Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The great divide...

I've had a message burning inside of me for months now.  This message is burdening me more and more with each week that passes... with each new person that comes to me because their pain is so great they don't know where to turn. I point them to Jesus -- quite frequently a Jesus they already know -- but One that they are not relying on for what others aren't/can't give.

And so as spring arrives and the world displays the beginnings of life around us, I'm going to share the call that I think God is whispering.

I see a great divide.


Most of the time, when Christians talk about a great divide, they're talking about the separation that sin makes between God and us. That one does exist, and that great divide was bridged by Jesus's death on the cross.

But I see another divide that still exists.

On one side of this great divide, I see a host of hurting people who are not satisfied.  They're not satisfied with their marriage. They're not satisfied without a boyfriend. They're not satisfied with their job. They're not satisfied with their friends. They're not satisfied with their finances, their goals, their past, their present, or what they see of their future. They're not satisfied with their life, period. And they're miserable.

I'm not talking about superficial discontent, though. I'm talking about people who aren't satisfied and who have very good reason to be.

Did you hear that? I'm talking about people who have good reason to not be satisfied.

Is that you?

But here's the thing.  On the other side of this great divide is my God and my Savior.  The One who is and was and always will be enough... for absolutely everything any human can ever want.  The one who said, "My grace is sufficient for you."  That's what "sufficient" means.  Enough.

Is it true, though?

Seriously? Ask yourself!

Is God really enough?

...even when my marriage stinks?  ...even when I am abused?  ...even when no one loves me? 

Is it possible for Him to give... to provide... to be enough for you to be satisfied and joyful and peaceful and happy in the depths of your soul, even when your world is giving you every reason to not be satisfied or happy?

Is it possible to be satisfied because of everything that He Is, even when you've got a list of things that your life is not, and your marriage is not, and your finances are not, and your job is not, and your friends are not?

I'm not asking if it's possible to be satisfied with your life, but satisfied in your life, for that one little word makes a big difference!


I am here to tell you that not only is this possible, this is part of what Jesus came to give you!

You can have a satisfied soul.

You can be happy!

How, though?  For I make no promises when or how anything will change in your marriage, your job, your finances, or any other part of your life. Jesus made only one promise about all of that. He said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows."

Yep, He really said that

But that's not all He said. Read the whole verse.
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

What He came to give you is so much deeper and truer than all those things that are screwed up in your life.

This great divide exists between God's sufficiency and what the majority of humans are actually receiving from Him.

Jesus not only came to die to pay the price for our sin.  He also came to live.  He came to prove that He has overcome death. Forever!  He said, "I came that you may have life, and life more abundantly."

This is why Paul said:
"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Cor. 4:8-9) 

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? 

Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

Do you see it?

The world is full of hurting people, one after another after another, hurting in terrible ways... but so focused on the earthly source of their pain that they cannot seem to even realize that enough is being held out and offered to them by the Savior who gave everything He had for them.  They don't realize that He now offers everything He is to them.

He offers all of Himself... to you.

This is not something you have to do. It is not something you can do. You cannot ever "be happy" because you're supposed to. You can't even be happy in the depth of joy that I'm talking about because He died for you and you accepted Him into your life.

What I'm talking about is beyond knowledge and beyond a prayer and a decision because it's wrapped up in who He is.

And because of that, it is only found by those who seek Him. He said:
You shall seek Me, and you shall find Me, if you search for Me with all your heart.

"All your heart" means everything you've got in this moment. And after you fail and wander away and realize it and repent, it means everything you've got in that moment. And the next. And the next.

"All your heart" means giving whatever little you've got -- no matter how messed up you are -- to Him, in every moment that you come to Him in humility and repentance for the hours and days and weeks and months when you were holding back something or everything from Him.

He takes those moments, and His mercy flows through them to cover the rest of your life. And His mercies are replenished and start new every morning!

And then His grace flows so that the moments when you are holding back everything become fewer, and the moments when your heart is reaching for Him become more, and He begins to change your life from the thing you know right now into something that is beyond anything you've ever dreamed.

I know, because I live it.

Many years ago when I first shared my testimony, I wrote these words:
I saw that I was still nothing, but that He is everything, and He wants to live in me in a way that I had never understood.

Because He is everything and He is in me, I may experience His fullness instead of my emptiness.

I may have His victory instead of my failure.

I may be filled with His peace instead of my turmoil.

I may live in His rest instead of my frustration.

Today, I live and breathe in a reality that is many times this revelation that He gave me 13 years ago.

I live in a waterfall of grace and mercy that overwhelms everything that is messed up in my life and around me.

I live in depths of joy and peace that might sometimes be ruffled on the surface as a pebble or a rock creates ripples in a mountain lake... but the depths are still greater.

I am a satisfied soul who desperately wants the world to know the hope that is just waiting for them in Jesus.

Your struggles... your abuse... your failures... your sin... your drugs... your scars... your pain... your loneliness...

I am not going to tell you none of that matters and none of it should hurt. It matters. And it hurts. And that's why He came!  That's why He didn't just die for you... all of that is why He lived - and still lives - for you!

All those things that are making you so unsatisfied with your life... they are a sign showing you how much greater your Savior is. Take the biggest, most difficult and most painful thing in your life.  His sufficiency is not only greater than that thing, it is greater than that thing and everything else in your life... and every struggle you will ever endure in your entire life.

He is greater than all of that... and everybody else's "all of that"... combined.


He is enough.

And He's waiting.  All you've got to do is seek Him with everything you've got - no matter how little that may be.


"My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness...

Christ alone, Cornerstone..."

1 comments:

  • Bechtel says:
    Thursday, May 01, 2014

    Katie, I've been thinking along those lines for a long time too. American Christianity has focused a lot on the blessings of God and forgotten that Jesus promised trials too. When trials come, we wonder what we've done wrong. Or like Job's friends, other people assume we've done wrong which can be doubly hurtful. Instead of focusing on God and what His plan might be and how His Spirit will help us, we're focused on ourselves. We're either feeling guilty that we must have done something to deserve this, or we're offended because we don't believe we deserved punishment. If we see the trial as an event God will use for His glory, it will be much easier to accept His peace as we go through it.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion