Archive | September 2012

Eden’s Delight: An Untold Story (Part 1)

God’s Thoughts to me

This is Eternal Life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent (John 17:3, NASB).

Then God planted a garden in the east, and there He placed the man He had made (Genesis 2:8, NLT).

The Treasure Hunt

This past week I have been engaged in a severe battle against that all too familiar winter foe, influenza! My mind is fighting against the heaviness and blocked stuffiness that accompany this enemy and, on top of the fibrofog, desperately seeking words to express the thoughts and ideas birthed in my heart. So, I look up to my Pappa God, the always-present one, who never leaves my side and who carries me across all life’s hurdles.

My weary soul sighs joyfully as I feel His Presence touching me tenderly as if to remind me of His love and care and my mind wanders back in time, retracing the footsteps of my life walking with God.

Suddenly, I am accutely aware of my feebleness and incapacity to love and encourage others, to lend them an undivided ear and heart, not only to hear, but to truly listen when they need to share their burdens, without fear that I will just rub salt into their wounds, trying to fix them. I am aware of my dire need to embrace suffering and trials joyfully to allow our Heavenly Father to mold and form my heart into a receptive, inviting and gentle vessel. I need Him to change me into a safe, friendly person whom others would find safe and comfortable to share their ups and downs through life’s journey, with. I, not unlike most people I know, never used to accept suffering willingly or associate trials with a God of Love. I conveniently chose to ignore our Lord’s words, “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” (Isaiah 48:10, NLT).

I am so grateful that our Pappa, with gentle yet firm determination, has never given up on me, until He has taught me that without going through the mills of life, I will sound like Paul’s noisy gong and clanging cymbal, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NKJV).

To be honest, I have to admit that for a long time during my walk with our Pappa God, I have placed much more value on my performance for Him, as far as religion goes, than loving Him and others, thinking that it would make Him more inclined to love and accept me. I was wrong; very, dangerously wrong. I have come to realize that the world operates according to that principle, but definitely not our Lord, for He says, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. “(Romans 12:2, NLT).

This saddens me and fills my heart with an intense longing for the time before that Foul Revolt the author John Milton speaks of in his astounding work, Paradise Lost. The time when life was as our Heavenly Father intended, in all its beauty and simplicity; the time when life was void of all selfishness, greed (and all their evil bedfellows). Life without illness, pain and suffering seems like a long-forgotten dream and I long for that time when Eden was untainted by sin.

Reading the creation account in the Bible again, made me realize that in the past I could see no further than the story of God’s creative power, our first grandparents’ revolt, their fall and subsequent banishment from paradise. But this time around I could sense something different, something more meaningful and I knew, deep, deep down in my heart that an acient treasure was waiting to be discovered.

It felt as if I was going on that proverbial journey to discover that pearl of great price. Delving deeper into this story, I was immediately impressed by the fact that, although our Lord spoke everything else into being, He changed His modus operandi when He FORMED man out of clay and PLANTED the garden. They were special! I was amazed at our Pappa’s attention to even the smallest detail when He planned and planted this perfect garden. Nothing escaped His keen eye and I could almost sense His joy and pleasure as He planted all the big, sturdy trees to provide oxygen, shade and shelter, and all the other things big trees were needed for! I could sense Him limiting Himself and harnessing His great power and strengh when He planted all those thousands of plant species; from the tiniest, fragile, most delicate flower to all the big, strong, robust shrubs and groundcovers, all to provide beauty and grace to His garden.

The name Eden means love; love surpassing it’s meaning in Hebrew of pleasure, luxury, dainty delight.I rejoiced when I realised that the first provision our God blessed our first grandparents with, was a garden filled with His love and goodness; a perfect setting where they could enjoy a growing friendship, a loving relationship, without any laws or rules. This was a living, breathing, growing, loving relationship that did not need any restraints or rules to suffocate its vibrant “aliveness”, for everyone considered the other higher than him or herself. The only thing, remotely law-like, for Adam and Eve, was to be aware of their need to be completely dependent on our Pappa God.

He is fully aware that without His total provision for all their needs; spiritual, psychological and physical, His children are unable to live and to love Him in return. Adam and Eve had only one choice to decide on for themselves, to live in complete dependence on their Creator and to learn to trust His love and goodness, by choosing to eat from the Tree of Life. His desire was that their centre of reference should always be Him, as their only source of goodness and love, and for that matter, of everything else.

