You Never Belonged

So I had the most wonderful conversation with Jesus Christ recently. I hadn’t felt His presence in what seemed like eons. I had decided to push on in prayer, through sheer force of will, and just hope for the intimacy to be restored — it feels like walking through hot smoke and ice water when I can’t feel my Lord near me.
I don’t know what caused him to show up out of the blue, one afternoon. But I had recently gone through a huge personal struggle about being upset with my status at work, and ultimately, consulted the scriptures and decided to pursue humility. If I were to guess, it was this conscious decision that brought my Lord near me, as humility always brings God closer to us (Micah 6:8; James 4:6-8; Psalm 34:18, 51:17-18, 149:4; 1 Peter 3:3-4, 5:6; Phillipians 2:3-9; Isaiah 66:1-2; Luke 14:11; Proverbs 3:34; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Or perhaps it was just my continued wanting him (James 4:8, Jeremiah 29:13). But it’s not mine to know: we “walk by faith, not sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
At the particular moment he came to me, I was praying and  struggling with some very unhappy things in my heart. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself standing alone. Then Jesus approached me, and wrapped his arms tightly around my shoulders, resting his head against mine, my face against his shoulder. He gave me a moment of quiet, then broke the silence in a gentle but assured voice:
“I know that you feel like you’ve never belonged anywhere,” he said, slowly. “But you do — you belong here, you belong with me. I want you here with me, forever, every time you wake up, every time you go to sleep.”
Then he quoted to me from John 14:20: “On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” And it struck me for the first time that, this wonderful man whom I admired and loved so much – I was actually a part of Him. I had always understood that Christ was in me – a piece of his heart metaphorically beating in my chest – but I had never, ever thought about, that was a part of him.
I was in Him – who I was, in some small way, contributed to who He was. He let that sink in, with an equally amazing idea that I really did have a job to do for the Kingdom of God, that I really was chosen for a reason and tasked to maintain some crucial role in the will of Jesus Christ and His goals here on the Earth, a “member of His body,” as Paul described it. And Jesus said to me, in my mind’s eye, “you belong with me, here, forever.” He emphasized this last part: “and you are exactly the person I wanted.” I was elated. I could not think of a kinder commission he could have spoken over me. I’m still reeling, weeks later.
Forget sin, forget failure, all that is behind us now. As far as my Lord is concerned, I have always been, and always will be, the one who fills a tiny hole in His heart, the lost sheep so crucial that He’d leave everything behind to redeem me.
God bless, and have a good weekend.
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Rededicating My Life to Christ (or: Pursuing the Humility of the Cross)

As I spoke about in the entries “Positive Responses” and “Put a Ring On It“, I just returned to Prayer Lake. It was a similiarly miraculous experience, complete with my familiar fear of intimacy, the beckoning of the Spirit of God, and the simple, overwhelming joy of being His. At the end of the weekend, I rededicated my life to Christ. I know that will surprise some people – I hadnt left the faith, after all – but I had realized, deep down, that Jesus was no longer the motive of my life, the husband of my soul. I re-read the centuries-old book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (about $5 on Amazon) – a book that had a profound impact on my early faith. I found myself craving that simple, whole-hearted surrender of those first days, and I decided, for the second time in my life, to put aside all selfish ambition and offer myself wholey over to love, over to God, my body a living sacrifice. I decided that, if it makes me sound foolish in front of others; if it costs me opportunities; if it puts my life on a different track than I wanted it to be; that I would still steadfastly follow Christ, looking directly into His eyes, following not my own life but rather the Love of my Life.

In this vein I often think of the words Jesus spoke through the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 50:4-9. If you haven’t read it, it’s an amazing passage. It’s Jesus speaking in first person about how His relationship with God helped Him to endure such scorn and humiliation in his death. To expand on His words, He understood that His walk – as with all believers – was a walk before God, not man.

I feel beckoned by that humility. Perhaps I could accomplish great things in a different life path, if I followed my own ambitions over God’s. But if it is not the path God carved out for me, it’s not the path I want.

I am surprised by how much the first days of this “starting over” have resembled the first days of my faith. As with the first time I dedicated my life to Christ, each day brings a greater understanding of what a profound change it all is. I’m feeling redirection, a sense that many things I previously deemed “good”, I now deem worthless, for the sake of the Cross. And there are many things I need to lay aside, as a sacrifice to Love.

I’m starting to realize this decision could cost me a great deal, making my life potentially more difficult than the plans I had previously made. But then… there’s love. None of these potential difficulties happen in a vacuum. As I decide these things in my mind, there is a wonderful God of Kindness to surround, carry, precede, follow, and fill me.

Many times this week I have found myself thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?” I am plagued by unimaginable happiness – terrified, overjoyed, and overwhelmed.

I know that I am heading for a harder but happier “happily ever after,” a better one than I could have written for myself.

 

God bless you all, and have a good weekend.

 

Sincerely,
Morgan Grace Hart

 

Link to Prayer Lake: http://www.prayerlake.org/

Scripture references:

For those who would like to learn about pursuing their own walk with Jesus, I recommend visiting peacewithgod.net.

The Man Who Cut Himself

For the brief story we have of the man called “Legion” (we never learn his real name, just the name that the demons invading him were calling themselves), one of the things that sticks out to me is that the man was a cutter, and apparently very depressed as well. I see a lot of Bible quotes being posted on the internet lately, and I wanted to add my own: hope for the cutters and the weepers of the world, that there is a cleaner, saner, better person inside of them, waiting to be uncovered in the presence of Jesus Christ, to be seen by others as a sign of His grace.

God Bless, and Have a Good Weekend.

-Morgan Hart

 

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