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Barnes and noble

Barnes and noble (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, . . . nothing shall be impossible unto you.”   Matthew 17:20

Much of my life has been sabotaged by anxiety.  I was driving to Barnes and Noble last night, and decided to listen to Pastor Carters’ message from a couple of weeks ago on the way.  Two things have stood out to me in recent weeks.  One is that I do not truly understand the love of Christ for me.  Hear me out on this one, because it won’t make sense to those obsessed with doctrine, but I have loved God and His word for since I was a little girl.  What I have never been comfortable with is my relationship to, or with, Jesus.  In all honesty, I’m afraid of Him.  All of our cultural analogies (He’s a friend, a lover, a brother) make me uncomfortable.  The only role I’m comfortable with is that of Jesus as Teacher, as that one I can relate to. But as  the pastor was talking about Christ taking my place before God and bearing my sins for me; about being my advocate, I suddenly began to realize the mind of Christ towards me, and  the role He plays in my relationship with God as never before.  I cannot in all honesty fathom Christ actually praying for, or advocating for me, because I know me.  Nobody in their right mind would, and most of those who have promised to do so have jumped ship.

There are many books on the market, mostly geared toward women, that try to appeal to our sense of romance in order to illustrate our relationship with Christ.  Sorry, can’t relate to that either, having never been loved, or in love, for that matter.  (I did tell you the marriage ended, right?)  And those books make me uncomfortable.  Jesus as brother?  As peer?  As best friend?  I feel like Goldilocks;  nothing fits.  And, they seem to me to make Him less than in an effort to make Him approachable.  Less than Holy;  less than righteous;  less than the embodiment of the full power and authority of God.

When I was engaged to my husband, I was in spiritual torment.  There is a place marked and dated in my Bible, December 1, 1985.  It’s the story of Abraham in Genesis;  the supreme test of his faith, when God required him to lay his son on the altar. This particular day, while  I struggled with the knowledge that I should not be dating this person, I knew God was asking me to give this relationship up and lay it on the altar of my life.  What I failed to see until very recently, is that God provided a substitute when Abraham obeyed in spite of his broken heart.  I was so focused on what I would be losing (my only chance to have a relationship) that I never saw the whole story:  that in the end God provided something better.

The other thing that has stood out to me in the last couple of weeks has been the pastor’s encouragement to walk by faith, not by sight.  This will absolutely take  an act of the Holy Spirit,  as things don’t look very good right now.  In fact, the ship is sinking.  My hunch is that it will happen as a result of a growing awareness of God’s acceptance of me, and His willingness to provide a sacrifice in the form of Jesus.  While I have a difficult time with this, mostly due to our cultural clouding of who Jesus really is in relationship to us, I am aware of a growing understanding in this area of my life.  Without this understanding, walking by faith is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

So, those are my thoughts for the day.  Grow in the grace and knowledge of the sacrificial love of God, my friends.