Saturday, July 9, 2016

Resurrection From the Belly of a Fish

“Every true gospel vocation is a resurrection vocation that arrives after a passage through the belly of the fish.  All ‘word of God’ vocations are thus formed.  There can be no authentic vocation that is not shaped by passage through some such interior.”
 Eugene H. Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant an Exploration in Vocational Holiness
The ‘passage through some such interior’ is brutally poignant.  There is a colossal paradox in every fully-fledged loving spirituality of the Lord.  That paradox is this fact: we never simply arrive resurrected.  We’re resurrected from something abysmal to something contrastively better.  Such is God’s love that it takes us into the bowels before we’re able to rise from the brink in His exaltation; His alone.
Resurrection is the plot twist in every motion picture’s climax.  Out of the jaws of defeat comes victory, and the more unexpected that victory is, the better the narrative.
Your life and mine — everybody’s — is such a narrative of loss and recovery, of losing then winning, of rags that dissolved for comparative riches; if we’re diligent and faithful.
None of us can reap the riches of gain without first experiencing the groaning chasm of loss.  We cannot bypass the bane to experience the bliss.  We must go into the darkness given to us as a gift, intrepidly and willingly, and traverse that valley, in that rarefied air, without becoming intoxicated for a lack of oxygen.  We learn to make do with the air we have.  And in this cavernous experience is the journey of interior.  It’s supposed to be incredibly tough, nigh on impossible to endure.
From scandalous trial, to scourging and defamation, to the bloody and tormented cross, to burial, to descending to hell alone, to being raised, to ascending to be with the Father; that was the life of Jesus.  If we’re to live to follow Him, we’ll be blessed to be called into that manifestation of life.
Jesus went into His interior, experienced being void, ultimately to be resurrected.
Jonah went into the belly of the fish for going to Tarshish, and was then spat out onto dry land for redirection to Nineveh.
Jesus asks us to enter our interior, promising ever to resurrect us from it at the right time.
We cannot hope to be resurrected until and unless we bear and suffer our cross.
Grace cost the Father His Son.  Resurrection requires a cross.
Resurrection is evidence of a cross endured.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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