Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19th

From a letter to a friend on March 19, 2012-

I was thinking about this verse from yesterday: "All heaven will praise Your miracles, Lord; myriads of angels will praise You for Your faithfulness. O Lord God Almighty! Where is there anyone as mighty as You, Lord? Faithfulness is Your very character." (Psalm 89:5,8 NLT)

Faithfulness is His very character! What an awesome thing to think about.

So I was meditating on these things, and they kept taking me deeper into His love; I felt all my stress and anxiety melt away, even my body was at peace. It was as though He were the ocean and I were in the arms of the ocean. He was so vast, so deep, so loving and tender.

And my thoughts wandered, and I had a thought that I was immediately ashamed of, and it was so disconcerting. It always is, when in His intimate presence, to be faced with my imperfect and embarrassing humanity. It just throws me right off.

So I kind of scrambled around frantically for a moment or two, like the thought was a hot potato and I'm tossing it from hand to hand. Then I realized I could just let go of it.

So, it was as though I just dropped it, as though it were a dirty rag and as soon as I did this, it was as though I spread my arms out wide- as though I were defenseless, as though to say, this is all that I am, of myself, I can't excuse myself or make up stories or hold back or hide, this is everything that I am, as I am.

As soon as I realized this, I felt Him draw His robe over me, from head to toe and pull me into His arms. No kidding. It was a distinct impression, and the impression lingered for a long time. I could feel myself bundled up in His robe, I could feel it over my head, like a hood. I rested in this for a long time, and kept thinking about it and remembering it and wondering about it. I kept remembering how He had reached out and enfolded me into Himself- how He had claimed me and bundled me up.

After a while, that experience faded away, and I thought about how my life is hidden with Christ. I often meditate on this. Sometimes when I do, it's like I'm leaning on a door and the door swings open and I don't know it by faith, I know it in some other way.

It was like that last night; it was like the door swung open and I felt myself in His arms, on His lap, bundled up with Him.

"Jesus!" I cried with joy. "I love You! And I love this!"

Always, He said, smiling. He didn't have to say anything more- I knew exactly what He meant by that one word. I am always with Him like that, whether or not I know it in some other way, whether or not I can "feel" it or sense it.

And then the door closed or... I can't describe. I don't know what happens or how it happens. I have no idea.


To the same friend on July 17, 2013-

After I wrote to you that last e-mail, I myself began to wondering why on earth Jesus enjoys resting as much as He does. Last night, He was full of love and we were caught up in love and afterward He settled in to rest, and then, I remembered my question.

 "Why do You rest so much?" I asked Him.

He reminded me that He rested after creation. I thought, what other act was so great that a rest would come after it and of course, I thought of His crucifixion and resurrection. That was also an act of creation and it is finished- it's a finished act. So Jesus naturally wants to rest in His finished work- which is us.

"But I'm not finished," I objected. "I'm still being built up and refined- I'm still growing up in You."

But He said that was something different- the natural upspring of the new life in Him and that wasn't work so much as it was living- like the natural growth of a living branch rooted in Him. But in His eyes, I'm already a new creation. But more than a creation- His work was much more personal to Him, as we know!

We're already washed- we've become His own righteousness, a part of His glory, His own flesh and blood. He wants to be near us and to delight in us and to rest in His love for us.

That verse- Zephaniah 3:17 that I quoted on one of my blogs, in another translation- the Amplified version- it reads like this:

"The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing."


He was resting with me and despite the quiet rustling of leaves outside and the peace, I was thinking instead about my faulty character- probably pride or resentment.

“Oh, Jesus,” I confessed with a sigh. “I’m afraid I’ve gotten in this horrible tangle...”

Shhhhh, He said, so firmly, so loving, without even lifting His head, and before I could finish.

And what could I do? I could obey Jesus, accept His forgiveness and grace, and release my self-judgment and thereby sink back down into peace with Him, and abide.

Or I could disobey Jesus and carry on with my self-judgment and sink myself down into guilt, shame and feelings of helplessness, as I tried to wrestle with my short comings, refusing to enter His rest.

So I let it go, which was simply delightful, because that was obedience. He smiled without even opening His eyes and we sunk back down into peace.


And in the passage above he refers to “my rest” as something already in existence. No, it is clear that some were intended to experience this rest and, since the previous hearers of the message failed to attain to it because they would not believe God, he proclaims a further opportunity when he says through David, many years later, “today”, just as he had said “today” before. ‘Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’.

For if Joshua had given them the rest, we should not find God saying, at a much later date, “today”. There still exists, therefore, a full and complete rest for the people of God. And he who experiences his real rest is resting from his own work as fully as God from his.

Let us then be eager to know this rest for ourselves, and let us beware that no one misses it through falling into the same kind of unbelief as those we have mentioned. For the Word that God speaks is alive and active; it cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword: it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet, to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being: it exposes the very thoughts and motives of a man’s heart. No creature has any cover from the sight of God; everything lies naked and exposed before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Seeing that we have a great High Priest who has entered the inmost Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our faith. For we have no superhuman High Priest to whom our weaknesses are unintelligible—he himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that he never sinned.

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.

-Hebrews 4:6-16


Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

-Blessed Assurance, by Frances J. Crosby