“What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.”― Robert Murray McCheyne.
Dear King’s Cross Family and Friends,
Greetings, I hope this finds you well. November is upon us and we have only 57 days left in the year. Yes that is right, only 57 days until we can look back on 2015 as a marker of what is past and what is new is approaching. It is appropriate for us to take a moment to consider each year and all that you have learned and unlearned. If you are honest, it will be filled with a great deal of disappointments and regrets but there will be these moments of tremendous thanksgiving for how each of us has grown.
How does one grow? How does one know they are maturing? I think one is to see how we are when we pray. “What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.”― Robert Murray McCheyne. Christians are used to thinking about prayer as a way to get their personal needs met. This is the sentiment I often hear when people first enter into a relationship or their desire for marriage. They want to get the benefits and they do a cost analysis when they first consider the “other” as a potential. They often consider, “will I get a profit margin for my time invested in this relationship?” or they would say at the very least “will I come out with a deficit” if I pursue this relationship. This is often the posture we often have in coming before God in prayer; but when one grows in prayer, they understand that prayer as a means to delight and adore God. To know Him, to come into His presence and by transformed by the richness of his presence. So that is why as individuals we need a consideration of the “why” and “what” in our prayer life so that it will move towards the “who.”
For so many of us, our joy is based on the “why” and “what” and not on the “who.” So we are constantly looking at things are fleeting. The explanations are cold comfort to us. Anyone who are on the receiving end of bad news of a loved one’s health is not comforted with a full explanation of what disease it is and how they succumbed to it. Our desire for material things are exhilarating for a time being but it soon fades until something bigger and better comes along.
This past Sunday, I exhorted each of us to consider the psalmist’s expression of God’s invitation to find refuge in God by ending the Psalm with “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” The implicit view of the psalmist is that we are all finding refuge in someone/something other than Kingship of Christ. We are all trying to establish our “kingship” by either subjecting others to our kingship or we put ourselves in subjection to be our king. So in the gospel growth, we recognize that it is hardest to submit to the way in which he is ordering your life that doesn’t go as “planned.”
This is harder.
Some people are very obedient when things go right but when God lets difficult things come into our lives that we might think, “This isn’t right. This isn’t fair. Look at how God is letting the circumstances of my life go awry,” you won’t treat him as a King then. Do you know what it means to treat him as a King? To say, “You must know best.” This posture doesn’t come naturally for us. It something that each of us have to wrestle and we have to struggle through it with hope in Christ.
This is one way we know if we are accepting the kingship of Jesus in our lives. We have to be honest and say “I don’t understand what’s going on, and it is terrifying…I wrestle, but I know if I accept what he is giving me, if I am faithful in the midst of this great trial, I will come forth as pure gold. This is what happened to a person in the Bible named Job who suffered greatly. In one of the most profound moments is captured in Job 23, he says “I don’t sense God’s presence, and the things God is allowing to happen fill me with terror. But he knows my way, and when he has tested me I will come forth as pure gold.” He submits to the reality that his circumstances are purifying. Do we give Jesus the kingship like that?
There will be times when you will state “I don’t understand what you are doing God…” and I think that is an appropriate statement because we are not God and we don’t understand, but if you are asking in a posture of “I don’t understand what you are doing God and it is obvious you don’t care and you don’t have things in control…” Then you have usurped God with your earthly wisdom. At the end of the day, I am convinced that we don’t want an explanation but the assurance that God is with us. Our greatest fear is not so much that we might suffer, but that we might suffer alone. So, what does God give us in prayer? Throughout history, God has always provided His presence in the crucible of isolation that suffering brings.
In Christ, God is assuring us that the Lord is with us and whatever darkness we experience in our lives; it is through Christ’s death he enters into that pain and in his resurrection, God brings the promise of restoration. So let’s take a moment today to pray that the truth of the final verse in Psalm 2, “Blessed are those who find refuge in the King” be an invitation to take refuge. To take rest. To take a respite from our adversity in our lives.
Lord Jesus Christ,
we come to you sharing the suffering that you endured.
Grant us patience during this time,
that as we live with pain, disappointment, and frustration,
we may realize that suffering is a part of life,
a part of life that you know intimately.
Touch us in this time of trial,
hold us tenderly in your loving arms,
and let us know you care.
Renew us in our spirits,
even when our bodies are not being renewed,
that we might be ever prepared to dwell in your eternal home, through our faith in you, Lord Jesus,who died and are alive for evermore. Amen.
Please join us this Sunday as we continue our sermon series on “Considering Prayer: A Pilgrimage through Psalms, Epistles and Gospels.” I will be preaching on Psalm 3 and the sermon title is “From Suffering to Salvation.” I hope you can come and join us.
Remaining in Him,