Sometime I am going to write about why I quit writing, but I am still looking for the right combination of words.
The thing I have been wrestling with the past couple of weeks is probably, more or less, a broad summary anyway.
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them,"Go and tell John what you hear and see:The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." (ESV)
I remember someone saying in passing, maybe a sermon, that what was meant by offended was that people's expectation of Jesus (Messiah) coming was likely so different than how He did show up that they were suprised by, confused by, or disappointed in it.
I think this is where I have been for awhile - confused by and a little disappointed in the way some things have unfolded. (I am not sure you can get to middle-age with half a thought and not feel that way, honestly). The "why?" place.
So what would "not being offended" look like? That has been my question to myself.
I think it would look like trusting in His goodness with faith that His working it out is going to be "more than I can ask or imagine" (Ephes. 3:20). It would look like, even in those places where no healing has yet appeared to have begun, the places I am imprisoned myself, knowing that He will in His perfect time and way redeem those too.
This is hard. There are places that are dry, places that feel like no rain has touched in years, places where I have prayed for it, but no healing has come.
I think THIS might be, however, the truest test of faith:
Can you believe? Believe I am good. Believe I am for you. Believe I am in control while you are confused and disappointed, while things do not look good?
Can you experience the "not yet" of this life, the delay, the clouds and rain, without becoming bittter?
Can you be John the Baptist in prison?
Can you be Paul with the unhealed thorn in the flesh? (2 Cor 12:1-12)
Because if you can,
you can be called the "greatest born to a woman" (Matt 11:11)
and you can have a ministry and words that reach people for nearly 2000 years (Paul's epistles)
If you trust ME, stone walls fall (Joshua 6:20)
If you trust and obey ME, your family survives although the flood waters rise all around you (Gen 6:13-22)
If you trust ME, you will be able to participate in conceiving things as far reaching in number of generations as stars in the Heavens (Gen 17:19)
If you trust ME, there will be a lamb in the thicket - a lamb you did not have to raise, or purchase, or even carry up the hill to the altar. (Gen 22:13)
But to do so is no easy task.
Life brings plenty of reasons to think that He didn't show up. Sometimes those reasons come one after another, as relentless as the waves in the ocean.
But I think my heart is beginning to hear the voice of God.
I think He is saying:
Look for the Lamb.
" ... Behold the the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
"Worthy is the Lamb ..."