thinking then? When the prayers in the cell were spoken outloud or in their heart to God and then they opened their eyes and they still see the same rats running along the wall. They hear the same groans of other prisoners down the hallway. They see the same crust of bread day in and day out. There wasn’t butter or jam placed on it. The soup didn’t have more meat that day or the next day or the day after that. Nothing new.
Circumstances that don’t change doesn’t mean that God has forgotten us. It doesn’t mean He hasn’t heard us or isn’t aware of us. As we sit in the silence we exchange our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and our will for His. We open our hearts up to hear His heart. There is a deeper humility that comes and a submission that comes to a Higher Call. There is a understanding between themselves and God that is now being developed beyond the Gospel written on their hearts. While we experience the crucified love of God through Christ through our circumstances…The discernment of the voice of Jesus progresses. (Phil.1:12-14). He takes the place where you are and what you are experiencing and enlarges His heart toward you. And in the process you come to realize something few ever understand. And that is that if you never walk by faith and always by what you know and what you see (horizontally), you will never truly experience the supernatural life (vertically) in you which is Christ by the Holy Spirit. “For God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Rom.5:5)
If God doesn’t do it our way, we tend to judge God by our circumstances or the perception He isn’t answering our prayers. And in that, we tend to elevate ourselves to a place of control higher than God. In his letter to the church of Phillipi, Paul recognized that there is great purpose in his circumstances. They were put there to shape him and to shape others who knew about his circumstances. The people around him were being allowed to view his journey and learn from it. For if you watch closely, God always prepares you ahead of what you will go through. For like a “dot to dot ” for God’s glory, the “dot” (or place) you are on is in preparation for the “dot” ahead. And when you look back, you can see “why” and “what” you learned so that you can help others in the spiritual formation of Christ in them.
In the book of Philippians, through a “cell experience” God was teaching Paul about Himself and at the same time teaching those around him about what faith in God and Jesus Christ is all about. Through Paul’s supposed detour, life out of Paul’s control, imprisonment for the Gospel’s sake, God was teaching him and those observing what a relationship with God looks like. What God does in and through perverse and harsh circumstances that are beyond your control are vital aspects of the Spirits ministry in our lives.
He teaches us about our false posture of self-sufficiency and self-dependency. For we say we are people of faith and walk by faith, but in reality, we know little of what true faith is until the creature comforts and support systems and people we love are removed and we stand naked before the Lord with our hands lifted up in desperation. We seek His agenda, His Kingdom, and desire for Him alone to come and fall afresh on us.
Paul says “yes, and I will continue to rejoice …. (as he sits in a prison for 3 years) … for I know that through your prayers (others praying) and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance….I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain…” (Phil.1:18b-30). It’s an active choice to continue and not give up. It’s the “Y” in the road of your circumstances. But if you listen and look closely, the profound awareness of the Presence of the Lord becomes greater. It cause’s you to grow in grace right in the midst of the cell, the emotional or personal pain and challenge.
The deliverance we expect is from the pain, the journey, the circumstance. The deliverance we desire is for us to not to have to walk the “way of suffering”. But Christ walked this way. He had to fight the inner conflict within the human soul. His soul longed to be delivered from those that persecute you with words, oppose you with inner motives that aren’t of Christ, whom hate you because you “bear His name”. To be delivered from pain, agony, suffering that is always the longing of the soul. That is the prayer. Why would we think that we are any different than Him who became “like us” and intentionally “made himself nothing”…and “took the very nature of a servant” (basin & towel) to a point of humility and obedience that He was willing to hang on a Cross as our sin-bearer. (Phil. 2:5-11) He aligned his soul with the Father. Paul aligned his soul with the Holy Spirit.
And when that happens, you understand that His ultimate goal is for you to love Him and for your spiritual progression, & for even greater your faith, He withholds what you think you need or want to bring you into closer union with Himself and enlarge your heart toward Him.