We are all familiar with the outcome of our Pappa God’s risk to give the first humans the freedom to choose to love Him and of their disastrous choice to rather eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve chose to live independently from their Father, with themselves being their own central reference, choosing to determine what was good and what was evil on their own. Their choice ushered the whole creation into darkness, death and separation from God. I have often wondered why He gave them that choice in the first place, knowing full well what foolish choice they would make, until I realized what a great price our God puts on the voluntary love of His children; no rote obedience will do! That was a great, great act of love on His part and, banishing them from the garden, was His provision for the human race to be reconciled to Him again, after our Lord Jesus made that possible through His death and resurrection.

Ever since that catastrophe, the human race has been trying to cover their spiritual nakedness with fig leaves, the work of their hands. These feeble efforts have accumulated through the ages into the devil’s handmaiden, religion. But our Father of love not only provided Adam and Eve with clothes from the hides of animals, but also the new life and righteousness of our Lord Jesus when He paid the price on the cross for man’s revolt. Our Pappa God has reconciled Himself to all mankind through our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice. He is again waiting for each and everyone He has ever and will still create, to come to Him, to experience His love and goodness and to walk with Him, “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9, NLT).

What a joy to realize that, once we return to our Pappa, our Heavenly Gardener immediately starts to plant a new garden of Eden in our hearts by first clearing the ground of all the weeds, stones, thorns and thistles and then gently and lovingly planting seeds that will flower and bloom into a new spiritual garden, producing delicious fruit for His enjoyment as well as ours and all those He chooses to love through us.

Dear ones, life happens and it is truly hard, especialy with a debillitating disease like Fm/CFS. No one, but no one, escapes that reality, yet I want to encourage you to see every new trial, every new suffering, symptom or hiccup in life as God’s loving hand, refining you into the spotless Bride of His Son, our Lord Jesus. Then we will be able to truly rejoice in our suffering.

Thank you for opening the treasure chest with me. With my next post, I would love to show you all the precious gems our Lord has hidden inside Eden for us to find.

Hugs and blessings

Mia

A Wasteland and a Crooked Highway

God’s Thoughts to me

Listen! It is the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!” (Isaiah 40:3, NLT).

The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for Him!” (Matthew 3:3, NLT).

DANGER! Roadworks Ahead

I have often allowed my heart and mind to ponder on the character of John the Baptist. As far as I was concerned, this guy was totally way-out. Who in their right mind would willingly stay in a desertlike wilderness, wining and dining daily on a monotonous diet of honey and locusts. Yuk! His camel hair attire would ceraintly not have featured on the cover of a fashion magazine; although with a little imagination and the latest fashion trends, he could just have passed for a Hugo Boss model, modeling their latest outdoor range. To be totally honest; this man had the ability to make me feel extremely guilty about my much nicer and comfortable lifestyle.

Yet, of John, our Lord Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet, the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven, is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11, NLT). These words of our Lord intrigued me endlessly! If this was our Lord’s estimation of this peculiar man, there certainly had to be much more about him than met the eye. This guy was a character worth investigating and off this bloodhound went!

It is common knowledge that John was the fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah 40:3, but to understand the metaphorical language our God used, we need to compare the two. Allow me:

Isaiah’s Era

A. After King Hezekiah of Judah showed the envoy of the king of Babylon, King Baladan, all his royal treasuries (this is good thought for another post), the Israelites were exiled to Babylon.

B. Our God was about to lead them out of their captivity from Babylon, like He did when He took them by the hand and delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land.

C. Isaiah was the herald or forerunner, mobilizing the Israelites to clear the immense, desolate desert separating Judah and Babylon.

John’s Era

A. The Jews were under Roman rule with Ceasar Augustus as the reigning monarch.

B. Our Heavenly Father was about to deliver the whole human race from their exile in the kingdom of darkness, back to our home country, which our first grandparents forfeited in Eden, back into our Pappa’s Heavenly Kingdom of Light.

C. John was our Lord Jesus’ herald or forerunner, calling everyone to repentance and to clear the the immense spiritual desert in their hearts.

