It is said that the miracles in the Scriptures contradict the laws of nature, but men forget that they themselves, though they possess only very limited powers, constantly violate the laws of nature.
If you arise in the morning, you overcome the natural law of gravity. When you drive in your car, you oppose the law of inertia. When you split an atom, you break the law of cohesion.
If man contravene these laws, how logical to believe that a higher order of beings–angels, not to mention God Himself–can do things that are impossible for us, just as the scientist can do things that confound an ignorant man.
The inner plight of the poor is simply this: many people may be willing to help you financially or materially, and even help you generously, but after having helped you are more than happy to forget about you.
Of course, many untold thousands, millions, or billions have been happy to ignore the poor from the start.
But the meaning of being “poor”, even in the original language of the Old Testament (Hebrew), had the connotations of “weak, dangling, thin, miserable, etc.”
How many untold multitudes of very eligible single males (and, to a lesser extent, single females) have been overlooked, despised, rejected for their love and virtues, because they were poor? How many untold multitudes of arrogant, cruel, wicked rich men and women have been loved and blessed beyond comprehension simply for being rich?
Jesus told John the Baptist’s followers, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: the lame walk, the blind receive their sight, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the sick are made well, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
I have to admit that when I read that passage to this day my first natural reaction inside of me is still: “… looks like the poor are getting the raw deal again; every other class of afflicted person are changed and healed forever; the poor just get to hear some preaching.”
But that’s a cynical and inaccurate assessment. Truth is, the word “gospel” means “good news”. And GOOD NEWS is, to the poor (who are more accustomed than any other class to hearing and having to accept BAD NEWS), what health is to the sick, or what hearing is to the deaf, or what sight is to the blind, or what walking is to the lame.
What’s more, Jesus wasn’t just referring to any Good News, but to His Good News: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes such promises as “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The rich people of Jesus’s day didn’t get to hear such amazingly good news for them, but instead, things like “Sell all that you have and give to the poor, and then come pick up your cross and follow Me,” or, “How hard it is for the rich to enter into heaven! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”
True, Christ requires all of His followers–rich or poor–to “deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow me,” but for the poor this too will be easier to hear, because it is more likely for them that this is precisely what they have been doing already, their entire lives.
These days I sometimes feel the darts of life shot into my flesh and into my soul. Or I feel like a two-dimensional amoeba, or some squashed and flattened thing, emptied of nearly all qualities and traits except for two: goodness inside me (because of Christ), and evil inside of me (because of myself). I often have beautiful, godly revelations, followed by some gross fall into sin, with no logical link between them.
It is because I am spiritually poor, and for this I have the ever-present hope that God will forgive me and keep accepting His goodness in me, and forgiving the bad which is natural to me.
Something happened to me, years ago, which caused a seemingly irreversible process in my life which continues to do this day. I think it must have something to do with consciousness, awareness, knowledge, experience… beyond which it is impossible to return. The younger and more naive and ignorant I was, the more friends I had, the happier I was socially and in natural terms; but as I grew, gained knowledge and wisdom and experience, and maturity, I’ve found myself more and more alone. (Except for God, of course.)
I watch movies, I see people and situations on TV, I look around at my peers and fellow human beings in all spheres of my natural life, and I am struck by how relatively un-alone they are. To be sure, some are just as alone as me, perhaps even more so. But most of them have boyfriends, girlfriends, buddies and friends, close family members and acquaintances. I am sometimes jealous, but seldom envious I think; not envious, because I do not wish that they be deprived of companionship; jealous, only because I wish that I myself could share in the human love I see around me
At the end of the day, though, I have nothing to complain about. Many of those who’ve wished to become courageous, self-fulfilled, life-exploring “individuals” have had to suffer aloneness as one of the inevitable consequences; the crowd is almost never willing to go along with a a trail-blazer or pioneer, and the more noble or virtuous the quest the more true this has been; for a charismatic mass-murderer or cult-leader like Hitler or Jim Jones many thousands (if not millions) might be willing or happy to tag along; but for saints and prophets, not nearly so often.
I can humbly and truthfully admit that I’ve pursued a saint’s and a prophet’s path. Which saint’s, or which prophet’s? My own. Only my own. I’ve sought the Lord fervently for direction and purpose concerning my own individual life; He has shown me, and part of that which has been shown is the solitary walk and lonely path I am now on, inevitably, as part of my burning love-offering for Him and the vision He gave me.
I see this life often very bleakly, in terms of my natural fortunes or circumstances; what other way, in what other direction, can my life go, other than that one irrevocable direction and path it’s been on all my life–that of increasing proximity to God, but increasing distance from mankind?
For the saint and prophet, aloneness is one of the price-tags for choosing to live a life with God; without God, and you may have all of the pleasures of the world, and all of the people in it, if you wish. But with God, that is no longer possible. Even if you forsake God after having gotten to know Him, you can not happily return to the riches of the world–you will be miserable because of the One whom you once had, and now no longer choose to have.
But though isolation stays or increases in my life, I have a burning hope within me that other isolated and world-estranged saints and prophets like myself will be gathered not only to God, but to other kindred spirits like myself. With God all things are possible, and in God’s presence is fullness of joy, peace, and love. In His presence, faith becomes sight. And in His presence, the world’s despised, forsaken saints and prophets can band together in supernatural harmony and fellowship, forever.