He walks with you on the path of life that becomes a soul-shaping journey to shape your soul, mind, heart, and life. He meets you on the journey called “struggle” and “desire” and “hope” and cleanses out your selfish thoughts and “will” and replaces it with His heart. He is shaped IN you through the process. He removes your selfish ambition, your vain conceit, your pride, your ego, your elitism. He takes a spiritual scalpel and does heart surgery. And the only way to do this intensive of work is to take you through the path called suffering. And in it, you let go. You let go of self, your confidence in self, your finite knowledge, your education, those that you love deeply, your bank account, your health, and ALL choices apart from Christ Alone.
When you get low enough, you find yourself on bended knee, and sometimes literally on your face at the foot of the Cross. Not once, but over and over again. And at the foot of the Cross, its where you look UP. And you see HIM and HIM alone. And that’s what He wanted from the beginning of the journey.
But He takes you to a place of struggle and unanswered prayer (from your perspective) to mold you and shape you in the furnace to see the “fourth man” that is “with you” (the Son of God) bringing you through the journey to the point of when your understanding fails, your Trust in Him will persevere, endure, and stand. (Daniel 3:25; Job 23:10).
Job (like Paul) came to understand his furnace of affliction was there so that “the Almighty will be your gold” (what you treasure). The Y in the road is there to choose Him. The Y in the road is so that you will trust Him. The Y is there to test us in the furnace of affliction about our first love. Is it Him or what you’ve replaced Him with? The Y in the road is there so that we become like Him and “we come forth as gold.”
And for this reason, we lift up our prayers in the prisons of our circumstances realizing that each word of our words to Him are precious to Him. So precious, that He is saving my prayers and your prayers in “golden bowls” (Rev.5:8-9 ) and sees us as chosen and honored because “our feet have closely followed in His steps and we have treasured His words from His mouth more than the meager crust of daily bread in our circumstances.” (Job 23:10-11). And for this, we are eternally grateful.
Faith is the ability to receive and accept what God gives to us inspite of what we desire and hope for and even pray for. The work that He does in us while we wait upon him, seek Him thru the Scriptures (His Word to us) and pray is more important than the answer to prayer we want and desire. For we are shaped through the process of our prayer … the work is going on within us…while we seek and pray. That is more important than the prayer itself. God’s Spirit stir’s within you. He iniates intimacy of the soul and He gains your compete attention in the process.
And in that, we come to a place over and over of recognizing that He is the God that is near (Phil. 4:5). He is our God who IS Emmanuel present (Matt.28:20) and He is with us until the end of the age or the end of our life on “this side”. He is the Holy Spirit living IN us and poured out on us and toward us (Acts 2:17) over and over. And when (not IF…but when) the road of suffering is placed before us (and it will come), we have a choice to wait in curiosity and expectation of Him showing up in unexpected ways thru our complete and utter dependence. Or we have a choice to be bitter and feel rejection that what we want or think is the correct way for God to act toward us. And “that way” is not happening.
Through the process of seeking Him, we recognize a discovery process is going on. For He never disapoints those that seek. But He is a gentleman, waiting and wanting us to come toward Him.
The process teaches us to discipline ourselves to look for the Divine among us and in us to show us the way. We begin to recognize that we are ongoingly receiving the Divine power and insight that comes from suffering and loss and perceived unanswered prayer. For the process of prayer (dependence upon Him) begins to unfold His adequacy and His continual pouring out His strength, His guidance, His comfort, His peace. And through the process as you seek Him and want Him above all else, your desires, requests for healing, requests for answers to prayer take on a higher transcendencential purpose. And you recognize His Presence is in you and with you and among the situation or circumstance.
You begin to see that you are raised up to see that the work in you is more important than the answer to prayer that you desire. You are able to trust Him and say with Him “not my will, but your’s.” You start to recognize that God is shaping you in the here and the now to walk on the earth through the process. But, in that is the larger bigger picture. He is shaping us and making us ready to cross over, and to live with Him eternally in the Life ahead “on the other side.” For we don’t just live for now, we live with eternity in mind.
His purposes are higher than our’s. And in that, we can accept what we are given (even suffering, and unanswered prayer) recognizing that the Divine is operating for our benefit. And for that, I am eternally grateful for answers to prayer and for unaswered prayer alike because the process is more important IN me, than the answer that I think would be best. I can trust HIM above all else. HE is with me…Savior and friend…. always about my good and His best in my life. Faith is…the ability to receive and accept what God gives to us inspite of what we desire and hope and even pray for.
