November 7, 2021

Remarkable Insights Stir the Soul


            I am a flawed person living in a broken world. Since the death of my wife last December, loneliness engulfs me daily, inviting me to give up. Yet I survive. I exhale despair; I inhale joy. I ask myself, what keeps you going? The answer lies in what I believe.

            I believe God loves me. He created me. Before I was formed in my mother’s womb, God had a plan for my life. I am not a tiny leaf being tossed madly about on the raging seas of life. As child I began to believe that God wants me to know Him, love Him and be blessed by His love. His purpose for my life gradually unfolded as I learned to trust Him. His gracious plan continues to be revealed as I obey Him.

            Guide guides. He provides. In the midst of pain and misfortune, He comforts. He infuses His strength into my weakness. He gives me the grace to persevere when I am tempted to give up. He fills my mind with truth that overwhelms despair. He gives me friends who encourage me to carry on. He provides mentors whose remarkable insights stir and energize my soul.

            One of my mentors is my Master. His name is Jesus. Since my teenage years I have been amazed by His forgiveness for my sins, amazed by the joy of His Presence, amazed that He chose me to become one of His disciples. When the despair of death devastates me, and the inevitability of my own death chokes me, I find victory in His remarkable insight about the future:

             “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3, NLT)

            My mentor E. Stanley Jones taught me how to get connected to Jesus. I had to give up myself. Realizing that in the shrine of my heart I would bend my knee to some master, I chose to let Christ master me.

I shall never forget listening as Jones described the time he bowed before the marvelous statue of Thorvaldsen’s “Christ” in a Copenhagen cathedral. A Danish friend whispered to Jones, “You will not be able to see His face unless you kneel at His feet.” Brother Stanley knelt at His feet, “and only then was His face looking into mine.” Then Jones observed, as though he was speaking to me, “You cannot really see Christ till you surrender to Him. Those who stand afar off, surveying Him, never really see His face. So bend the knee. Be conquered by Him.” I did. I bent my knees. He changed my life.

Now, like the blind hymnwriter Fanny Crosby, I too can sing “Someday my earthly house will fall, I cannot tell how soon ‘twill be; but this I know – my All in All has now a place in heaven for me.” Shall I cringe at the thought of death? No! Why? Because I have been saved by grace and one day I shall see my Master not in a statue but face to face! + + +