I’m not sure how it starts. I can’t recall an event. It is more like a waking dream or an undercurrent of some kind. For me it has always been a restlessness that just won’t go away. It isn’t painful or upsetting. It is more like an unresolved issue that is really important but you forgot the details. Have you ever been walking out the door of your house and just know you forgot something to discover later that it was your wallet, or reading glasses or lunch money? It’s like that but you know when you find IT, whatever IT is, all will be OK. No, more than that, IT will be way better than OK. IT will be right. IT will be good. IT will bring joy and satisfaction and completeness and resolution and wholeness. I’ve had that feeling since I can remember.
I’ve known about Jesus my whole life. I was born between church services. But my knowledge of Him was like an outsider looking in. Actually it felt more like a forgotten explorer in a new land. God was back at the home office and I was here with the rest of my best intentioned but completely inadequate fellow explorers. I understood the terms of service. Those in this land were required to maintain a specific moral character, comply with all rules and ordinances and take the solemn oath of office by completing the “five steps” of initiation. The only certificate of membership was wet hair on a Sunday morning in front of the assembled. I don’t mean to make light of it all but I don’t remember an emphasis on knowing Jesus so I didn’t. I studied a lot about him and could quote the instruction manual quite well. But to me Jesus was a lamb who died because I needed it and then went off to the construction business. The Holy Spirit was the Bible, period. Those who said otherwise were way outside the membership alliance. We were told to stay away from those holy rollers.
Then something happened. My story is typical of those living as a heavenly orphan. The really good news is God never gave up. The “I know I forgot something” feeling never left me. I would try to drink IT away, eat IT away, play IT away, purchase IT away, family IT away, career IT away but IT was always there. By now you have figured out this riddle. “IT” was HIM. At a critical point the noise of me came to an abrupt silence and the sound of Him was loud and clear.
Since I discovered Him, realized He was waiting for me I have sought after more of Him. It has been a very exciting journey. There have been times when I would declare “I am ready Jesus, let’s get on with it.” There have been other times when my confidence would be in the pits and the enemy was pounding me with fear and doubt. The more revelation of Grace I have received and embraced the more stable and exciting the journey has been. I can say that the more we believe in the goodness of Him the greater the revelation of His goodness we receive and our hunger increases. Those “feelings” of His pursuit that I was confused about before have become the very driving force of my life. He pursued me and I found Him when He was waiting and now I am pursuing Him while He pours out in me. Go figure all that out. I sure haven’t. Still it is an amazing journey of freedom and joy in discovering more of Him.
Now I feel like I am at a special place. In this place I feel like God is about to do something way beyond my understanding. Before I would say I was ready for it to happen so it should happen. That understanding was the very indication that I wasn’t ready. Now I know I’m not ready or will ever be ready but I trust Him completely. I know He is ready. I know I would do anything for Him because He is the one that does it in me anyway. Maybe I have completely confused you but let me show you a few verses to ponder.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)
I think I know what this means now. The humility mentioned here is knowing that I can’t do it at all in my own effort. I will never be able to do it in my own effort. I know that God can and will do it. I have no doubts but excitement and anticipation.
What I really want to show you is these words “suffering” and “suffered” are actually different words in the Greek. The first “suffering” is about compassion for others. It is sacrificial love one has for another. It from the inside out. It is born out of surrender of self. It is what Jesus “suffered.” The second word “suffered” is more like hunger. It is desire that can’t be satisfied. It is “that feeling” of His pursuit. It is our pursuit of Him. It is the desire for more. Can you see it? We feel His passion and compassion for us. We live in a constant desire for more of Him and then He restores, confirms, strengthens and establishes us. These words are how He brings us wholeness and equips us for whatever is next. The original language is beautiful here. Jesus brings us clarity of mind, security in our spirit, wholeness and wellness in our soul and grounds us solidly in an unshakable foundation.
I look back and see phases of “not ready” to “want to be ready” to “I think I am ready” to “I know I am ready” and finally “He is ready”. So I’m not sure what my part was in the first place. In the end it is Jesus. In the beginning it is Jesus. In the middle it is Jesus. Peter tells us it is Jesus. I think it is one of those “ready or not” moments as a kid. “Ready or not, here I come!” I think God is just like that. “Ready or not here He comes.” I think that is awesome. God is so good. He really is irresistible. I want more than anything else in this world that others would see “He is irresistible” in me. As a good friend said “they can’t help but believe.” Ready or not….