The miracle of God’s Presence can be expressed through visible actions of the soul. The “thumbs up” sign with your hand or the “your okay” with the thumb and index finger in a circle are a person’s way of saying without words “I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am personally encouraged by you, and in all things that you are going through, my personal joy knows no limits because of you.” (II Cor. 7:4) It’s the language of the heart that speaks to others when the audible human voice of my husband disappeared in their lives three years ago. Its the simplicity of expression that continues to profoundly and intimately touch others. Its God’s expression through my husband given as a gift to them. You can love others without words. The expression of your actions can penetrate the human heart and lead you to see God. It’s God’s love language expressed through someone who has hidden The Word of God in his heart and lives it out by obedience to the Spirit of Christ IN him. Love through actions without words. And God uses the inaudible to talk to the soul pointing people to Himself through someone else’s suffering.
From the earliest moments on earth, as a baby, you long to hear and understand the human voice. You stared at your parents and watched them form words and then you began to mimic them and sounds of “da-da” and “ma-ma” turned to full words and then sentences. You hunger to understand and to grow. And then you expand that understanding to friendships and reading and study. And your heart enlarges to capture the fullness of life through conversation.
And then, there comes a time, when the volume begins to go to a different level. It becomes quieter. And like a radio being turned down, you begin to recognize that one of the closest relationships on earth (your spouse) is being turned down.
Slowly. Over years, the sound of sentences between the two of you is disappearing. Pillow talk at night in the darkness of your bedroom after a long day becomes impossible. And the language of the heart and words spoken and the interchange between companions and lovers becomes silence. No longer are daily recaps of life and world events able to be captured. No longer words that were meaningful between you able to be exchanged outloud. Things are said through sign language and motions and serades until the lights are turned off. And silence enters into the darkness.
The progression over years has moved to loss upon loss. And sentences were moved to words. And 5 syllable words moved to four syllable words. Three syllable words to two syllable words. And then those words moved to one syllable words. And then silence.
That is the progression of 3+ years of loss upon loss. Input of information moved to notes written on a piece of paper. The white board entered into your world like an unwanted guest that took up residence and became the only means of communication.
And then there is the darkness at night. When the lights go low, and you can no longer exchange heart and soul during the day.
Or the ride in the car when 2-3 hours can be silent because there is no interchange over sights seen as you pass them. Radio or CD’s are like white noise to your companion. Resturants full of people at tables talking shouts at you of friendship and companionship and joy around a table. And your deepest and long term friend can neither hear or understand what they are saying NOR can offer you his deepest thoughts.
The bubble that he lives is like a cocoon where new information can’t penetrate. He moved to watching life from “the other side” of the window where they can “see” and understand but can’t engage with the happenings before them. The bubble has perfect memory. Faces and names have not left. Memories of the past are in tact. New information going IN is limited. And because of that being censored, the sounds of life and relationships has been removed by God’s design and purposes. But the deepest relationship remains. That is the one of the soul that is FILLED by His Presence. The place where disease cannot touch. No one can take away what lives in the soul. And it’s Christ alone, the HOPE of Glory. (Col. 1:27)
And the language of silence enters in. But IN the silence is another dimension operating. The horizontal circumstance presses you into a place of surrender that you have never thought you would enter. You are now shown the very guts of what faith is all about. “Everything by prayer” (Phil 4:6) becomes your life verse. It is the Life Link to your discovery that the “Lord is VERY near.” (Phil. 4:5). It is the secret to the deeper place. The mystery of living ongoingly in a place of surrender and dieing to self (John 12:24). The mystery of knowing Christ and HIs Power is working so that you “know the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Eph.3:8; 5:32; Col. 1:26-27).
And while you were made for companionship in the garden (Gen.2-3). There are times where He calls you to walk alone in silence so that you hear His voice to take you to a new level of Trust and Obey. He shows you that His companionship has never left you or forsaken you (John 14:13-27).
You ask “what is the purpose of the journey you are on?” I believe it so that you know and understand the depth of human helplessness and weakness to such a level of understanding that we long for God and we look to God as our “strong tower” (Proverbs 18:10 ). We begin to look to HIS Next Grace being poured out toward us. All of Him. None of ourselves.
