Four letters that make up the word ‘time’. A pretty small word with pretty big implications. I guess the word time has hit me this morning due to circumstances. I woke up with no real schedule today, no giant to-do list, having some goals for today and in a different city. I’m writing this sitting in a Starbucks in Vestavia Hills, Alabama after taking a cool journey down memory lane last night with a good friend of mine here in Birmingham.
It is perplexing to me, yet refreshing at the same time. I had some great time in the Word this morning continuing looking at the life of Job – which by the way, I had an awesome opportunity to preach on in church on Sunday. If you’re interested in hearing what God put on my heart, click here: http://www.wildwoodpca.org/230444.ihtml
The title of my sermon was “Comfortable Suffering” an oxymoron I guess. Yet so much of what my heart desires when I think suffering. Remember God brought me on this journey after reading the words of Paul in Philippians 3, “I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.”
I must say it is pretty difficult for me to get away from this concept of suffering when you look at the life of Christ, his followers, early church fathers and really the rest of the world (outside America) where authentic Christianity is lived out. God is still teaching me and speaking to me through this passage, but more on that later.
Back to time. I really believe God called me to get away this week. I do have some things to do… I’m taking a class on the Westminster Confession back at Beeson with Dr. Bray. I’m using this week to study for my ordination exams. UGH. But I really believe it will (and already has been) more than that.
God’s been calling me to some unhurried, uninterrupted (as you could imagine is pretty difficult in the life of student ministry and even at home with 2 boys and another on the way) with Him. Jesus journeyed into the wilderness for some intense time of prayer and fasting with His Father. He often retreated to the mountain for times of reflection and prayer. Retreat. Renewal. Refuge. And then this ‘t’ word… Time.
I must say that this journey has been difficult so far, but very refreshing to my soul. I’ve seen God sustain me in ways I haven’t in awhile. I’ve heard Him speak to my heart more clearly. His Word has come alive to me in so many ways. Ultimately I’ve rediscovered my need for Him and to be with Him. And I say rediscovered because it’s not like I didn’t know that before, but you know how that goes.
My prayer today is that “we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)