Been identifying with the loneliness of Christ lately.
Maybe not “loneliness”, per se. But aloneness.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the more the greater majority of mankind know about me, the worse it becomes; the less they know about me, the better.
I’ve been dismayed to sense people become estranged from me–and me from them–the more I reveal my inner thoughts and feelings.
This is a universal problem, of course; I know I’m not unique.
But Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, also experienced this, and that is special and significant to me.
In the Gospels, we see Him draw large crowds, early on. People loved Him, flocked to Him, wanted to see His loving, smiling face, and reap all of the innumerable benefits they could from His presence. They wanted to get all they could from Him, the greatest dispenser of blessings they ever knew or would know.
But the more He taught them, and revealed His heart’s desires for them, the more those same crowds dispersed, and people left offended.
Ultimately, He had to ask even His closest friends, “Will you leave also?”
Thankfully, they didn’t. They all stuck with Him, even to the end.
Or, almost until the end…
Because when it was time for Him to make His identification and love for them complete, the powers of darkness had their greatest appearance, and even His closest friends (the 12 disciples) could not stick around. (In fact, one of them sold Him out to those same dark powers, as we know: Judas Iscariot.)
To this day, most people want little or nothing to do with the Man.
Many still draw close to Him but for all the wrong reasons. Many are still leaving Him, offended at His teachings and holy life.
In the Bible, God occasionally speaks of “a remnant” that will believe, that will love Him, that will be faithful to Him.
He is still looking for His Bride. Not “brides”, in the plural, but Bride in the singular.
And I know it’s not because He will only end up having made one true convert, one true faithful follower; but I think the implication of a small loyal group could still be made.
It is the same with almost every human being; we may have many acquaintances–we still meet untold multitudes of other human beings in our lifetime–but only a select precious few know and understand us deep down at the true heart’s level. It is the same with God.
It is the same with me.
I wrote this poem earlier this evening, on this truth:
The less people know about me
For the greater majority of the world
For a remnant
The more they know about me the better
(But from afar only)
And for only One
The more I am known completely
The more I am loved… and in love.
It’s why I chose to dismantle my Facebook account tonight, also.
I was struck again last night by a comparison of the average Christian life with Jesus’s own earthly life two centuries ago.
His sacrifice and passion (suffering) consisted in living a brief, infinitely important human life, and then dying young because the world couldn’t continue to bear His awesome presence.
Ours, on the other hand, seems to be something like the opposite: having to live long, unimportant earthly lives, because the world doesn’t care whether or not we live or die, because we’re too “small” to register on its radar.
As far as I know, the Lord has never granted one of His people’s requests to die early or quickly; a long, normal life is their cross to bear. At least two of them–Elijah and Jonah–are mentioned in Scripture as having asked, but were not taken.
This might sound pessimistic, and maybe it is. But I know that the Lord will glorify us one day, and recompense any troubles or sorrows we’ve had here, with joy and gladness.
But everyone is so disconnected right now. The differences between people–Christians and non-Christians–are becoming so extreme, dividing us spiritually and emotionally much more than we are usually divided physically.
I have neighbors I’ve never met–and living “out in the country” isn’t an excuse, because there really isn’t much distance or land between us.
I can go hours without sharing human words with my co-workers. Yes, the automatic, employees-getting-the-job-done talk is there, but at the end of the shift everyone is more than happy to punch out in a hurry and go their separate ways to live their separated lives.
In my own case, people seem glad to get away from me.
The pain is sometimes so great, I have to ask the Lord again why I’m here. What’s the point, what’s the purpose? Am I really required to keep staying here, alive, on this planet, at this time?
His replies are always kind, gentle, compassionate, understanding. And here I stay.
“The works of the flesh are … adultery, fornication, uncleanness …”
A preacher was asked at a student meeting, “What is wrong with premarital sex? Everyone tries four or five suits before buying one. Why should I not try sex with four or five girls before marrying one?”
The preacher answered, “There is a flaw in your judgment. By the same token, each girl has to try four or five young men before taking a husband. So in the end you buy a used suit instead of a new one.”
Premarital sex is not a preparation for marriage. Should theft be the preparation for an honest life? How can the sexual possession of a person, unaccompanied by love, prepare for a life based on the highest sentiment of affection between two beings of the opposite sex?
Sexual sins are frequent today. They can easily be forgiven, like all other sins. Isaiah said, “He [the Messiah] was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (53:5)–iniquities of whatever kind, including sexual ones. But after being forgiven, let us not continue in them. The price for extramarital affairs is much too high.
Think only about the fate of children born without a stable home, abandoned. Think about the grief of your parents and of the other person’s parents.
To avoid sexual sin, practice spiritual hygiene. Be choosy in reading books and magazines, in watching TV or movies. Fill your days to the brim with serving the Lord and your fellow men.
The Lord spoke to me last night, reminding me of a simple but humanly difficult-to-grasp truth: that He loves His people always, regardless of the condition they are in spiritually. This doesn’t negate the fact that we do ourselves (and Him) harm whenever we sin; sin alienates our minds and hearts from Him; yet it does not decrease His love for us, whenever we struggle with sin, failure, or lukewarmness. I thought maybe the best analogy comes from an ancient Arabic proverb: “There are 7,000 veils separating us from God; but no veils separating God from us.”