Monday, April 16, 2018

From Pain to God’s Presence Through Pain

Photo by Fineas Gavre on Unsplash
There are many ways with which God challenges our hearts, but could this way be poignant for us all? 
The truth is, because we’re all sinners, we all fail to adequately and appropriately follow Jesus like He or we would like. Secondly, we fail to experience Jesus as He or we would like. These, I believe, are connected. (This article is no comment on the grace that saves us all from an eternal destiny without Christ, thank God!)
We can follow and experience Jesus better. When we follow Jesus well we experience His Presence better. And central to both connected concepts is pain.
Spiritual pleasure is felt when we feel our pain materially. What I mean is the comfort we crave, which in many ways is desire out of control, morphing materially into sin, is the temptation to avoid pain that God may well invite us to enter. Here’s the idea:
God’s promised Presence is prepared for those
who are prepared to enter and even embrace their pain.
None of us like the idea of experiencing God at a deeper level through our pain. We always hope that God would just love us more and bless us with His favour simply for being nice people.
But God doesn’t work that way. God is the Lord of truth. He desires that we be truthful about the areas of our lives where we know we cannot measure up, not to rub our noses in them, but to consecrate us because of our faults. In other words, the more we admit our sin, the more we’re aware, and act, the more we experience peace with God.
God wants us to enter His courts with humility enough to reconcile our sin. When we do, He invites us into deeper intimacy, not unlike the transaction that occurs for David in Psalm 51. We need to be Psalm 51 Christians, able to endure the pain that propels us into the healthy fruit of repentance.
In truth, we need to be people of truth before a God of truth. Then we will be free.
We avoid pain through the comforts of this world,
but if we avoid comfort that can never satisfy,
and enter the truth of the pain about ourselves we do not like,
God will meet us there by His Presence
and He will give us true comfort.

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