Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Mark Batterson, The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto, Chase the Lion
There are things in my life that are surrounded in mystery. Try as I might, I can’t discern the purpose of the thing!
Those are “the things” that we encounter on our way to our destiny that just feel wrong. Perhaps it is a wrong circumstance we are in, or something wrong we have done, or a wrong thing that we feel was done, to us…
But let’s face it, there are those occasions in our lives where everything just seems to turn out wrong, and we can’t see any redeeming purpose in it!
The infamous question
That would be the “Why?” question.
(Of course, I don’t always ask, “Why?”)
When I’ve stepped into another bear trap I knew I shouldn’t have. Or, when I am dealing with my own sins and failures–usually in those case–I know exactly why I’m in the mess, or suffering.
But our why’s are not always easy to discern are they? In fact, sometimes, in some cases, it is downright impossible to understand why we are where we are.
Those are the times when I must choose: to trust in God’s goodness in the middle of a mystery.
Omnipotence wrapped in clay
The more I learn about God’s power the harder it is to for me to understand suffering. Especially unjust suffering.
It is a mystery to me that this wondrous Holy Spirit comes to live in my heart, with all the power and knowledge of God, and yet He chooses to limit Himself by residing in me–common clay.
After all my years of walking out this journey with God I still can’t quite seem to wrap my head around it.
(Learning just “how” to possess my inheritance in Christ Jesus has often left me scratching my head.)
Take the mystery of my inheritance for instance, and wrap it inside the enigma of Ephesians 2: 1-6,
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. [The Message]
Now add suffering into the mix
Google defines an ENIGMA as:
a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.
|synonyms:||mystery, puzzle, riddle, conundrum, paradox, problem, unsolved problem, question, question mark, quandary, a closed book;|
When you bundle God’s power, and love, and goodness–with the indwelling Holy Spirit, and all that is our inheritance “in Christ” that comes with Him– then take all the instructions of our bible to praise God, no matter what is happening in our lives.
Is it not a mystery wrapped in an enigma?
My best example: The Apostle Paul
Was not this one man’s life an example of storm, and fury, and suffering? Yet Paul wrote in the third chapter of Philippians,
My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God. And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death. Only then will I be able to experience complete oneness with him in his resurrection from the realm of death. [9-11 TPT]
In his book, The Blessings of Brokenness, Dr. Charles Stanley writes,
It’s difficult to discern the blessing in the midst of brokenness. Certain circumstances in life hurt, at times so intensely that we think we will never heal. After brokenness, we can experience God’s greatest blessings. The dawn after a very dark and storm-wracked night is glorious. Joy after a period of intense mourning can be ecstatic. Brokenness is what God uses to replace our self-life with his desires and intents for us. Its end is blessing far greater than we could ever discover apart from being broken. It’s spiritual maturity and joyous intimacy with God. Greater depth and power in our ministry to others. New dimensions of freedom, strength, and peace. And a wholeness that comes as God himself reassembles us into someone more closely resembling Jesus Christ.
But listen to this encouragement!
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Mark Batterson–Chase The Lion
As you walk through the valley of the unknown, you will find the footprints of Jesus both in front of you and beside you. –Dr. Charles Stanley, The Blessings of Brokenness