It is easy to despise our brokenness…or to become all too familiar with its presence that we are desensitized to the damage in wreaks in our lives and the lives of those we love. But, as a believer, that very inner turmoil we so quickly try to pacify, can be the very thing that the Lord uses to draw us closer to Him as he illuminates the falseness of that which we have come to accept as just our “thorn in the flesh”….the sin to which we cling so dear!
In times of struggle, I find myself gravitating to a little book by Francois Fenelon – a Christian mystic from the late 1600’s. The book is a collection of letters exchanged with a friend and have served as a source of encouragement during dark times. As I read this recently, I thought about the courage it takes to show up to a Marked Men Soul Group each week with the intention of “doing work” – unpacking a slice of your brokenness before other men who, in all their own frailty, usher us into the throne room of Grace to allow the man to be present to the healing power of the Holy Spirit. These words speak to that work:
“I am truly sorry for your troubles but I know God is working on your behalf. God loves you and therefore He does not spare you! He lays on you the cross of Jesus Christ. Whatever revelations you receive or whatever emotional experiences you have are worthless unless they lead you to the very real and constant practice of dying to your self-nature. Unfortunately, one cannot die without suffering, nor can you be said to be fully dead while part of you still lives.
The death that God brings you will pierce deep within – soul and spirit will be divided. He sees in you all that you cannot see! He knows exactly where the fatal blows should fall. He heads straight for that which you are most reluctant to give up. Pain is only felt where there is life and in this situation, life is precisely where death is needed….He seeks to destroy our old nature….volunteer for your own death for God will only accomplish His work to the extent that you let Him. Do not push away the progress that God wants to make in your life….surrender to His plans and allow yourself to be led where He wants to take you”
Friends, as difficult as it is in times of great struggle and lament….cooperate with God. His ways are higher than our ways and to resist that which He is trying to change in you is to only prolong its effects. Allow the tenderness of Love Himself to speak and then…simply fall into His strong, rescuing arms.