September 17 / Proverbs 17 / John 11

widows-orphans

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves all the time, and a brother helps in times of trouble.

May we never forget that a friend loves at all times, including awkward times, painful times, uncomfortable times. I’m afraid we’re not taught well how to love one another. Many lack a “success model” for this. I guess most people don’t actually know how to be with suffering people. Or they don’t care. Or they’re ignorant of suffering going on around them. Or they’re just lazy and selfish.

I have a few suffering people in my life right now, and it pains me to hear how few come through and are really there for them in a tangible, ministering way. It’s not fun, it’s depressing, at times awkward, yet it is an entrance into the manifest presence of God in an amazingly unique way. And is it not exactly where we should be? With those who are struggling?

If we simply hang out with those with good lives and who make us feel good, how different are we than the world? Is that the healing of the nations?

Are we not called as Christ followers to be with the widows, orphans, sick, imprisoned, homeless, lonely, hungry, and naked.

John 11:48

If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.

Jesus replaces Temple and nation. Jesus replaces Torah and family for that matter.

This is not an arbitrary removal of cherished possessions from our lives. Rather, this is the bestowing of something so much better that, if we are open to it, brings us great joy and authentic experience of a life of significance. In the process, the things replaced drop to their proper position and level of importance within our lives. Everything the world and religion has to offer is trumped and transcended by Jesus and what He offers.

Fear of losing something shows you are holding on too tightly to it. How ridiculous it is to be encountered by God Himself, my loving, omnipotent Creator, and at the same time be worried about losing my church or country! Yet this is exactly how we live many of our days.

We have the Ultimate, the Source, the best possible, but fail to see it or to recognize it. We want “more” when there is no possibility of more because we already have ALL. Because we have God, we can afford to lose anything and still have everything.

It truly is in how we see–in what we choose to look at, isn’t it? Losing things, especially people¬†or health, is very painful, but it doesn’t destroy us, unless of course we let it. There is a difference between sorrow and despair. We may experience great sorrow and yet hold on to who we really are in Christ. So much of life really does depend on what we choose to focus on–what we have or don’t have. And this goes far beyond the cliche gratitude for a car that runs or a closet full of clothes (though it is good to be thankful for these temporal blessings).

We have the love of God for Christ’s sake!

And nothing can possibly ever separate us from that [Romans 8:35-39]. Therefore, if what you fear to lose is God because you’re holding on to dear life to Him, good! Because you can’t lose Him. So there’s nothing to fear there.

This I choose to focus on, to make my “go to” right now, in this present moment, today, and everyday. This is what we remind each other of daily so that we will live a full life of abundance. We help each other to live into our life of¬†significance that is already there waiting for us to acknowledge and take hold of.

But we need reminding of it, constant reminding. For everything “out there” seeks to distract us from this beauty that always is. So much attracts us to take hold of that which is far less than what we can and in fact already do have.

It is deceiving.

And we try desperately to wring the world’s offer of a lasting, fulfilling significance that is not even there to be wrung.

I will remind myself that I am at every minute loved by that which is perfect, condition-free, eternal Love.

What more could I possibly want than that?

 

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