This tradition of road clearing, repairing and renovation dated back to the time of the monarchs of the Middle East. Whenever they undertook a journey or expedition into the barren, desertlike terrain of their kingdoms, they would send heralds or forerunners ahead of them to spur the inhabitants of these sparsely populated regions into action to repair the roads, fill up the ruts and smooth out the rough places for their king’s visit.

At the time John started preaching repentance, the Jews again were finding themselves in a dry, dreary, mountainous spiritual condition. I think that this might be why John lived and worked in the desertlike wilderness terrain; to sympathise with the Jews’ sorrowful state. They were also under Roman rule and were longing for the promised Messiah to deliver them from this foreign rule. I think their spiritual predicament under the iron rule of the Scribes and Pharisees were just as, if not more, unbearable than the political one. Our Lord Jesus was not at all impressed with this state of affairs and His words to them were quite unsettling, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13, NIV) and, “They crush people with impossible religous demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Matthew 23:4, NLT).

I was one of those crushed ones; therefore my heart rejoiced at hearing those words. The hearts and minds of those poor, deceived people (and mine) must have been overgrown with brambles, thorns and thistles representing all the religious rules and regulations. Their religous diet consisted of the same-old, same-old. Yet, they were looking forward to a savior for their unbearable, difficult physical situation. Could it be that they were totally ignorant of just the possibility of redemption from their spiritual captivity? Were they suffering from the religious business-as-usual syndrome, and therefore preferred the familiar, known streets of the Kingdom of Darkness, instead of a new adventure into the Kingdom of Light, grace, freedom, love, joy and peace? If they were just slightly like me, that could well be!

When our Pappa took me by the hand and led, or to be honest, dragged me, into the mountainous, desertlike wilderness of Fm/CFS, I was totally unprepared for the journey ahead. The mountain of excrutiating pain and debilitating exhaustion seemed like the twin brother of Mount Everest, and just as cold, dark and desolate! The fibrofog caused my mind to get lost in a thick cloud of pollution, despair and despondency. I could hear our Pappa’s gentle voice encouraging me to clear this polluted, desert road in my heart.

One of the biggest boulders He showed me that blocked the way forward and needed to be removed, was the idol I had been paying homage to for such a long a time: the idol of perfect health. I realized that I was no different from the Jews in John’s days! Our Pappa showed me that even if I were to be in perfect health, I would still be imprisoned by my addiction to religion, the world, Satan and self. I was chained to the fetters of all my religious self-effort and ceaseless, futile attempts to impress my Pappa and to make Him take notice of me. He made me aware of the futility of putting my trust in these useless, worldly things and ways.

Patiently, our Lord assisted me in clearing the road of my heart of all the rubble I had accumulated over the years. I gave Him permission to fill all the potholes with His life, His righteousness and purity. I had to destroy all the thorns and thistles of wrong desires and dreams (even those I thought would bring so much glory to our God, were they realized). I had to straighten the spiritual road of my heart and willingly allow the humble and gentle King of the Universe, His Royal Highness, King Jesus, to accompany me on this road of life.

I know, dear ones, that just being human, cause all of us to have our own desert roads, with our own loads of rubble to clear and ruts to fill, to straighten the way for our Lord Jesus to enter our hearts, but I pray that our Pappa God will enable us all to see this illness as a gift to enable us to dig up the fallow ground of our hearts and, with thankfulness, to transform the wasteland of our souls into highways fit for our King to travel on; full of blooming, colorful flowers, green foliage and beauty to bring pleasure to our Lord as we travel together on this road of life into His abundant, eternal Life.

Thanks for your patience, and if my thoughts don’t seem logical, please blame the fibrofog!

Hugs and blessings

Mia

Crossroads

God’s thoughts to me

For she thought to herself, ” If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. ( Mark 5:28-29, NLT )

And He said to her, ” Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:34, NLT)

The Lady and I

On my reading journey I once came across a quote that gripped my heart with wonder and sweet anticipation. Brennan Manning said in his book, The Lion and the Lamb, ” You will trust God only as much as you love Him. And you will love Him not because you have studied Him; you will love Him because you have touched Him – in response to His touch.”

