Dec 2, 2013

What IT looks like

His countenance calmly matter of fact, he glided the information seamlessly into the middle of conversation  - the casual convo about where we might have lunch.  It. Was. A. Bomb. Yet he never skipped a beat.  Astonished, I studied his expression  – was he joking? No, I think not as it wasn’t a topic one would joke about.  The most devastating of news that a parent could receive had been delivered 6 months prior, the reality of which he and his family were walking through daily, with grim statistics staring them in the face.  Yes, we would eat Mexican, we decided.
 
Have you seen it?  It is so beautifully obvious and strangely contrary to that which seems normal.  It is beyond explanation.  It is astonishing and marvelous.  It is divine.   It allows for one to be hugely upset while serenely restful.  It is the marriage of peace that passes understanding with absolute trust in God’s sovereignty.  It is faith at its finest wrapped in heavenly hope.  It is the aroma of Christ displayed for maximum glory in the context of total brokenness.  It is being defined not by the devastating  nor swayed by the circumstances.

 I long to be clothed in it because it brings such glory to God to wear His peace, yet the very essence of it is that it can only truly be revealed through the context of  grief.  Human grief is the best showcase for divine peace.  I can’t help but think of Job, whose very affliction arose out of God’s total confidence in Job’s character, reverent and righteous, and it was because of this that God allowed Satan to afflict him.  God was confident that circumstances – losing home, livestock, servants, sons and daughters, relationships, health – would not move Job away from Him, and in fact, these situations did not and Job continued to praise and trust.   Dare I desire to wear this garment of peace knowing that truly the only way for it to shine so bright is with the backdrop of loss of some kind?

The thing is . . . when you have seen it face to face, witnessed it on someone else, and rubbed elbows with it, you can’t HELP but want it.

In a later conversation, knowing that it was Christ in him that could only illicit such a fragrant response to a more than difficult situation, but wanting to hear his own words, I asked our friend, “How is it that you are so matter of fact and oddly peaceful? “ He responded, “ I am hugely upset, but I won’t let this define us.  Every day we will do what is right, and in the end it still may not end well, but we will know that we have honored the Lord.”  Yes, indeed.  I want it. How about you? 

We live in a fallen world, so tests of faith are not always the result of God lowering His hedge of protection, thrusting us out into the frying pan of faith’s fire- such as it was with Job.  Regardless of the root of life’s circumstances, our response is to be

 “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5: 16 -18


This is how those that are confident of His love and have the conviction of His care are able to be clothed in peace, even when the devastating reality is harsh. This is what the peace of Christ looks like.

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