Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is Jesus Enough??

Man, has this post been rolling around in my heart this morning. There are so many things going on right now that are telling my to pour this post out with all my heart. Two of the main catalysts to feeling the pressure to write this are Matt Chandler's current fight with cancer in his brain. And a wonderful message at church on Sunday by Pastor Mark that ended with him pouring out his heart about another amazing minister of God in Australia battling Pancreatic cancer. It was an amazing illustration to an already timely and necessary message to anchor our souls. In the case of Matt Chandler my flesh would like to ask the question, "Why Matt?" Seriously. He is so authentic and God uses him to crush the things that keep us from being authentic people of God; he is an amazing father, husband, pastor and servant of God. But we don't really get to ask that question. I mean we can ask, but God doesn't have to answer us. He is God, the"I am", the sovereign one, ever gracious, loving and wise. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts higher than our thoughts. He knows our end from our beginning. He knows each and every one of our ends and beginnings and how our middles need to intertwine to bring us where we need to be. He sees the whole picture and every detail; He see the parts we cannot see or comprehend. He know how many hairs are on each of our heads. He is the potter, we are the clay. He knows so much better. We just have to trust Him. Is there any other place to be than in complete trust of Him? I don't want to be any other place. I TRUST HIM; He is worthy of our trust. There is so much peace, joy and hope in that place where we trust the creator to be the center of our universe. When He is there in the center like the sun, it holds everything else in balance. In light of all this my question changes from "Why Matt" to a peace that God would give Matt Chandler to privilege of walking through this challenge with God by his side and practically the whole world watching. I have a feeling that Matt probably has the same sense of awe the God trust him to be an illustration of God's goodness and grace in the midst of the unthinkable. What an amazing opportunity to be visual illustration for us all to watch. I can only pray that God would make me grounded enough and in love with Him enough that if the unthinkable should come knocking at my door that I would be able to stand and know and proclaim the Jesus is more than enough. What more could we desire than to be used by God to show His love, grace, and all consuming ability to be more than enough?

If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be ale to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we could just get a hold of this in our hearts and lives, there would be no room for fear. Satan could not ever intimidate us or take our peace. We would change the world; our impact would be multiplied exponentially. This is the truth; let the truth sink in so we can "know the truth and the truth would set us free". God give us eyes to see the truth. Make our hearts and eyes like those of Neo in the Matrix. When he saw that everything around him was a lie, when he saw the coding instead of the walls, agent Smith could do nothing to him. Most of the world around us is a lie. We have bought the lie hook, line and sinker. The things we think are so important mean nothing. The car, the house, the shoes, the ipod, the big screen, whatever it is, it is a lie. It doesn't matter. What is stuff in light of Christ? The world cannot define us, it cannot limit us, it cannot stop us. "Love not the world", "do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind", "do not store up for yourself treasure on this earth where moth and rust and destroy and thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourself treasure in heaven". Oh Lord, open our eyes to see the truth, help us to see the stuff for what it is, it is code, it is a lie the enemy uses to distract us, appease us and keep us from seeking the things that have true value. Bring us to the place that, were we to lose it all, we could say " Jesus is enough!!!" and mean it with every fiber of our being. Help us to see that we have been so preoccupied with a counterfeit, that we have missed the true treasure. The enemy of our souls has us so in love with costume jewelry, that we are not even able to discern what real jewels look like.

I think that God has blessed me with the gift of being able to know this truth in such a deep manner. Not that I am anything special or I have done anything to earn it. I think it is because when He introduced Himself to me, I literally had nothing. I was nothing. I was trash, that no one else would have valued. Most people saw a thief, a whore, a drug addict, a reject, a pregnant, self destructive, stupid girl. He saw a jewel; he saw who I am today, and who I will be tomorrow. When no one else, including myself could have imagined I could be anything and when most everyone saw a hopeless case, He saw deep inside the dirty, filth caked, blood soaked, drug induced coma that was my heart and knew there was a diamond. He saw that He could chip away, clean, purge, heal, restore, redeem, restore and in the end He would have a diamond that would reflect Him in a way that was unique to me. That truth is not just for me. That truth relates to every one of us. He sees in you something so valuable that He was willing to die for it. He knows the potential He created you with. The enemy may have tried to destroy it, kill it, bury it, but no matter have deeply that beautiful potential is buried, God sees it and He is busy at work cleaning, purging, redeeming, restoring and digging it out in you too. The point in starting this trail was that b/c I literally had NOTHING and was NOTHING when He found me (not that He had ever lost me), loving Him with all my heart is not hard for me. My relationship with Him defines me; it centers me; it is literally the anchor to my soul. Trusting Him, for me, is not a very far leap; because I grew up never being able to trust anyone, never knowing safety, knowing Him and trusting Him is literally all that I have. Everything else I have, He gave me after I knew Him. Everything I have, He gave me; everything I am, He made me; everything I ever hope to do is tied up in him. I don't want to go anywhere He is not leading me; I don't want anything He doesn't want me to have. The anthem of my heart, comes from Exodus 33:15, out of Moses' mouth, "If your presence goes not with me (us), do not bring us up from here", I do not want to ever be without His presence. I will go anywhere, as long as He will bring His presence. The point in all of this is that I know, that this is something that is very easy for me to walk in, b/c God gave me the gift of being nothing when I met Him. That truth helps humble me and helps me be gracious to those who might find trusting God whole hearted a little more difficult. When you are given a gift, you cannot boast about it or be proud, like you can something that you work hard and earn. What it also does is makes me pray so hard for those around me that they will know Him and experience Him like this. That I will somehow be able to share what He has given me in a way that helps others know Him better. If you have ever been in relationship with me, know that chances are pretty good that you have either been on my prayer list, are currently on my prayer list or will eventually end up on my list. God has woven prayer into the fiber of my being from the very beginning of my walk with Him. It is like oxygen to my lungs. I don't think a day has passed in the last 17 years that I have not uttered some kind of prayer to him. There have been seasons of less prayer and seasons of more prayer, but always there is prayer. It is part of who I am. I tend to pray by lists, God adds people to them and sometimes people fall off the list, maybe b/c they don't need the prayer as bad as another anymore. Currently, I am in a stage where there is much prayer. I wake up every morning and run and pray like crazy. It is like God taps me on the shoulder every morning and says, "hey I am waiting, go get on the treadmill, lets run together and pray." For me, when I step onto the treadmill, it is like a bubble where, "I turn my eyes upon Jesus and the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Time stops in my bubble; nothing else really matters except seeking Him, listening to Him and crying out to him for those who I feel led to pray for during this season of my life. Someday things may change; it may become another time and place, but for now it is early in the morning on my treadmill. The thing I find my heart crying out for my people during this season is that, "He would do whatever is necessary to bring about the most eternal significance into our lives, that he would do whatever is necessary to bring us each into the most authentic, sincere, truthful, living relationship with Him we can have. The He would help us love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That He would remove from us anything that would stand in the way of us knowing Him and making Him known, that we would be found in Him fully alive, and that we would be radical, peculiar, insanely loving individuals." Notice I said us. I pray the same things for me and for those God asks me to lift up in prayer.

