Each morning as my dear wife settles into her devotions, she all but disappears behind our bedroom door into a glorious place of rest and peace in Christ. Even our Grandpup, Coach, loves to settle in with her when present. Coach nestles into a position between her knees, covered over by the afghan that also serves to comfort and warm my wife’s body from the waist down. There, he lies motionless in that same peace, opening his eyes only minimally if I happen to enter their sacred space.
Often, with eyes full of tears, my wife will utter a weak “uhm!” as I enter the room on my way to the shower. This is often a sound of permission for me to ask just what she is reading. It is then that I hear such profound statements as this morning: “I am, not I wish.” This seemed a follow-up to a conversation yesterday morning that stopped me in my tracks as I was preparing to hurry out the door and into my daily hustle.
Yesterday she read, “The Name of Jesus broke the dominion of faith in disease and weakness and in its place gave a perfect healing and a new faith in health.” (from In His Presence by E.W. Kenyon). “A new faith in health!” She had just added to my revelation: the Name of Jesus and the demonstration of that authority, both through His suffering at Calvary and His resurrection, has broken the hold on our lives that unknowingly welcomes weakness and loss. We have become so accustomed to long term suffering and our eventual demise, that our faith in sickness and disease has become stronger than our faith in the promises that Christ has won for us!
I know that my readers are already entertaining emotional thoughts of loved ones who have suffered, along with the compromise we often settle for: the reality that suffering also brings new learning, therefore we must accept it. By grace, all things do work together for good, so when we find ourselves suffering, we go there first, though often that may be no more than an act of false humility or piety. Ouch!
I certainly have empathy for the suffering and have learned tremendous things by way of personal suffering. I even recall the words of Jesus, that “in this life we will have tribulation;” and of Peter also, “the trying of our faith being more precious than gold.” However, the trying of our faith and the diminishing of the same should be two different outcomes. Our experience and His promises are two contrasting concepts; my life journey has afforded too many wonders for me at this late season, to reconfigure His Word and works to accommodate my weak faith. That’s American Christianity.
Rather than receiving His word, which affords us health and provision (I’m not talking prosperity and greed here) until our days are finished on earth; yet, we seem only to “wish” for those things. Our faith in the likelihood of suffering and even disease is greater than our ability to live in a way that glorifies Christ. Our demonstration of a relationship with God is certainly the key to evangelism. James said, “I will show you my faith by my works” and later the phrase we all know, “…faith without works is dead;” the works of Christ. If being evangelical, simply means that we communicate a memorized doctrinal prescription for sin, yet fail to love others enough to pursue a life that demonstrates Christ, we may actually injure the communication of the gospel…the Good News.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence for things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is substance. If we say we have faith and lack the substance of His provision, how is our life different than that of other religious practices?
Being a Christ follower is to acknowledge that Christ appeared in the flesh; dwelt among us; demonstrated the potential and possibilities of a righteous relationship with God; paid the price for that righteousness; overcame the barriers of our brokenness (even death); and, has set us apart as the Children of God…that’s true Christianity.
Mind you, this is not elitism, but being compassionate lovers of God, sufficient to take hold of the faith, in full pursuit of a demonstration of life of Christ.
When God spoke to Moses, naming Himself as the I Am, there was a certain confidence transferred at this “burning bush,” one that implied new possibilities for this stutterer and for our fallen race. Christ has now made that possible for all. We “Am” in Christ! He has made of joint heirs with Him and our life experience should always demonstrate promise,even the very acts of Christ, if we are willing to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 1:3 KJV.
As strange as I may sounding in a culture that has virtually abandoned any individual pursuit of Christ, substituting a faith in religion (man’s attempt at reaching for God), a faith in science (though I consider myself a student of such), a faith in politics and nationalism (though I participate in governance where possible as a service to my nation), or faith in the economy (investments are a part of my life as well). My deepest pursuit however, must always be Christ alone, the hope of Glory.
I don’t wish I was…, I Am in Christ!