I am now in a Sherlock Holmes costume. My production is most likely playing in a high school gym.
Now my story becomes a mystery. Where did I go wrong? As far as I know, I am not the “Joni Of Arc” so I expected trials and tribulations. Jesus guarantees it in the gospel of John 16:33 along with another guarantee. “These things I’ve spoken unto you; that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: But be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!” (KJV)
Of course, I liked the promise of peace and good cheer but that tribulation part seemed like it was showing up more than anything else! I felt like I was getting my fair share and most of everyone else’s! Who, what, when why and how are my investigative questions?
I tearfully proclaim, “I really don’t care, just want to be happy! I just want to have peace!” But as I explore the passage in Romans further, it is clear that happiness is possible with pursuit (translation: WORK)! Also included is a requirement that I must be righteous, which is produced by the Holy Spirit (according to this scripture in the International Version). So this righteous part means right standing with God. The mystery continues to unravel as I consider … how does one achieve this right standing? I have “standing wrong” down pretty well it appears, so what now? Can I blame any misfortune on someone else? Can I blame God for anything? May I channel Sherlock Holmes for help and guidance with said mystery? I’m in costume and playing the part anyway. (Perhaps I’m not the only one in costume?!)
I sigh, because I already know the answers on this quiz which was usually a feeling of relief. Not this time.
First answer: I cannot blame God for I know He never fails (Romans 9:6-8). I do believe the Bible as definitive truth because He fulfilled what He promised – plain and simple “as He said.” God is sovereign! This is my chosen belief that resonates from deep within. Amen – so be it!
Next answer: People fail and this I know because I’ve done it so often! Also, I know from experiencing the failings of others and the residual affects it had on me and others. NO, I can’t blame people!
Next answer: I already know and it’s not fair! My dear Watson, the finger points to me. Regardless of what someone does to me, my will comes in play. I have a choice to reject the intent or receive it. The pain may be real but I know Him who has taken pain so it cannot have any lasting affect … and here it is … unless I let it! Now that I know this I see where I’ve ALLOWED all the lies to pitch a tent in my soul. Therefore, I have to explore what’s happened and where my passionate pursuit became a weary walk of well-doing. The conclusion is obvious, the mystery is hidden. “If hidden,” I ask, “then won’t it take a pursuit to uncover it?” God answers, “No, it will take a pursuit to uncover YOU.”
NO applause … together we gasp. And scene … (run off stage)
The mystery now becomes an expedition to discover what lies beneath the surface. I can’t think of a costume, so it’s just me and my Bible in the church. I accept this challenge thinking I’m David in pursuit of God as I hear the voice of a Rod Parsley sermon saying, “the proof of desire is in the pursuit”! This is hard work, but this truth I know – Our Lord Jesus never asks anything of us that He Has not done! He fasted forty days proving His death to temptation. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He died to His will accepting that death was certain. On the Cross He suffered all in all. This spotless Lamb was God’s sacrifice for the sin of humanity. That insurmountable sin upon Jesus did something He’d never experienced; for the first time He was separated from His Father. Yes, God turned away, but I believe it was not because He was mortified by His son’s appearance, as so many have taught. If God is truth then He had no choice for He spoke that sin separates one from Him.
When Jesus cried out, “My God why hast Thou forsaken me?” … my heart cries within me as though Jesus was as any lost son crying, “Where are You, where are You? I can’t find You, Father!” He was LOST! That is why we say lost souls because Jesus was lost like us but for us.
Our sin ended His pursuit and Jesus could not feel His Father’s presence any longer; for the first time they were apart. Thus, it was over and our Savior hung His head and gave His last breath … alone.
A Savior rescues and His mission is to save. Jesus did not want a soul to suffer as He did and had to resuscitate a world of people choking on their own sightlessness and sin; we were lost. How could God love us that much that He gave His Son to seek and to save and give us eternal life?
He offered a new covenant. God could not ask for a sacrifice and make all things new unless He gave first. He gave His perfection. So many tell the story that Jesus came to earth but rarely does anyone say that He had to leave Heaven. He had to step off His throne, take off His royal robe and lay down the crown He would exchange for one so different. Only Perfect Love could do such a thing. He left.
What must we leave? What must our sacrifice look like? How far beneath the surface of self must we go to find Him and to find the real me, the real you? What garments of our world will we need to take off to get through the layers of lies we’ve been sold?
You must decide how much of God you want. It’s now called self-inventory; what to keep and what to give up because we are cleaning out a toxic closet. But some are satisfied with life being self-satisfying and a bit of inventory is fine if we can laugh about it and buy a few books – that’s what I call the “I love God but … fill in the blank club.” I’m not being judgmental, but it’s part of the falling away of those who take a peek in that closet and shut the door. The fearless, however, will go in giving up day by day until only remnants are left.
I made my choice to go on pursuit. The love of God gave me a shovel of resilience that forced me to go as deep as I could regardless of weighty circumstances and life’s offerings of unimaginable grief. It takes grit and grace but Jesus is my portion!
Where I come from we had supper and a portion was called a helping. I like that. He is always enough, our daily bread, our helping and our sufficient portion of grace. Like the words from the great song, My constant friend is HE! He is CONSTANT so I will never know alone as He knew alone.
If His eye is on the sparrow, I know He’s watching me … and He never blinks.