Sunday, March 8, 2009

Beached Whales

“Why are you so despondent?” I asked my friend while enjoying a great cup of coffee in our favorite coffee shop. Haltingly, he began to divulge his feelings of hopelessness and despair. “I feel much like a beached whale simply waiting for the inevitable to speed up my demise,” he sighed. “I believe I’ve missed out on God’s best for my life.”

“What makes you think that?” I asked.

“Because it was always my intention to remain on the mission field doing what I know God called me to do, but because of a series of unforeseen events, and then life happening, here I am doing what couldn’t be anything further away from that goal!”

My friend had fallen into the trap of believing that, due to life’s circumstances, having to give up his ‘ministry’ to work at a ‘secular’ job meant failure in terms of fulfilling God’s destiny for his life. It’s heartbreaking to see how so many believers have been crippled – essentially rendered spiritual quadriplegics – because of believing such lies.

So many of us, especially those now outside of the institutional religious (church) establishments, feel that we have missed out on God’s best. But, unless we know the surpassing greatness of His total unconditional love for us, and apart from this being our foundation, we will inevitably become ensnared by the father of lies who is relentless in his efforts to keep us from the true knowledge of Whose we are.

Here is Jesus’ definition of success: “And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.”

Let’s look at how this is defined by our brother Paul: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

If our lives are not defined by, in and through the Father’s love alone, then we have missed His very best. One of the prayers Paul prayed for the church is this: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Maybe His ‘calling’ or specific vocation for each of us is simply this: that we be totally His, and in the process of learning to be His discover a depth of love that has no conditions attached to it.

It is not enough to know God’s forgiveness. If that’s it, then we are eternally ‘beholden’ to the Lord (as we should be) for his sacrifice on the cross and relieved to be in his good books, but that doesn’t in and of itself transform our lives. What does transform us is learning that there is nothing we can add to our title of ‘child of God’ that causes Him to approve of or delight in us more than He does already – even if we never ‘do’ anything for Him! Learning to rest in that love will result in establishing a growing, deepening vibrant intimate relationship with God as our Father, and that is God’s best.


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