A lot has gone on since my last post about a month ago. I’ll use subheadings to guide my train of thought…
What can I say? The Lord answers prayers. I sometimes half-warn myself, “Be careful what you pray for”, because the Lord takes prayers seriously — whether or not we meant them seriously. Prayers such as
My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
’Tis His to lead me there—not mine, but His—
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
(full hymn here)
will cost us. The prayers I had been praying since September have cost me my pride and self-esteem, my hopes and expectations, my self-reliance and Egyptian resources. It was hard — and still is. I still need the post I wrote a while back to be more real to me than ever:
…a privilege untold
is to be His at any price…
The Lord needs age-turners. That’s why He cannot let a single genuinely consecrated young person go. Sometimes I begrudge Him for always getting what He wants (see my post from September). But, after all, that’s what the deepest part of my being wants too.
If His need is the motivation, His sovereignty is the procedure. I felt very distinctly that the news on May 8 was of the Lord’s sovereignty. The human tendency is to explain it away (my dad, for instance, tried to convince me of certain rather absurd explanations). But bottom line is, when I prayed, “Lord, You work it out”, He did.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
I told the Lord that I was afraid of a certain outcome because I feared not being able to remain faithful to Him. He knew my faithlessness, so He was faithful all the more to not allow me to be tempted beyond what I was able (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Saved in the Body
My heart broke on May 8 in more ways than one. I had to turn to the Body.
For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19).
The supply followed.
It was all over international news, so I won’t elaborate on the details, but the Lord really is kind of funny sometimes. Certainly He has a tailor-made lesson for each brother and sister through this event, but for me the lesson was doubly reinforced in being so closely timed with May 8. The lesson consisted of these:
Destroy this temple…
John 2:19 refers to the temple of Christ’s physical body (v. 21), with “In three days I will raise it up” indicating the producing of the His spiritual Body in resurrection. The physical destruction on May 7 was a reminder that God is after a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). Perhaps we’ve been so caught up with the things seen that He had to so drastically turn us to the things unseen — which are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So My ways are higher than your ways,
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
God has His ways of getting the spiritual house He desires, and His ways are simply not our ways (v. 8). We may see God’s acts, but do we know His ways? (Psalm 103:7). We must not stop at worshiping God — we must also worship His ways. (Read the booklet on this).
I was touched afresh by Paul’s word in Romans 9:
…O man, who are you who answer back to God? Shall the thing molded say to him who molded it, Why did you make me thus? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay…? (vv. 22-21a)
Who are we to ask, “Why, Lord?”? He has the authority, the right, the prerogative. Our part is only to praise and worship Him for His mercy, for
…it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (v. 16)
After a 75-minute phone call, I finally got the point: the outward things mean nothing. If I make it to the FTTA without the intrinsic reality of being a priest, I and God profit nothing. If I’m not able to go, yet daily live the priest’s life by drawing near to God, touching the throne of grace, opening to God, allowing the water of life to flow unto the building up of the church, I and God profit much.
God as the Father
I was reminded of a passage I read in brother Nee’s The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Chapter 6. God demands that we hold to Himself and nothing else: nothing material, nothing fleshly (portrayed by Ishmael), but also nothing spiritual — not even the promised “Isaac”. Before and after Isaac was born, God was the Father. The gifts He gives are not the source, the experiences He grants are not the source, even the things He speaks are not the source. God the Father alone is the source. We must be related directly to the Father.
So by the time my graduation ceremony (“congregation”, as UBC calls it) rolled around, the door had fully opened for me to go to one year of the FTTA. The ceremony was too long (I was procession number 366) and too short (I was on stage for ca. 7 seconds),
but it was a good opportunity for my parents to meet my companions (aka Christian Students at UBC) and a time to stop and worship the Lord for His faithfulness in bringing me through these 4 years. To Him be the glory!