Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Soul's Delight: Finding Treasure in the Field of Suffering

"Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” (Song of Songs 5:16)

Nearly all my life I’ve wanted to be married. Not only that, but I wanted to get married young and have a whole string of little ones to raise. Well, here I am, 31, and not a prospect in sight! This has been an area of suffering for me, and the Lord tested my devotion to Him rather severely in the recent past. But, as extremely difficult as that season was, I have come out with something so valuable, that I really would go through it all again.

I’ve been a Christian since I was 13; I fell in love with Jesus then and never really looked back. But yet there was so much deeper to go, so much more of this Lord and Savior to know and delight in. The Bible talks about God being everything we need, about Christ being more precious than any other thing. We believe this to a degree. Yet coming to the point where we really, truly believe that so that it utterly consumes us, is another matter. To love Jesus to the point where your soul nearly bubbles over with joy; to the point where you just weep with joy; to the point where truly nothing else matters, that sadly is not the experience of many.

However, it is possible. David writes in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This is not theoretical! It’s real! Yes, it’s spiritual and not physical, but that doesn’t make it any less a reality. In His presence (which really is all the time), there IS fullness of joy, there are pleasures beyond anything this world has to offer. It took a severe disappointment, a hard time of suffering for me to learn this. There may indeed be weeping for a night, but joy does come in the morning (Ps. 30:5). There is a joy and delight to be found in Jesus that comes only when everything else has been stripped away. He indeed can fill the soul with a rapture and delight that is other-worldly.

I have been reading through the Gospel of John recently and was stopped short by a passage I have read probably a hundred times. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and basically asked for His judgment. But Jesus responds by saying “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” At this all the men just walk away. Then the passage says this:

Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one 
condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I 
condemn you; go and sin no more." (John 8:10-11)

To think that Christ, because of His death on the cross, does not condemn me, when He as the Creator of the universe ought to, it beyond amazing! I was nearly overwhelmed by the love of Christ! How glorious to think that He no longer condemns me! Are you amazed by this truth? If you’re not, then you know nothing or very little of God’s love. For how should one respond to such a love as this? How then shall I live? The answer is found in the last part of Jesus response: “go and sin no more”. This is more than going and trying not to sin; it’s much more than legalism. Jesus wants us to delight in Him! He wants us to love Him so freely, so unhindered, because it’s also there that we experience a greater measure if His love for us.

The other night I was in the car and a little song came on that was a love song. At first it only served as a rather painful reminder that I had no man to love me in that way, but then instantly I was reminded that I had a much better Lover. He loves me more than anyone else ever could! He wants my whole life, my whole heart, my whole devotion. This means my thought life, my spare time, my daily life stressors, my relationships with my family and others. All of it, He wants to be the center of every part of my life. Shall I resist Him? This wonderful beautiful Lover of my soul? If you do resist Him (even just in certain areas you are unwilling to fully surrender) what does that say about your response to this love? Can you really look at Christ on the cross and not give up all that you would hold dear?

Friend, Christ is all-sufficient for you! The struggle, the disappointment, the suffering you face is worth it, because on the other side you have the opportunity to know Jesus in a deeper way that you think is possible and let me tell you, it’s worth all the pain. Wait, and He will come to you, He will restore you and give you more joy than you had before. I would do it all again, I would turn away from the dreams I have for my life, and I will be content never getting married, all because He is enough . Unless the Lord so pleases and I meet a man who delights in Jesus as much as I do, there’s no way I’d give up what I’ve gained. I’m not perfect nor have I attained perfection, there will be trials yet ahead I am certain and times I will fail. But I’ve found a treasure hidden in the field of suffering, and He’s worth everything to me.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
(from the hymn, Be Thou My Vision)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading - please feel free to comment! I appreciate your thoughts, encouragement and even differing opinions but please be considerate and respectful in how you express yourself.