The river of life- about entrustment
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
"That is why I kneel down before God and pray to Him. He is the Father, 15 Who has called by name all beings in the heavenly world and in the earthly world and keeps them alive. 16 I ask him to give you gifts from the riches of his glory and to make you strong inwardly by his Spirit. 17 I ask him that Christ may live in you through faith and that you may be firmly rooted and grounded in his love. 18 I ask him that you, together with the whole community of believers, may come to understand how immeasurably richly God gifts you. 19 You should know the love that Christ has for us, which surpasses all knowledge. In this way you will share ever more fully in all the fullness of life with God. 20 God can do infinitely more for us than we can ever ask or devise from Him. So mighty is the power with which he works in us. 21 To Him belongs the glory in the church and through Jesus Christ in all generations, for time and eternity! Amen. "(Ephesians 3:14 ff)
"But blessings shall come upon all who put their trust in me, the Lord, alone! 8 They are like trees standing by the water, stretching out their roots toward the stream. They do not fear the scorching heat; their foliage remains green and fresh. Even when the rain fails, they suffer no hardship. Never do they cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7).
"I am certain that God will also complete the good work he has begun among you until the day Jesus Christ comes." (Philippians, 1:6)
My dear friends, dear women,
When I look back at the articles in the last few weeks, a variety of themes emerge, but they all belong together in themselves.
One's own identity. What is this, then, the "hope of glory?"
What does it mean, then, that I am "added to the lineage of Jesus?"
Why does Paul actually write, "He loved us while we were yet sinners," and not, "Though we are sinners?"
What is holiness, what is actually that, "Holy to the Lord, that, as written in Isaiah 44:5, "Owned by the Lord"?
Is it loss of identity or finding identity? Am I allowed to have a healthy self-confidence as a Christian, where do I place myself - and why does everyone always beat up on each other? Wasn't there a commandment of love?
Where do I have to be exhorted, by whom and with what goal? What does it mean to be convicted by the Holy Spirit? And is my salvation actually secure for me?
Surrender of life. Identity in Christ. Standing between the worlds - no longer belonging here and not yet there. A Christian lives in change, in transformation toward Christlikeness- between this world and the next.
John Eldredge once said that the human mind cannot handle uncertainty. Unpredictability, uncertainty is an ordeal for all human knowledge and wisdom, which is relatively quickly at an end, when the chaos of our life is once again overflowing. And at the moment, to make matters worse, the whole world seems to be riding into chaos, including the Christian scene.
I encounter a deep uncertainty when we talk about who we are in Christ. People quickly turn back into shallower waters, because it's much safer to simply follow rules instead of Paul's obvious and unwavering hope and enthusiasm that he exudes. About which he writes. That, we quickly discard it in our own chaos, was due to the fact that there were contemporary witnesses- Peter, James, Jesus' mother. His brothers. Yes, they knew him, they knew exactly what he was like. Of course they were enthusiastic, of course they were taken by this impression of God on earth.
But we? 2000 years later? And would they really still have been so fiery, would they have guessed how long, how endlessly long it would take until Jesus comes again?
For us this is no longer true - according to those who withdraw from the insufficiently classifiable chaos back into the orderly conditions of religiousness.
In addition, there is increasing doctrinal confusion. Trinity is denied, the Mosaic law is brought to the fore or hypergrace church services to a sensational show worthy of Pink Floyd, where self-proclaimed prophets appear like superstars to perform what can also be seen in the Astrochannel: The same choice of words, the same message, the same divination. And let's face it, it's all so wishy-washy that it could apply to anything or nothing. Donate to your peace of mind!
And as if that weren't enough, the concept that is supposed to put a stop to this confusion of beliefs is even more muddled:
We encounter Spiritual Warfare more reminiscent of a good The Elder Scrolls title or online role-playing games, with its demon portals and sky portals in either green, yellow or red, from which anointing cloaks tumble out, in whatever color. "Better armor! Endgame Loot! Your sword of the word needs a new edition! And the anointing of the Holy Spirit has worn off too, here's some fresh anointing for you!" Any videogamer will grin and think, "Yeah, your stamina is depleted, and you need to replenish mana as well, so travel to the self-opening portals and defeat the enemies, they'll drop the loot- but please form a raid first."
And the Holy Spirit? Where is he? Is he now our inner attitude towards God, a serving superpower, the same as universal life energy or the "third person of God?" Well...He is God, friends. God's presence in your life, within you-and you are sealed in him. He is no "it", no "state of mind" nor a witchcraft power. He is God alone.
