“Behold I am coming soon.” Rev. 22:7;12;20
“In this statement, God has given us everything we need to live until the end of the story.”
Yesterday, the preacher at my daughter’s church was finishing up Revelation, and he made this statement (which is probably not quoted exactly as he said it. Today, I join with others to lift up friends who enter severe trials this week. Yesterday we also sang “It Is Well with My Soul” at the end of the service. Though I don’t have the time to tell the story today of why I felt the song was especially given to me to pray for my friends, I will share a version with you to ponder and pray for any you know are hurting today. PS. The first part of this video tells the story behind the soul-piercing hymn, and I was impatient to get to the song, so fast forward if you need to, but on the other hand, it might be good to sit in silence for six minutes total and let God work in your heart.
Archive of ‘faith’ category
“Behold I am coming soon.” Rev. 22:7;12;20
“My grace is sufficient for you.” Recently I experienced one of those heavyweight championship bouts with horrendous insomnia. Some of you know the kind – top ten terrible – when you are awake alone for so many hours you go beyond worrying whether you will sleep that night and begin to believe you will never actually sleep again.
Finally, I remembered one of the best strategies for beating the monstrous fear, which is the larger beast than the Insomnia itself – rest. Repeat something true and meaningful — for me, on this night, “Be still and know that I am God, came to mind.” Repeat it gently, and rest in its reality. Take deep breaths, and rest. Be very still. Know that God is God.
As my body began to calm and my mind began to slow the race, another verse entered my head, welcome but unsought: “My grace is sufficient for you.”
There is no fairy tale ending. I didn’t fall asleep and rest like an infant should. I drifted eventually into one of those light imitation versions of pseudo-sleep and woke feeling the reality of the night, as if I had hardly slept at all. BUT – I did rediscover the reality I need to know in times of fullness and scarcity – God’s grace is sufficient. I actually marveled through the day at how relatively energetic I felt – where did that come from, I would think, as I walked out of an hour and a half at PT with a little extra?
Brene Brown talks about how fear of not having enough interferes with an attitude of joy: “These are anxious and fearful times, both of which breed scarcity. We’re afraid to lose what we love the most, and we hate that there are no guarantees. We think if we can beat vulnerability to the punch by imaging loss, we’ll suffer less. We’re wrong. There is one guarantee: if we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on the two things that will actually sustain us during the hard times.” The Gift of Imperfection
She quotes Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money about being enough:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” the next one is, “I don’t have enough time.” whether true or not, that thought of ‘not enough’ occurs to us automatically before we even think to examine it or question it….
We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough and we’re not enough.”
I think Brown and Twist are on to something with this fear of scarcity. They take me back to my need to rest in the heart of sufficiency:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Corinthians 12:9
How about you? What do you not have enough of, or fear not having enough of? How does God meet you in this fear?
I’ve been re-reading George MacDonald’s A Curate’s Awakening, and I’d like to type up all the great thoughts in it, but alas, time won’t permit. Today I’ll share a prayer for those feeling the extremes of pain or “dull,” (which is surely all of us at some time or another). Here, Polwarth, the crooked-bodied and pure-hearted dwarf prays for Leopold, the dying murderer who in his misery wants to feel something for God but finds himself numb.
“O Lord Jesus, be near when it seems that our Father has forsaken us. Even you, who were mighty in death, needed the presence of your Father to make you able to endure. Do not forget us, the work of your hands, the labor of your heart and spirit. Ah, Lord! Ww know you will never leave us. You can do nothing else but care for us, for whether we be glad or sorry, slow of heart or full of faith, all the same we are the children of your Father. Give us repentance and humility and love and faith that we may indeed become the children of your Father who is in heaven.” George MacDonald.
“There are those, like George, who believe men will be happy to learn there is no God. To them I would say, preach it then, and prosper in proportion to its truth. No; that from my pen would be a curse. Do not preach it until you have searched all the expanse of the universe, lest what you should consider a truth should turn out to be false and there should be after all somewhere, somehow, a living God, a Truth indeed who has created and governs the universe. You may be convinced there is no God such as this or that in whom men imagine they believe, but you cannot be convinced there is no God.” George MacDonald, The Curate’s Awakening
Yes, I do laugh out loud sometimes when I read Scripture. Genesis 20 has always been one of those chapters that makes me swell with the tenuous joy of ridicule — “How can Abraham be such an idiot,” I wonder as he tries for the second time to pass his wife off as his sister to save his own hide. (Thankfully, I can say that the Holy Spirit usually brings to mind some equally repetitive sin of my own life that might look equally ridiculous if the horrid humiliation of having it told in the pages of Scripture occurred:-). Anyway, I wanted to share the story with you — definitely read that. And then if you want to read some good words about it, check this out from James Boice, excerpted from
“Abraham’s lack of faith disturbed everything so far as he was concerned. Yet–this is a glorious point on which I end–Abraham’s lack of faith disturbed nothing so far as God was concerned. Abraham may have doubted God’s ability to take care of him, but God’s ability to do so was not altered in the slightest. He may have doubted God’s grace, but God remained as gracious as he had ever been.
I am especially impressed by the way God showed his grace to Abraham. God did so when he spoke to Abimelelch. When Abimelech learned the truth about Sarah, he must have thought of Abraham as a cowardly, hypocritical, two-faced charlatan–or worse. He had cause to. But this is not the way God spoke of Abraham to Abimelech. God said, “Return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live” (v. 7). God was not indifferent to Abraham’s sin. He would deal with it as he had on the occasion of its appearance in Egypt. But the sin did not change God’s view of Abraham. Abraham was still “a prophet.” He was still God’s man.” James Boice, quoted in Thabiti Anyabwile.