Monday, February 12, 2018

Being jubilant about what doesn’t bring joy

HOSPITALS, I find, are not the kind of place I find God speaks fast and furiously. Normally God speaks profusely when I’m moving. But it was during a time of hospital visitation recently where He ushered five or six potent sayings and visions.
This is one of them.
God said to me, ‘It’s hard following Me.’ I got this as I was redirected from one part of a hospital to another. So many directions for someone who is often spatially incoherent. I somehow knew I’d get to where I was going; to the actual person I was visiting, but I felt it was some kind of Jason Bourne adventure, with time pressure and all.
But there is a deeper connection with the Word God gave: following God isn’t just about being patient with and open to direction. With this Word, I experienced a certain divine empathy. God meant to communicate that it is hard actually submitting every decision to Him. Hard as far as discernment on the one hand, and hard also regarding the obedience required.
Following God, if we’re honest, is rarely cause for jubilation. We are certainly jubilant for what Christ has done, and for the Father’s love for us. But in the grind of the daily Christian walk, it’s a trial sprinkled with temptation and the occasional experience of humiliation and odd nuance of despair.
Life is the long game, and spiritual passion can be expected to wane.
But more than that, following Jesus can be expected to be like that visit to an unknown facility like the hospital. Nothing is certain or straight forward. There are snares to be avoided. Jesus tells us to be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. That’s no easy task, and impossible without the Holy Spirit.
When we serve recalling God’s saving us, we experience jubilation which makes the impossible challenge of following Jesus possible.
God expects far less perfection from us than we often expect from ourselves. Indeed, God expects imperfection from us. This fact ought to make us jubilant.
The less pressure we perceive from God, the more joy we experience following Jesus. The fact is, all the pressure we feel for following God has its root in us or others, not God.

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