And in the silence of each day and each night He reminds you “I know everything about you. I know when you sit and when you lie down and what time you will rise up in the morning. I am very familar with your ways.” (Psalms 139:1-2) Nothing misses His attention. He is WITH YOU to speak to your soul and to assure you everything is under His control for such a time as this. And with that, the peace that passes ALL human understanding enters in. And the true language of the heart is expressed. His heart to your heart in utter abandonment to the purposes and the Will of God.
It is the reality that there are 2 dimensions that you are operating and living in that are happening simultaneously. The reality of silence horizontally. And the beauty and splendor of the vertical transcendence of God. It is the progression of the fullness of God becoming more than cognitive. It is the language of silence that engenders our awe and praise and worship because He leads us, guides us, walks with us, and IN us. And we look UP to gain perspective to the happenings around us in the everyday and the ordinary. And in that, we engage with Him, the author and perfector of our faith.
Part of the challenge is that you will find that your suffering is unique to you and to you alone. The experience of weakness, trial, suffering will always put us in a position of seeking another’s strength. You seek the doctor for answers. You ask the friend for help. You need emotional encouragement. Or spiritual direction. And all of those are valid. And God provides people living in Biblical community to assist us in our times of need for He never wanted us to live in isolation and without relationships.
But there are times in life that we seek out humans for our refuge and help when what God wanted all along is for us to seek Him alone. He is your eternal, always present, refuge that meets you in a place that the human hand (or presence) could never touch. It is in the deeper place of your heart and soul…that God awaits for you to find Him and Him alone.
The horizontal circumstance will always press you to the vertical. And while we hate suffering or things that are hard in our lives, it is the VERY thing that turns us toward God because we can’t figure it all out. We can’t solve it. We can’t control it. And we discover that nothing you can do can fix it. Desperation will always take you to places in your heart and soul, you never thought you would go. And in the process you let go of what you thought you knew and what you thought you controled and open yourself up to the deeper things that the Lord is wanting you to experience.
It brings you into the insights of the mystery of Christ which are now revealed to you through His Word. (Eph.3:5) It will take you into the mystery of the ongoing Grace that is given to you through His Power so that you will KNOW the unsearchable depth of His riches through Christ alone. (Ep.3:7-8). He will help you. The manifold (many colors) of God’s grace are there for your manifold (many colors) suffering. He has special and eternal purposes. (Eph.9-13). You begin to realize that you are operating on His agenda and His calendar and not your own.
But if you aren’t desperate and needy…you have no need for God. You are trying to figure it out on your own. And you come to the end of yourself over and over and you hear His voice and He invites you to “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” WITH Him. So that you and I will declare to Him “YOU are my personal hiding place, my refuge, and my fortress. You, O God, and you alone are the ONLY one I can really trust.” (Ps.91:1-2) He offers us a place of protection and safety and hope in our problems. And we can “Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty” because He is “with us.” (vs.10-11)
It was what led the apostle Paul to the conclusion that even though he was sick and he suffered (Gal.4:14-15), there was a greater purpose operating than his illness. For “the thorn” of suffering was given (II Cor.12:7-10) so that the grace of God would become even more evident and His power shown through Paul’s weakness.
Over and over, people watch from the outside. They see the process of a body weakening, loss and suffering surrounding us. It softens their countenance and their personalities. It opens up their souls in a way that they wern’t aware of before. They ponder, “what would I do IF that happened to me?” “How would I cope?” “What would I do?” Who would I turn to for help?”
The Thorn is given for a purpose. It is pressed into your experience to reveal who do you love and whom do you trust at the core of your being. It involves losing what the world prizes to gain treasure in heaven that is indescribable. It takes us from loving ourselves to loving what God loves. The deeper things. The mystery of Him who transforms you through earthly losses and heartbreaks into His Image. Its the way of suffering that opens you up to the fullness of Christ. The Thorn ask’s of you “are you will willing to lose ALL for the sake of knowing Him?” It is the test of character and of the heart at the deepest level. Will you forsake Him when life spins out of control?
