Finally Together

Finally Together

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Running the Race

Isa 40:31 (NIV) But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

While Vitaliy was in the orphanage we noticed that although Brandon and I were welcomed warmly each time by him, that he was much more interested in what we brought to entertain him.  As we looked on at our new son, as he ignored us, I started to meditate on what this looks like in my life.  God has always been there, calling me, gently prodding me to experience His complete grace and mercy and for years I held up my hand in His face and demanded that if he treated me kindly by cleaning up all the things in my life that I thought was unfair and uncomfortable that I would then give Him some attention.  At one point, a long story in itself, I fell deeply into His open arms and embraced all that He was.  Even after that life altering experience, I still find myself being much more involved in things that have nothing to do with the gospel.  And I put up my hand again in God’s face and say, “Not now God, can’t you see that I am busy? Don’t you understand that if you gave me the things I want that I would be able to spend more time with you?”. God repeatedly tells us that He is ALL we need, but we doubt this on every turn.  God says I am your supply, your strength, your hope.  
I see myself in my angry son.  I see it in the way he rejects me.  Fearful if I, like all the others, will get tired of him and turn away.  I see me in the way he gets so frustrated when I try to restrain his wants for his needs.  I see me in the way he sneaks to obtain things he wants because he doesn’t trust me to actually provide what he needs.  I see me in the way he lies, trying to protect a wall and identity without  the humbleness to accept himself as he is.  I see me in the way he sometimes smiles and snuggles in, hoping that maybe this isn’t really a fantasy but that there is someone that can love him unconditionally. 

This is the race that God has laid out for our family.  He paved the way, He has provided the means, He will never leave or forsake us. 

I am constantly reminded of Luke 9:23-25 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?" 
Those who do not follow Christ as Lord and Savior, look at us and see that this is foolishness.  Why would we want to take this thorny, troubled path when the one we were on was so nice?  Why? because, I can not reflect the love and sacrifice of Savior if I refuse to take up my own cross.  This is not a means of self-mutilation but a coming to a greater reality of who Jesus is and a freer life to life without the burdens of my own ugliness.  I have sin, ever crouching at the door, and I need a reminder of what I am like unrestrained.  As followers of Christ we can easily be lured into the “I have arrived” mentality.  My life is cleaned up now, I go to church, I don’t smoke, I don’t curse, (most of the time), I know how to dress, walk, and talk like a Christian; but as I have been reading through 2 Chronicles, the major theme is kings of Judah who walked in the ways of the Lord, only to become strong and proud and fall so far from God.  So far, that they are not even allowed to be buried in the royal cemetaries.  God is giving me grace and mercy by bringing Vitaliy in my life so that I can see that it is never by my own strength that I can carry on living a life for him.  Only complete and utter dependence on Him everyday keeps me in a proper position to receive the reward promised to all true believers. 
I praise God’s love for me and for Vitaliy.  It is a beautiful thing to watch the grace effect played out before my own eyes. 
Eph 1:18-20  And this is my prayer... that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you--the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians--and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead...

1 comment:

  1. Amen, my friend. Amen. Such sweet sacrifice it is to come alongside the broken only to see your the one whose really broken... Your words rang familiar in my own heart... I'm so thankful for you and Brandon and thankful you both, like Jeff and I, are walking this road with us and seeing God ever more through it all.