On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”
Part Six: Our unattended heartache. In this overly zealous life of seeking continually to be in control of the people and circumstances of our lives, we think we know what’s best for ourselves and others. As a result, we presume upon the Master and numbly bury or ignore much of what’s been given for us to steward: the good, the bad, and particularly the ugly. All of life is to be handled in ways that honor the purposes and priorities of the Master, even if it’s the painful raw material of our lives. In the parable of the Talents (Matt. 25), those who multiplied their life allotment of treasure were greeted with “well done” and the one who presumed he knew better than the Master, was “thrown out to where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” How harsh of Jesus, you might be thinking. But, his justice and judgment is firm and secure.
He wants us to receive ALL that is delivered to us in this life, even if it taxes our sensibilities and/or challenges our faith. But, what if you are entrusted with a disability you never chose to be born with or raised in a dysfunctional family system you didn’t create? What if cancer is added to the radar screen of your life? What if you find yourself succumbing to temptation and you’ve just made the worst judgment call of your life? What if someone steals a prized possession, or hurls insults or injury your way undeserved?
Jesus as our Redeemer promises us that no matter what we carry, create, dismay or regret, his delight is to convert and transform it all for the Father’s glory. To handle our disappointments on our own is sure to extinguish the flame of the soul.
Jesus healed the paralytic, even when it was impossible to get to him on his own and his friends went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the room (Luke 5). When the invalid of 38 years met Jesus lying by the pool at the Sheep Gate, Jesus told him to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John5) and at once he was cured. When the sinful woman enters the home of Simon the Pharisee and sits on her mat of confession at the feet of Jesus (Luke 7) she pours out her heart in the form of an alabaster jar of expensive perfume and tears of love streaming straight from the heart.
When hymn writer Fanny Crosby looked back on her life, she was thankful for the doctor who inadvertently created her blindness…”although it may have been a blunder on the physician’s part, it was no mistake of God’s. I could not have written thousands of hymns if I had been hindered by the distractions of seeing…”
Instead of burying, ignoring or refusing to receive the painful part(s) of your life, why not prayerfully invite the Savior to flip your heartache upside down and redeem it once and for all – in his time and way, all for the sake of His Name, no matter the outcome or our perceived understanding of what we think is best. Our pain can indeed become his gain…our heartache fully redeemed for the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.