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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Friday, February 27, 2009

Die To Live

Without death there can be no resurrection. Death happens so life can be brought forth right???? The only miracle that truly separates Jesus from all others of any kind of claim to Deity is His resurrection from death!!!! Death is called the enemy from the very beginning, sin is what caused death and sin resulted in separation, shame and guilt. Death was never meant to be welcomed, it robs us of loved ones and of our own existence. No wonder it is so often ignored as far as any discussion goes. Jesus overcomes death and makes it a nonissue. This is the heart of the Gospel and Gods character being Love as He made Himself die for all of us so he could rescue us from ourselves.

I know this to be true and always rely on it deeply and ultimately. I have the hardship of experiencing it in a practical sense as i have spoken of. I was drawn by a post i saw on another blog, where she spoke of her own struggle to take in the truth of God being Love. I have been one to hold things inside always. I always wanted to avoid causing worry or trouble for anyone by letting my *stuff* out. I think I became a good actor because of this way of handling stress and problems. problem is instead of a safe harbor it becomes a self-imposed prison where you hide yourself and feel unable to face true reality. This may be why as i posed the question in a rhetorical fashion that I don't *get it* as far as overcoming fear and death. I had thoughts come to mind of why death felt scary to me,why all the images of it were ones of pain loss and hurt. Part of that is losing my father. Part also is just selfcenteredness focused on deaths impact upon me as opposed to Gods having taken carfe of it. Somehow at my deepest level a message of God expecting certain behavior and action took hold and has stayed inside despite my knowledge having become so acute.


Life is a battle of the Spirit vs the flesh. Being able to forgive ourselves is equally as important as forgiving our neighbors. I have always found this very hard. For some reason I have kept this unspoken rule inside that i cannot get off easy but part of me rebels against that thinking and thus the circle of feeling afraid of some form of severe suffering, then saying its ok i am human then back to the yes but i should be stronger and on and on. How to relax and rest in His love and grace when I have focus on myself so much??? Nothing i ever do can make God love me any more or any less but I took in a message that says God will punish if your bad like santa saying you better not cry better not pout be a good boy always if you want santa to give you presents. Only with God the presents are His peace love and joy that stay inside More soon!!!

4 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Aphra said...

Thank you for sharing this- lots of good thoughts.

When I talked to my mother about becoming a Christian she said she could not because she could not believe that God would love HER. This was years ago. She is still stuck there. Sad :(

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous mariam said...

When I was an atheist I didn't worry about death much. I saw it as part of life and I had an earth-mother, new-age sort of view of the circle of life. Ok, I didn't want to die today or tomorrow, but if it happened, it happened. I didn't really fear death. Or so I thought. I wasn't afraid of my own death. I didn't fear death until I was faced with the possibility of losing my child - not only losing her to death, but losing her to madness and suicide. Then I developed what I can only describe as an overwhelming superstition or fear of the afterlife - which I had previously never really believed in. I believed that if my daughter killed herself she might remain in torment forever - that her soul would be "stuck" in her current anguish and pain, for ever. I cannot tell you how desperate I was to keep her alive - engaging in very counter-productive behaviours. Her counsellors, my counsellors, friends and family said I had to let go because I think they sensed how far I was swimming out to save her and that I was going to drown as well. I felt that if she died I alone would be responsible for her death and eternal torment. God did not figure into the picture at this point. I just feared a sort of dark spirit world - where tormented souls cried out for rescue that never came. I even thought that if my daughter killed herself I would have to take my own life, so she wouldn't be alone on the other side.

I had been going to church, saying the evening and compline offices in the Common Book of prayer and reading the BIble, even though at this point I didn't believe in God (you've probably heard me mention this on Gary's blog). Why Anglican? It isn't the first place people in North America usually go to find God but it was where I was led. God moves in mysterious ways. I had this technique of closing my eyes and randomly picking a passage of scripture to read. One night I read the story of Abraham and Isaac, when God calls Abraham to sacrifice his son. I had always thought that a dreadful story as a child - it was one of things that turned me off Christianity. BUt suddenly, as clear as if God was in the room with me, I knew what it meant - to me. God was saying "Give her to me." And it is at that moment that I really made my leap of faith. I was able to take that leap because I decided that God could be trusted. That whatever happened it would be for the best. If my daughter lived it was because God still had things for her to learn and for us to learn from her story. If she died it was because God had decided she had suffered enough and He would take her soul to Himself, comfort and mend her and make Her whole. That is the God I need to believe in. A God who has put Creation in motion and is still creating - a God who loves us and grieves that parts of creation temporarily feel pain as we are still being birthed - a God who is all-loving and all-forgiving and will put things right in the end - who will explain why we had to suffer when we meet Him face to face, if we haven't yet figured it out. A God who knows we come from dust, from the primal elements, who knows the battles we face against our lower nature - because He created us.
A God who became flesh and dwelled among us and died as we die, so that we could see that death is nothing to fear.
And if I am wrong, if God is really not as good as I believe, if God is really a meglomaniacal tyrant who created us just to torture for his amusement, well how could hell be worse than spending eternity with that sort of deity?

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Aphra- thank you I hope somehow your mom can be led to believe God and Jesus DO love her whether she likes it or not and all her self-torture melts away

mariam- yes i have followed you on garys blog alot always encouraged,enlightened and awed by your story with your daughter. Thank you for sharing so personally and deeply I totally agre with you about if God is as you mentioned at the end then all is vanity like ecclesiastes says and we may as well party till we are smited. ugh my struggle is so very much emotional but it also is relational I hold back inside myself sao much because of ways i have been hurt and dont want to be hurt agin but the hiding is actually worse in the long run you stimulate my hopes and my desire to grow so i hope I can talk through this in days ahead and have you keep sharing as you feel led :)

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger Scot said...

"Life is a battle of the Spirit vs the flesh. Being able to forgive ourselves is equally as important as forgiving our neighbors. I have always found this very hard. For some reason I have kept this unspoken rule inside that i cannot get off easy but part of me rebels against that thinking and thus the circle of feeling afraid of some form of severe suffering, then saying its ok i am human then back to the yes but i should be stronger and on and on. How to relax and rest in His love and grace when I have focus on myself so much??? Nothing i ever do can make God love me any more or any less but I took in a message that says God will punish if your bad like santa saying you better not cry better not pout be a good boy always if you want santa to give you presents. Only with God the presents are His peace love and joy that stay inside More soon!!!"

I am strugling trying to find a balance of living by God's grace and resting in His peace while working out my own salvation with fear and trembling. Surely, there is a healthy balance that fills us with joy unspeakable while obeying the direction of the Holy Spirit, and after we fall, immediately crawling back into the loving arms of Jesus and letting His indescribable grace flow through us. I have found serving others takes my mind off of myself while filling my heart with joy unspeakable, and Jesus himself said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Robert, I thank God for calling you to His kingdom. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. May God continue to bless you richly. Amen!

 

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