Reflecting on all that God has given me lately, I felt overwhelmed.
“Elizabeth. Can’t I give you good things? “
“Yes, God. But why do You give so much?”
“Because I love you. “
“Because of Christ. “
This morning I couldn’t shake the memory of a recent, stinging, experience.
Two dear friends were talking excitedly in hushed tones. I attempted to enter the conversation, and was told, “We can’t tell you. You’re one of the ‘married ones’ now.”
Decisions to follow God’s leading seemingly had barred me from the hearts of those I loved. Later in life, perhaps, God’s hand would alienate me from other hearts I love: those who want children and have not been able to conceive, those who do not want children and have “too many”, those who want to live a comfortable life in the suburbs of our great Nation.
These divisions are not of God.
There is no marriage or giving in marriage in heaven. In fact, neither nationality or gender exist in the Kingdom: we are all one in Christ. We have more in common with our most “different” brother or sister than those in nearly identical life circumstances apart from Christ. The Kingdom is not a matter of eating or drinking, or any fleshly thing.
How often we forget.
Fear builds walls. We want to be around others who are “like” us, so that we can feel comfortable with our myopic perceptions. But God knew better. ”Married” people, if I can use such a useless (non-eternal) term, need “single” people (again, a useless term) to maintain spiritual convictions in often-overlooked areas. We need each other.
Fear builds walls, but love bridges. God, convict me of the walls I have built between my brothers and sisters. If I have become at all irrelevant in their lives, teach me to find my center in You — and to draw others to that center.
It consistently surprises me how many Christians are unwilling to stand up for Truth, citing fear of offense. The Gospel, by its very nature, is offensive. It tells us we are sinners, and that we need a Savior. This is our diagnosis, and our only chance for cure. A comment about God’s love will get innumerable “likes”. A comment about sin, the very thing that keeps us from receiving and experiencing God’s love, will earn silence from believers and an argument from those who disagree with the diagnosis “sinner”.
What type of doctor would I be if I never drew attention to a person’s disease process, or the possibility of intervention? What type of patient would I be if I refused to acknowledge that I was sick (dying, even)? How much more serious is similar, spiritual negligence? Why aren’t we educating people, who every day more rapidly approach death?
This morning, I read the following passage in Luke 6:
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
It is obvious from these verses that we must be willing to speak Truth, though such proclamation will surely win us enemies. I wonder: how often are our simultaneous desires to display love and not point out the deadliness of sin direct measures of our insatiable need to be liked? When we find ourselves talking only “soft” Gospel, perhaps Christianity has become a marketing mechanism for ourselves. We want to be the kind ones, the nice ones, the ones who make others feel good about themselves.
Shame on us. We don’t want to have the hard conversations, and we are letting those who are dying leave without a word of diagnosis or cure. That’s not how Jesus lived, or died. Everything He said and did pointed to our need for a Savior — for Himself. And we, by our very avoidance of argument, deny both the problem and the solution for which He died.
All Your ways are good
All Your ways are sure
I will trust in You alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
I will trust in You alone
Anonymous asked: If you could tell your seventeen-year-old self anything, what would it be? :)
Remember the cross.
Don’t ever forget the cross.
You can’t accomplish more than what has already been accomplished for you.
The rending of the temple curtain from top to bottom, allowing humans direct access for the first time to God’s presence, is one of the most profound and perplexing aspects of Good Friday.
I remember the first time I really pictured what was happening in the following verses:
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” -Mattthew 27:51-53
God gave us Himself that day. He raised holy people to life, a habit He has continued to this day. He redeems. And even more: He raises us, every day, to life and relationship with Him.
Every once in a while, it becomes necessary to come before God’s throne, pleading for grace. We need grace not only for ourselves, but also for strength to forgive those who have wronged us.
Is there a person whose very name or face makes you cringe (as if awaiting a blow to the face)? A person who has made you cry tears of shame over things you never actually did wrong? This is a person for whom Christ died. And this is a person about whom Christ was speaking when He declared, “if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”
Our salvation rests on forgiveness — God’s, to and through us. And that’s not a gift I’m willing to forsake, just to hold on to bitterness.
I wonder if even our Christianity is an idol sometimes.
Me too. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately actually. How we assume so much based solely on “Christian tradition”-& so much of it isn’t God honoring.
Exactly. Or worse, so much of it forgets about Him entirely. It is almost as if we think we have figured out how to be Christians separate from Christ.
So many people I knew as a teenager were called to missions. Today, it is hard for me to watch our Facebook newsfeeds and Pinterest boards tell different stories. Stories of comfortable middle class living, with optimally decorated nurseries and kitchens. This is not the calling we claimed.
God. Wake us up. Stir something in us that makes us unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on a year of life for one child in this country, when billions around the world are dying. Give us back our old dreams — and some new ones, too.
Social networking may provide the only view into the Christian life some people may ever have. Which should prompt the question: are they seeing love for the Lord, or merely for the good gifts He has given us?
i-have-learned-the-secret asked: What gives you hope?
So many things.
Christ in you,
the hope of glory.
The fact that every day He wakes us up with new blessings.
And even if He never gave us another blessed thing, we would still be the most blessed of all people: He has given us Himself.
Anonymous asked: How difficult did you find medical school? How did you study in undergrad/medical school?
Medical school was a different kind of learning than undergraduate education; not hard, but with a greater time requirement. How I actually studied was probably irrelevant, because if I was to do my education over again, I would throw out the power point slides and focus on building a framework by reading the text books. Then, when I went to class, I could take notes on what the instructor thought was important and insert them into the already-existent schema of basic information I had already acquired :)
But honestly, the learning of undergrad and medical school could not ever have prepared me for the pace, the intensity, and the overall feelings of inadequacy that pervaded residency. If I was going to do EVERYTHING over again, I would figure out a way to keep God at the center. Because it has become increasingly obvious, with each passing year, that He is the only secure and consistent place we can lose and then find ourselves. He is everything. The rest is just details.