It is the Thorn of suffering given to you at a certain time and in a certain place that pins back the veil that covered your eyes, your face, your heart so that you could SEE the Savior’s face. It’s what you long for. But, you never thought it would be through adversity that it would be “this way” that you would hear His voice and see Him so clearly. That you would find Him giving you the strength to go on. That you would sense the Holy Spirit so close.
It is why Paul could thank God for weakness,persecutions, hardship, and suffering. He could see the eternal plan of how God uses a “thorn in the flesh” to show you the higher purposes of God. And for THIS you were called.
The thorn of suffering has brought me to a place to thank Him for the privilege to “walk as Jesus walked” along that road of suffering called the Viadelarosa. To experience in a “small way” the pressing in of the ONE thorn. For I know that my ONE thorn connects to HIS MANY thorns from the crown of thorns He wore while suffering that night thousands of years ago on my behalf. (Matt.27:29)
It’s a privilege to know in a small scale what He went through on my behalf. Taking the nails in my place. Bearing my sins. It should of been me on the Cross. HE took my place. And because of it, the crown of thorns is being exchanged one day for a crown of righteousness awaiting us because “I have fought the fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Tim.4:7-8) I have exchanged the crown of thorns He wore in my place for the crown of righteousness that were for my sins.
Jesus kept his face like flint (Isa.50:7) on the end goal. To glorify His Father in heaven. To live in obedience to a Kingdom agenda. It is our challenge and our joy to embrace the Thorn. Because He did it for us. When we embrace the thorn, we are embracing the Cross. And when we embrace the Cross, we embrace the Savior.
And that’s the secret of The Thorn. It’s purpose is to show us our utter powerlessness to save ourselves eternally and daily. And the thorn of suffering pulls back the veil for us to see our neediness of Him and Him alone, in the light and glory of His Grace.
It’s not the miracle of healing as we would know it. It’s the miracle of God’s Presence. It’s the miracle of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. When our body fails. It weakens. It wear’s out. It gets weary. The Holy Spirits presence is still strong. Doesn’t get weak, frail, or sick.
I’ve learned that through watching my husband operate in the realm of the supernatural every day through his illness and disease. The reason is that God doesn’t disappoint those who seek Him. When you develop the attitude of solitude as a priority and a non-negotiable in your life, then it’s easy to run to the person and the place that feeds your soul.
When you have an altar within your home where God’s Presence is sought and anticipated, God doesn’t leave you or forsake you. He pursue’s and meets you in the silence where the Bible is open, the journal is ready, the pen is in your hand. God reflects into your soul “not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God who writes no longer on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (II Cor.3:3)
God is in your sacred space in your soul, the deepest part of you. When The Word is opened…the deep and active things of God take place. It penetrates DOWN to the place where your soul and your spirit are joined together and into the deepest part of your body where it examines the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. (Heb.4:12-13) Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of the Almighty. Nothing is hidden. You are naked in your soul before the Creator of the Universe who created you in your mother’s womb. He shaped you, formed you, made you uniquely you and waits for you to know Him intimately. The deepest part of you hungers for the Holy. And sadly, MANY never understand this profound relationship.
And God’s Presence enters in. It changes the heart because you hear His voice. He reassures. He comforts. He gives light on the path for the day. He speaks and you listen. Hear. Pray. And out of that the countenance changes. The seriousness becomes lighthearted. The Joy comes because you’ve been tabernacled with Him. And you experience the great exchange when burdens are lifted and weariness becomes rest. (Matt. 11:29-30) And the Author and Finisher of your faith in HIM alone has written on your heart and spoke to your soul. (Heb.12:2)
Who would NOT want to endure pain and suffering on this side of eternity for the sacred and divine to speak to you? It’s the miracle of a different kind. Not as man in his humanness is needed or even thinks is possible. But what God says IS possible. Because through the eyes and experiences of suffering you WILL see the face of God. (Matt.5:3-10). It’s poverty of human spirit and pure in heart that God run’s to. It’s what He values. And in exchange you experience the miracle of God’s Presence. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…the whole earth is FULL of His glory. He stands among us to be recognized. And you won’t see the miracle if you aren’t looking for HIM. Because it’s a miracle of a different kind.