The Cross

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It’s been so since long I have been here. My heart was injured but slowly healing. The past three years have been the most intense and difficult of my life. Loss and illness, sadness and frustration filled it and I needed time to process that and figure out how to keep moving. Battle weary, but not worn down I had to guard my heart for a season. I think I forgot how to do this blog thing in the process so this may be a jumbled mess. I apologize for that, but it’s at the least an exercise of opening my heart a little again.

In this season of my life I found myself pondering some strange things.  Well strange to most people probably.  I wondered what life would really be like if all of your comforts in life were taken away? I thought about why so many people I know are comfortable…cozy in homes with two car garages and plenty to eat, full of toys and Bluetooth and happy families.  Work all week and church on Sunday if you are a Christian, or a weekend full of honey-do lists and fun,  maybe a trip to a theme park or the beach. The occasional tragedy and hard times that we all face but even after life often goes back to trying to grasp that sense of comfort and normalcy again.   Vanity of all vanities as the very comfortable King Solomon would say.  Some people are born into abject poverty or chaos,  in one way or another much less comfortable circumstances.  Age old questions I guess and I  don’t have any answers, but  I still find myself mulling them over once in a while.  This story caused me to really stop and think about riches in this earthly kingdom, and far greater things  in the one to come http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/10/meriam-ibrahims-brother-in-law-brutal-pre-execution-flogging-will-take-her-skin-off/

I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who never really had a lot of money or luxury, but in a providence only God understands was asked to give up her comforts, most of her family and nearly her own life for the cause of Christ in the Holocaust.  I am so guilty of scanning social media, comparing myself to friends and wondering why I am less comfortable than them when in fact I am rich compared to most of the planet, and spiritually rich beyond all measure. God forgive this sinner for her discontent! Comfort, ease and a false sense of security are lures to my flesh and I know so much better than to even think they might make living temporarily better.  I don’t know a whole lot but in these past few years I have learned that  no matter the mood or circumstance I can lift my eyes to Christ, trusting that my heart will follow soon when I read His word and believe and contentment and joy flood my soul. What a gift we have Christian Brothers and Sisters! Like Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians  I can say “ for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content”.   God’s promises are eternal, never fading and they are available to the most comfortable of us and the least.

I am going to quit yapping….Martyn Lloyd-Jones got me started and now I will let his words finish this. 

 

“To whom does the invitation of this cross come?  It comes to the failures, the people who know they have gone wrong, the people who are filled with a sense of shame, the people who are weary and tired and forlorn in the struggle. . . .

Do you despise yourself, kick yourself metaphorically, and feel you are no good?  Weary, forlorn, tired, and on top of it all, sad and miserable?  Nothing can comfort you.  The pleasures of the world mock you.  They do not give you anything.  Life has disappointed you, and you are sad, miserable and unhappy, and on top if it all, you have a sense of guilt within you.  Your conscience nags at you, condemns, raises up your past and puts it before you, and you know that you are unworthy, you know that you are a failure, you know that there is no excuse, you are guilty. . . .

And then on top of all this, you are filled with a sense of fear.  You are afraid of life, you are afraid of yourself and your own weakness, you are afraid of tomorrow.  You are afraid of death, you know it is coming and you can do nothing about it, but you are afraid of it. . . .

This is the amazing thing about the cross.  It comes to such a person, and it is to such a person above all others that it brings its gracious and its glorious invitation.   What does it say to you? . . . You are not far off, and the cross speaks to you with sympathy.  That man dying on that cross was known as the friend of sinners.  He was reviled by the good and the religious because he sat down and ate and drank with sinners.  He had sympathy. . . .

Not only that, he will tell you that he is ready to accept you.

The world picks up its skirt and passes by.  It leaves you alone, it does not want to associate with you, you have gone down, you belong to the gutters, and the world is too respectable to have any interest in you.  Here is one who is ready to receive you and to accept you. . . . Sit down, he says.  Wait, stop, give up your activities.  Just as you are, I am ready to receive you.  In your rags, in your filth, in your vileness.  Rest.

What else?  Pardon.  The cross speaks of benediction, of pardon, joy and peace with God.  It tells you that God is ready to forgive you.  It says, listen to me, your sin has been punished.  I am here because this is the punishment of sin.  Listen to me, says the blood of sprinkling.  I have been shed that you might be forgiven, pardoned, at peace with God.  Oh, thank God, there is also cleansing here.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross (Wheaton, 1986), pages 168-170.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “The Cross

  1. Teresa

    I was praying you would read this <3

  2. Lorena

    Teresa, thank you for sharing this writing and your heart. I’m so glad I was able to read this, Sister. <3

  3. Teresa

    Thank you Lorena, your friendship is such a comfort and a blessing to me my Sister!!! <3

  4. Ruth

    Amen, amen, Teresa. And what you’ve found yourself pondering isn’t strange – not at all!

    As hard as the hardest trials may be, as they do indeed differ for one saint from another as God has ordained: they are all expressions of God’s love, his compassion and mercy for those who are his. It’s only because Christ went to the cross, paid our ransom and rose again that we endure these trials as God’s beloved children May he continue to refine you, making you even more precious in his sight than you already are, as he hones your eternal perspective and reliance on him, until that day, sister, when you receive the crown of life and eternity with him to his ultimate glory!.Praising God for the work he’s doing in your heart and in your life. <3

    "But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." Job 23:10

    • Teresa

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words Ruth! You have a gift in that department and it’s a such a blessing <3

  5. I’ts nice to see you writing on your blog. I’m so sorry you have had such a hard few years, I can surely relate but for different reasons. Please know you are never alone, you are loved and thought of often and Jesus is always right by your side. Even though I don’t get to spend much time with you or talk to you very often with my crazy life, I think of you every day!

    I know it’s hard to see others lives played out on social media and feel like “less than”, but we only see what’s on the surface. At first glance a family can look like they have it all, they can be the picture of perfection until you dig a little deeper and you find that they also have their trials and heartaches, loneliness and insecurity, sickness and pain. Everyone feels these things sometimes, we just have to focus on how good God has been to us even if our salvation is the only thing we have to be thankful for in a really bad day or season, it’s still everything and it’s still all that really matters. Because without Jesus and his saving grace we could have the whole world and still have nothing. I love you, I’m praying for you and keep up the writing!

  6. Teresa

    Thank you so much Dana, if anyone knows how hard the blows of life can be it’s you. And also that God sustains, even uses all of it. Romans 8:28 is in the Bible for a reason. I love you and thank you so much for the encouragement! xoxoxoxo

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