Words Fail Me

I think that we are all a bit shell-shocked from how the world seems to have shifted again in the last year. Like the frog that is enjoying its warm bath, the fact that the water is now boiling seems to have come as a surprise. However, the anger, racism, divisions, and mudslinging have been here all along; I believe many have just been comfortable with its levels until it went up another notch.

Words fail me these days, but I pray actions do not. Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed that “Judgement passed on another man always presupposes disunion with him; it is an obstacle to action. But the good of which Jesus speaks consists entirely in action and not judgement. Judging the other man always means a break in one’s activity. The man who judges never acts himself; or, alternatively, whatever action of his own he may be able to show, and sometimes indeed there is plenty of it, is never more than judgement, condemnation, reproaches and accusations against another man” (Ethics, 1955) These are the motives and the fruit of the Pharisee. I am often guilty of this, and I know that I am not alone.

These days, I have returned to the Sermon on the Mount, where I hope to be a listener again. I pray to be an ever-changing person; sanctified by grace, as I gaze, by faith, into the never changing face of Jesus Christ – as His heart overtakes mine until our hearts are so intertwined that I can breathe “the Beloved is mine, and I am His” (Song of Songs 2:16; 6:3).

In this place, I see that:
He pursued, when I was running away.
He has been gentle, when I was stubborn.
He has spoken, when I was silent.
He acted, when I was passive.
He loved me, when I was unlovable.
He reconciled me to the Father, and my heart began to beat for the first time.

Within the Sermon on the Mount, I have pressed into Lord’s Prayer. I often do not know how to pray. Jesus knew our proclivity to pray long prayers. Ironically, we have made this prayer into a series of prayers, forgetting the preface where Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. [Therefore] Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:7-13 Emphasis & Brackets added)

Prayers will become actions, and actions will become prayers. But there are pieces of this world that will continue broken and disappointed until all things have finally been reconciled to the Father, by making peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20).

Life is a vapor

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

I had adopted this as my “life verse” in my final year at Bible College. One, I thought it seemed hard core, and two, I really meant it. God’s love had so radically grabbed my heart, that I knew this life didn’t matter as much in length as it does in content. I didn’t know what would happen roughly four years later.

This time last year I went into the hospital with extreme hip pain that had then spread to my whole body. I could barely walk or dress myself. I kept saying I would go to the hospital in another day or two, really praying and hoping things would get better. My friends intervened and took me to the hospital. The last thing I remember until they induced me into a coma for about a week was eating a hummas plate with my friend in the hospital bed.

All of my vital organs started to shut down. What none of us knew at that point was that I had blood poisoning. I remember suffocating, then thinking I had died. Back in the hospital room they had put me on a breathing tube and induced me in a coma. I won’t go into all of the dreams, but I dreamt I was no longer in this world. Much of my dreams were affected by what my body was experiencing in that hospital room. I do remember thinking that all of my dreams were not really heaven because I kept saying, “There will be no more pain and no more tears, and it will be all about Jesus”, and my succession of dreams were not these things.

When I awoke and began to realize that I indeed was still alive, it took me a while to sort through those dreams.

I wanted to come through this experience with all new goals. I would live my life to the fullest! Health began to return, I began to walk again, to gain back the 30 pounds that I had lost, the memories of the event began to fade like a bad dream – one I learned a lot from and grew in my relationship with God in, but hard to say the least.

I am reminded of the simple truth in those dreams – it is all about Jesus and the gospel. It is about loving God with your whole heart, soul mind and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:37-40) It is about turning the other cheek, because life is too short, and sometimes shorter than we think. It is about reconciling with one another along the way, and never going to bed angry. Life is tough enough without reciprocation and perpetuating hurt. Jesus came so that he could share in our suffering and take on our hurt. (Isaiah 53:4-5) Life is about Jesus, what He has done, and how He has called us to love Him and one another.

Christian sister, gospel yourself, life is too short and God’s love too precious to ignore and too contagious not to share. We need Jesus through the gospel, and we need one another. Share the good news in word and deed with a coworker, family member or friend, tell your husband and babies (where applicable) that you love them, and show them that you do. Tell a friend how much you appreciate them, give love, because that is what Jesus gave to you to the point of giving His life. Jesus did not live a long life on earth as a human, but He made a way for those who have faith in Him to live eternally to know the Father and the Son. (John 17:3)

Truth: The Sermon on the Mount – Matt. 5-7 (This is a longer one but if you have not read it in awhile, now is as good a time as any)