Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘grief’

Wounded by Friends

Caring about others makes you vulnerable in many ways.  The hurts our friends receive hurt us too.  We rise to their defense.  Those are hurts that can accomplish good.  They make us love harder and share one anothers’ burdens. We grow in strength together.

There are other shared hurts that can be deadly.  Our friends’ weaknesses can partner with our own and pull us both into deeper troubles.

But there’s an even greater vulnerability of friendship.  Sometimes friends directly hurt us…they betray us, accuse us of wrong, deceive us or abandon us.  The one we stood by leaves us high and dry.  The one we defended attacks us.

Those wounds are deep.   Does it seem odd that the wisdom of Proverbs says it is good?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful.  Proverbs 27:6

All hurts have the potential to open our heart to new depths of Christ’s healing love.  Every wound has the possibility that Joseph declared in Genesis:  ‘You meant it for evil but God meant it for good…for the saving of many lives.’  When we take our wounds to the Healer, new legacies are born…eternal promises unfold.

One wound we all share is the grief when a loved one dies.  As I write this, my own heart aches at the loss of a precious 21 year old.  A young man with a gentle and kind heart who had a smile for everyone he met.  A young man who fell into the bondage of addiction; a young man whose life was stolen away.  He left behind many wounded, crying hearts. My hope-filled prayer is that his chains will open the way for many to experience the truth of his favorite song.

At first glance, the song is a cruel irony.  This young man loved Jesus, yet his chains were not broken.  Some might think Jesus was not a faithful friend or that the devil and drugs had more power.  Those are lies.  The devil is a defeated foe; an earthly life was taken, but seeds for eternal life were sown.  The unbroken chains of my young friend (whose own heart was broken by his own captivity) are piercing hearts that Jesus longs to heal.

Will we who know the Healer speak clearly about Jesus?

There is a desperate need in our world for loving, confident voices of hope.  In Psalm 51, David–the man after God’s own heart–cried out in sorrow over his own sin but confidence in God’s kindness, “…a broken heart you will not despise” he says to God.

David understood that the walk of faith is not based on sinless perfection or the right actions of others.  He also understood the pain of honest confession and the humility needed to receive God’s plan.  The kindness of God does not create a sugar-coated, life of ease on earth.

The kindness of God brings about purposes of eternal good–and untangling our sins often creates heartaches.  Faith does not always know ‘why’ but it understands heartache prepares ground for the good purposes of God!

God does what it takes to draw hearts to Him.  Horribly hard consequences came from the sin David wept over.  God forgave him but warned him a sword would slash through his family.  The consequences, though, didn’t wipe out the promises made to David decades before::

“…the LORD himself will establish a house for you…I will raise up your offspring…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father, he will be my son….My love will never be taken away from him…Your house and your kingdom will endure forever…”  2 Samuel 7:12-17

 

God is faithful to His promises; we can reap the rewards of David’s promises too.  Centuries after David died our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ entered his family.  At least a dozen times, Scriptures refers to Jesus as the Son of David.  God was faithful to His promise.  The Messiah, Immanuel – God with Us – breaks legacies of sin when broken hearts are brought to Him for healing.

Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil and give us abundant life.  He died for our sins…and the hurts caused by sin.  We are never more unfaithful to Jesus than when we fail to receive healing for our wounds.

The wounds of life have purpose and beautiful potential when we place them in the loving hands of Jesus.

When we hold on the hurts, our voices are silenced.  We are like the addict, self-absorbed with meeting our own needs.  We never mean to hurt another.  We simply feel hopelessly trapped in our own hurt, clouded by our own questions.  The lies of the enemy loom so large that we can’t see Jesus.  We can’t give hope to others because we have not received it for our self!  The life Jesus died to give us is silenced.  We dishonor His work on our behalf; we are faithless friends.

Jesus shows us how to deal with unfaithful friends…with friends who use us, reject us, neglect us, abandon us.  Jesus died for friends like that.  He surrendered to the will of the Father; He lived out love to the end.  We are not separated from His love by the heartaches of life IF we give them to Him.  Then He plants His own life, and we become fields where hope blooms.

Do you have hard spots in your heart…spots that throb with anger, resentment and hurt…spots that have hurt so long numbness is all you feel?  Do you have habits you can’t break, relationships you can’t heal?  Let Jesus break your heart wide open.   He is the faithful friend who will heal every hurt.  Then receive the Living Word, let it take root and share it with the hurting world around you.  

Love Life

Shortly after 9/11 there was an interview with an ISIS member who captured for me the essence of their heart.  He said something like this:

“America, you will never win because you love life and we love death.”

He may be right…our country may not win, but we don’t have to lose.  Christ is life; He already won by overcoming death.  He offers us life.

In the face of yet another murderous attack, I share a piece from Fixing our Eyes on God.  We need not be fearful or victimized.

Know Jesus.  Know Peace.  No Jesus.  No Peace.

Our look at the Lord today is a well-known title: Jesus is Life.  It (life) is a passion for God; He is the giver of Life.  God loves Life and longs for every soul to know the abundance of true Life. Jesus came that we could know the fullness of eternal life.  But Satan loves death and constantly seeks to blind all to true Life.  He directs our attention to illusions of life that are only death in masquerade:  fame, fortune and adventure.  True Life is Jesus.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Scripture guides us to Life.

All Scripture points us to the fullness of Life—to Jesus.  The writings of the disciple John repeatedly remind that Jesus is Life.   John quotes Christ’s own words that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life.’  Jesus is the only way to God; He is the source of truth; and Jesus is Life itself.  The gospel of John opens by beautifully laying out Christ’s eternality as the Word, the Life and the Light of the world.  John’s gospel ties perfectly with the Psalmist who praised the light given by the Word.  It knits with Paul’s explanation that the presence of Jesus reveals eternal life.  The Word, Jesus, is light and life to all who receive it.  The Greek dictionary defines the light that the life of Christ brings as a light unable to be kindled or quenched by another!  Satan can deceive for a time, but he cannot produce a light that endures.  The Word who is Life and Light will never pass away.
Fixing our eyes on the source of life is the only way to navigate this treacherous world safely—and to help others do likewise.  No path on earth can resist the light produced by Christ’s life.  As we allow His life to fill the darkest parts of our lives, the pathway we should take becomes clear.  The shadows that fill the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ flee in the presence of eternal Life!  The despairs that threaten our souls—loneliness, addictions, fear—dissipate when the truth of His life penetrate.  Lives filled with His life illumine the paths of others as well.
In addition to the Light that accompanies the Life, scripture reminds us of other ways Christ is life to this world.  Jesus is the ‘living bread’ and the ‘living water.’  His Life is sustenance and refreshment in this dry, weary land.   As pilgrims, we are not to rely on any other source for life than Jesus Himself.  When the Life of Christ fills us, that which is ‘dead’ becomes alive.  In fact, Christ calls us to be ‘living stones’ in this world of death.  Our lives are to evidence what Christ told Martha:  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25).  Our lives are to overflow with the Life of Jesus so that He spills onto those who walk nearby us.

Gaining vision!

MarinesSweet name to consider this morning:  Lifter of My Head.  Sometimes my eyes get stuck in the yuck.  The heartaches, the sin, the stuff of life hold my gaze…and I fail to see the King of Glory.  Ah, but Psalms 3:3 tells me, HE is the lifter of my head.  I will wait for His touch and yield to it that I might see the next step!  He who promised to never leave is always with us.  In the mess, He can be seen if we let Him lift our eyes.      Choose Faith!

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