I was in the midst of a cold, barren winter season of my life and could therefore feel how  my restless soul uttered a silent, speechless cry, filled with longing to experience the real McCoy of God’s touch and presence. I am sure you are smiling a knowing smile right now! Fm/CFS made our Lord’s presence an absolute necessity I could not do without.

I realized that although I knew a lot about theology, a lot about God and loved the idea of His love, goodness and patience, it was all just an idea, a figment of my imagination and a poor substitute for that magic reality of the unity between two kindred spirits. I knew then that my lack of not knowing was not because of a lack of trying, but a lack of touching Him as a response to His touch. I was not experiencing that mysterious something that many dear saints so secretively smiled about and my heart was sad! That closeness my heart yearned for, seemed unattainable no matter how hard I tried.

At the same time I also had a very unhealthy fear of our God and was terrified that I might land up in the wrong place if I could not muster up enough loving feelings in my heart towards Him. This was a real catch 22 situation if ever there was one! Until I read the above-mentioned quote. Then I knew, really knew that the reason for my dilemma was that I had never before really touched our Lord. I did not know if this was even attainable and my mind seemed unable to fathom the reality of the continuous presence of our resurrected Lord.

A passionate, burning flame of excitement and hope pierced my heart as I was contemplating the possibility of that magic touch and I was overwhelmed with longing which at the same time was beautifully disturbing and devastatingly delightful! I cannot describe it better than King David when he said, “My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me.” (Ps 63:8, KJV) The knowledge of our Lord’s prevenient grace before we can even begin to feel the faintest stirring of longing in our hearts towards our King filled me with wonder about the mystery and greatness of His love.

But I was still so unfulfilled and clueless about how to bring this touching thing about when I suddenly remembered another woman from another time, whose heart also had the same yearning and longing, the woman with the issue of blood. Although our reasons for this longing were different; she desperately needed physical healing where my heart needed to touch His and enter into the fullness of His love, we were both in a very needy place.

Under the Mosaic Law and regulations, menstruating women (those with the issue of blood) were considered unclean and were set apart for seven days. Anything or anyone she touched during this time were also considered unclean. People needed to wash their clothes after such an encounter. If the bleeding lasted longer than the seven days, the law was very specific that she needed to be treated as unclean until it ceased.

I can only imagine how desperately lonely and rejected this poor woman must have felt after being set apart for the twelve long, lonely years she had been suffering from menorrhagia (today’s diagnosis for abnormal, long, heavy and painful menstruation which can be cured through hormone pills or a hysterectomy). She surely must have been anemic as well by that time and according to Scripture she had spent nearly all her livelihood on doctors, but only got worse. In a small way I can relate to her loneliness and despair for I think that all Fm/CFS sufferers experience to some degree this being “set apart” scenario through the disbelief and subsequent distancing from medical professionals, friends or dear ones. Researchers are making progress, but are still unable to answer most of our questions about these debilitating diseases.

I am now speculating, but allow me to consider the probability that this lady was in the midst of a religious crowd surrounding our Lord Jesus and feared the risk of causing Him, or anyone in the crowd, to become ritually unclean through touching them and therefore hid herself after she had done so. I think she must have been so fearful of these hostile people who rejected her when she was in such a desperate place, needing their help and support! One thing that I do know without a doubt, was that both of us were at the crossroads of our lives and we could both hear our Pappa’s gentle encouragement, “Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths; ask where the good way is and walk in it. And you will find rest for your souls.” (Jer 6:16, NASB). We could both look and recognize the one and only true ancient Path, the only good Way, the only true Answer to our suffering, our Lord Jesus!

Like this lady, I also experienced severe spiritual, emotional and physical bankruptcy after battling this foe that had invaded and disabled my life for a long time and knew that I drastically needed something to change in my life. I am ashamed to admit that I also hoped our Heavenly Father would just transform Himself into a genie in a bottle and jump at my every command. But this Genie surely seemed as deaf as a doorknob, as blind as a bat and totally unappreciative of all my clever efforts!

I tried all the newest religious programs and gimmicks doing the rounds at that time. I am unable to recall how many times I confessed with my mouth and believed, or at least tried to, in my heart, that I was healed by our Lord’s stripes; I did more than my fair share of claiming my healing by faith and that in the name of Jesus, bound so many demons and commanded them to the bottomless pit that I was sure hell must have been a very empty place with them becoming a bunch of pit dwellers! I had hands laid on me more times than I would care to remember and received prayer after prayer, but all to no avail. Was our Pappa unwilling to heal me? Definitely not!