Do you still have brain capacities, dear friend, dear girlfriend? Or are you already just exhausted from reading?
Because, sorry, in addition, we are bombarded with news.
Terrifying news: Drought, inflation, war, barely after Corona had begun its triumphant march. Have we caught our breath again? From the vaccination discussions, the fear, the threat, the hostility erupting and erupting on social media, our society, and between supposedly good friends?
And now, currently?
Economic meltdowns, rising commodity prices, and the urge to somehow still hold our own little world together in an atmosphere of fear and overwhelm. And if it is by buying enough hot water bottles and wool blankets to save on heating costs. And a collection of games would perhaps also be quite good, so that the rising price of electricity can somehow be absorbed.
After all, it's not as if the everyday world with its demands would take this overstimulation into account:
The work week goes on nonetheless. The household, raising children, caring for relatives. The marital crises, the community obligations, the social contacts and the tax returns. People continue to get sick, marriages fail, deaths crash livelihoods. The personal drama in all the drama-it remains.
How is your heart? If you're honest with yourself:
How are you feeling right now?
Longing for times past?
Do you think: What's next?
How loud is your cry for Jesus and for insight? Where is your heart?
We must be very blind not to see where this time is leading us.
We must be very deaf not to hear the warning voice of Jesus within us calling us to stop and enter his presence.
We must be very hardened and closed-minded if we don't admit to simply being exhausted at this time.
And then still Bible reading? Then still another study, then still pastoral care, then still praying? At the end still...for others? When one has hardly any breath left to sigh a prayer to heaven?
Grace. Dear brothers and sisters: Grace to us all. Peace to us all.
Conflicts and aggressive discussions, radicalizations and witch hunts against each other always occur when upheavals are imminent. The upheavals we see at present were announced by Jesus. Hunger. Inflation. The constant hearing of worldwide calamities, wars and crises. He said we should "not let our hearts be troubled" by them.
Do we have a choice? Yes, we do.
In all this chaos there is an inexhaustible source, a source of encouragement and closeness. It is the love of God, and it is the knowledge that - despite what we see - He is still in control. That He calls us, follows us. And that the curtain to the Holy of Holies is torn. To rest in him, to reflect on his word, to internalize it, or, as Psalm 1 calls it, to "meditate" on it, to accept it as addressed to us personally- not just as a recipe book, but as a source of encouragement, healing, direction, and as the water of life, as, "I can't take it anymore, Papa, please, strengthen me!" is the order of the day. Come to rest and give it to him. Give Him all that, and get off this eternal mill wheel-for a few minutes. Focus on God and ask Him for a peace that you cannot find in yourself. Just him and you. Until the voices get quieter. The opinions. The arguments.
Cast all your cares and worries on him.
Throw them on him, do not put them bashfully before his cross. Show yourself to him! Give him your worries about the electricity bill, about the heating oil, the constantly rising prices. Give him your anger, your frustration, your rage, your fear. And ask him to fill you: With hope, with strength, with joy, with love- and with peace.
We are all going through a difficult time.
It is no use to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich. Nor does it help to numb the overload with even more busyness and even more self-discipline.
No. We have distress. We have fear. We are broke.
But: There is hope. There is a source. He'll get us through, you know.
Whether we're Pentecostals or Baptists. It doesn't matter if we're Brethren or protestants. It doesn't matter if we're just firmly in the saddle or wavering. We need to cry out to him. Jesus, help. Jesus, come. Jesus, you, not me. Jesus, you through me. Jesus, I need you. I praise you. I love you. I praise you, for I know you hold the victory! Together. For each other.
So may we find grace for one another, alignment on Him, and joy for what is to come. For you know, the truth is that if we love this world above all else, if we make ourselves at home in it, the King's return would be a nightmare. No. It has to be uncomfortable in a place for us to leave. For us to let go.
Let's start by running into his arms. He'll get you through it. I'm sure he will.
But let him take the lead. And give him your time.
We're talking about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we're talking about our God. Give him your heart. What belongs to the world remains to the world. May we run toward the inheritance he has for us.
Lord, come soon.
Be blessed. With the peace that surpasses all understanding. He's got the whole world...in his hands.
And he calls you by name.
Sibylle/Daughter of Zion.
The Bible. Good News Translation. Quoted from: www.bibleserver.com
Inspired by/ in accordance with: John Eldredge (ed.): "Resilient. Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times", Audio Book (extended), June 2022, Thomas Nelson.
Photo: with thanks to jamie_nakamura, Pixabay.
Song: "End Roller"- Peter Gregson.