Sometimes I wish God's discipline came in the version of an ass kicking. This way I could clean up the blood and mend the wounds. Instead, I am left to wonder - "how long O Lord, how long will You continue to bear me up under Your wrath?"
Okay. I admit that might seem a little serious. But here at the end of 2006 I am ready to move out of the desert of this long night. I have been praying, thanking God for His mercy and for His grace. Mostly I thank Him for His discipline. I know that the Master, Jesus, bore all of my guilt and shame. And that He took my portion of the wrath of God. However, as His child I know from reading Hebrews that He chastizes those He loves in order to put in them what cannot be bought with gold, namely His character. Financial burdens, grief, loss of loved ones, loss of mission, and working at jobs just to survive is getting to me. This is not the suffering I had in mind when I told Jesus that I was willing to suffer for His name. The weird thing is that I don't think I am "suffering". I am aware of the plight of our African brothers and sisters and our Middle Eastern and Asian Christians who face poverty and death everyday.
It is foolish of me to think that this minor "inconvience" of living with another family and living to pay off credit cards is really suffering. Lame. That kind of thinking is lame. I mean Jesus had no place to lay His head. The discipiles and the early Christians took beating after beating for preaching the Name of Jesus. But, there in lies my mental problem. These circumstances I find myself in are not from preaching the Gospel. It is not as if the local government and the religious leaders took my possessions and my job and pummeled me with rocks because I was in the marketplace declaring the name of Christ. No. I am more inclined to believe these things are readily happening because I have little faith. I am not talking about naming, claiming nonsense. I am talking about walking on water, seeing blind men see, lepers beeing cleansed, Spirit of the Living God eveloping faith.
I have forgotten what it is like to really trust God and to have hope that tomorrow is going to be better. I have lost touch with doing all things for the glory of God no matter what the result. I am stuck in the thought pattern that because I stack boxes, sling lattes or whatever that what I am doing is of little eternal signifigance. I sin. And the enemy wants me to stay right in that mindset so that I will keep on sinning. That I will forget that Jesus took my beating and that each day is a gift no matter how broke I am. I am rich in that my inheritance is King Jesus. It's just hard to think properly about earthly things sometimes. It is hard to live out the Sermon on the Mount. It is difficult to be a follower of Jesus with all these stupid things the enemy and the world throws at me. Suffering, heh! I have not begun to know His sufferings. Each day Jesus must become more sufficient for me. His grace must become relevant all the more.
Each day I must die to worry, guilt, shame, pride, laziness and lust.
Today is a good day to die.