Is Jesus enough??? More than enough!!! Jesus is everything. I pray that we would each know this truth that it would be an anchor to your souls. If we can really know the He is enough, then there is nothing to fear. The enemies greatest strategy is rendered completely useless. It is not Jesus and our family, career, talent, house, car, stuff. Just Jesus. The other stuff is icing. For the most part we get the stuff, but it has to be Jesus that is enough. Lord, let this truth sink in so deep that if we lose it all, we can say, "Jesus is enough!"

Jesus is enough. If I get sick and face death, the truth is He has given me way more time than i deserve. I should have died at Parkland Hospital 20 years ago when I was 17, He saved my physical body and did not let me die. Therefore, if he gave me 20 years beyond that, who am I to question if He should call me home or take my health. I should have gotten AIDS, Hepatitis or Tuberculosis. (Really, you have no idea). I should be brain damaged, in jail, crippled.

Jesus is enough. If He allows my children to be taken away from me, who am I to question. I am not supposed to be able to conceive children (for real), yet He gave me 3. Alexandra, should have been brain damaged or dead, b/c of my stupid self destructive behavior. Left to my choices (back then), I would have had an abortion. He has given me 17 years with that beautiful, amazing, unique, indescribably wonderful child. He used her to save my life. So who would I be to question Him, or be angry that He would take her from me. He gave me 17 more years with her than I deserve or thought I would have. Each one of my children is a gift that He gave me and He has the right to take them whenever He would choose.

Jesus is enough. Should he take my husband from me, I don't deserve him anyway. God gave me the best, most amazing, most wonderful, gracious man. I never thought I could love someone the way I love that man. I never thought I could be loved the way that man loves me. I never dreamed that I would spend the last 10 years with my best friend. I love him more than I did the day I married him. I never would have thought that I could find someone that would love me, all the baggage, all the flaws, all the struggles, all the strange twitchy obsessive compulsive behavior. He accepts me just as I am, cranky, controlling, driven, insecure. God gave each of us the temperament and environment to make us who we are in such a way that we bring balance to each other and bring out the best in each other. He allowed us to lose each other and then put us back together so we would have a depth, stability, passion, and deeply rooted assurance that we are meant to be together that bind us together in a way that won't allow anything to separate us. But in spite of all of that, were He to take Larry away from me, God gave me so much more than I deserve and has allowed me to know the kind of love and passion that most watch in movies and dream of. Who am I to question Him?

Jesus is enough. When I met him I had been homeless. Should He take my house, my cars, my stuff, I have no right to question. He gave it all to me.

Not saying it wouldn't be hard. Not saying there wouldn't be a grieving process, but I know that Jesus is enough and that He has given me far more than I deserve or ever dreamed I could have so I cannot question what God would choose to allow in my life.

There is something freeing and completely fulfilling about walking in that place of trust and openhanded thankfulness. I don't have to be afraid or in control, b/c God is in control and He is good. I have been so richly blessed that were I to die today, I would feel I had lived such a rich, full life. I have lived so much further and so much better than I ever dreamed I could. Call me Cinderella b/c my life is a fairytale. The beginning may have been really hard, but I would not change one minute about my life. Every part of it was worth it, to be able to know Him the way I do. I am who I am b/c God allowed me to walk where I walked and He was always there watching, working, and knowing where I would end up. Besides, do we remember the beginning of the movie or the end, and the ending as it appears now is freaking amazing. If it ends 20 years from now I am sure it will be quadruple freaking amazing. He writes a much better script than me. I trust Him; He has been so faithful; how could I not trust Him?

If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ.

Romans 8:31-39

This hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast...

Hebrews 6:19

For we are saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Romans 8:24-25

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25-26

1 comment:

  1. I am re-reading this. Since you know my struggles, this needed to be read and re-read. Thank you for your friendship and guidance over the years. You still inspire me and teach me so much!