1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.2Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.3For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh….8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Oh! dear Readers, how these great words speak to my weary soul these days.
Oh! dear Readers, as the days turn into years and the trials of life multiply, then subside for a season only to multiply again; the desire to really KNOW Him increases with every breath.
There is a nearness of the Savior that comforts and encourages us onward. Yet, that nearness fades from awareness crowded out with troubles, daily tasks and the stuff of life. Perhaps huddling away alone with Him will make us more acquainted; better friends. So do we think. Then longing for that sabbatical experience that never comes we settle back into routine prayer, church, and our Christian endeavors, only to be again pressed by inner hunger for more.
Then something happened. Recently, something really big happened; something really big and really hard happened, and grief and suffering closed around like a heavy blanket. Wrestling to overcome by willful dismissal of the weight, the days’ efforts left me exhausted. The mornings became an effort, and progress slowed to a pitiful crawl.
I must shake this! I must find the joy again! I must overcome! And again I take to the carpet praying this way and that for the lifting of the burden. Do I repent for the self-pity? Do I resign it all to “not my will, but thine be done?” Do I forgive again and again and really mean it each time? WAIT a second here! What is this breaking through the fog? From where comes this revelation softly turning the corners of my mouth up again?
I don’t need a sabbatical; this life experience is doing all I wanted! I know him better now, because I am in fellowship with His suffering. He was rejected by those he loved, so was I. He was ridiculed and slandered, so was I. People he cared for turned on him and lied about him; hmmm sounds familiar. But, oh my, I have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin.
There has been no thorny crown pounded down on me. They said bad things, true, but no one yelled, “crucify.” I know a little more about Him now, though. We have some things in common. He understands me, and we are better acquainted with each other now.
Funny how that sort of sneaks up on a person. There we are, all sad and wondering how to pray our way through something when all the time Jesus is showing us more of himself. What a wonderful counselor! Such a good friend! My everlasting father!
Fellowship with The Ancient of Days weaves the cares of life into a beautiful tapestry.