He was gently drawing me into His loving embrace until I had no other choice, just like the woman with the blood issue, than to crawl on my spiritual knees until I touched our Lord Jesus. Did He heal me? Of course!! He took the tatters of my broken life and started to heal me from the inside out. Although my illness is still very much part of my life, He has brought me to the place of sweet acceptance from where I am looking forward to the day when I will leave this old coat behind six foot underground, to receive a glorious, new one.

Dear Ones, I know from experience that the road we walk is hard and difficult and I will not dare try and trivialize the suffering you might be experiencing on a daily basis, but I do want to encourage you to allow your heart to follow strongly after our God, assured that His right hand is upholding you. Crawl, if necessary, to our Lord Jesus until you are near enough to touch Him again and again and again.

I want to love you and leave you with our Lord’s beautiful assurance, “However, those the Father has given Me will come to Me and I will never reject them.” (John 6:37, NLT)

Hugs and blessings

Mia

Joyful Jubilee

God’s thoughts to me

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”(Luke 4:17-19, NIV)

“The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:21b, NLT)

Down Memory Lane

Today is a beautiful, sunny spring day. With a little imagination, I can hear our Lord’s nature around me singing a song of worship and praise to honor their Creator. Only the yellow finches are a little bit off-key in their finchy kind of way. Summer is around the corner  and I realize that I have to start preparing myself for my lifelong Fm/CFS foe: the extreme summer heat and humidity we always experience near the coastline. Fortunately I become more and more skilled in my battle strategies as the summers come and go .

Since my hubbie and I are on our way again to Port Elizabeth tomorrow,  I am resting (saving energy) today  and allow my mind to wander down memory lane for a short visit. God’s wisdom and ways to use everything that happens to us on this illness journey to  gently ushers us into His Year of Favor and Joyful Jubilee fills me with awe and gratitude. I invite you to acompany me on this difficult road. I surely can do with your help.

Allow me to stop my thoughts at the time when I have been a prisoner of religion and law observance. I was like the Pharisees who also were under the wrong impression that we could earn our Pappa’s favor through all our thingies! To be honest, I was a Pharisee par excellance! I needed quite a few extra hands and fingers to count all my meritious good works, victory over imagined sin and my whole enchilada of holiness. Believe me; I truly did that if only quietly in my mind! I urgently needed to kill and slaughter my entire herd of holy cows. That was very, very difficult! Can you imagine the audacity!

But when I allowed myself to dig a bit deeper, I realized that my frantic scurrying and stupidity started when our then pastor and his wife informed me that my sorrows and woes were the result of not serving the saints and my failure to spread the gospel. By that time this illness was diagnosed as that famous all-in-the-mind disease. In retrospect I realize that it has been their way of trying to get me to be more involved in church activities; to be more specific, the activities they thought would please our Lord.  Oh, the famous Job’s friends! It is quite humorous how Fm/CFS shows us how many of them we have! But then, I praise and thank our Pappa for our one Friend who ALWAYS sticks closer than a brother.

That was a hard blow and made me terrified of this cruel, abusive God who was expecting me to do what I was unable to do before He would love me enough to even consider alleviating my suffering; never mind healing me. Actually, I was convinced that I was doomed and on my way to that hot place, so I went on an evangelical, soul winning and good works frenzy. I do not share this lightly as I can still be petrified  when I recall the unimaginable, unbearable horror I have experienced! This was NOT a nice God to serve and I was even beginning to consider the hot place a better choice for spending eternity! The only reward I received for my laborious  efforts was a significant worsening of my spiritual, physical and psychological health and an extended stay in bed. I never even considered the fact that this in-the-mind disease could be so debilitating!

Spiritually I was held captive by many cruel jailers. There was the jailer of people-pleasing instead of speaking the truth in love, the nasty chap of good works to build up a treasure in heaven, the jailer of busy, big, noisy religious events and on and on the list of these ill-reputed characters goes. Their king that kept me behind bars for a long time was called Law Master. He had no mercy, no grace, love or compassion. What made this tyrant especially terrifying was his mad insistence that I produce bricks from straw like the ancient Israelites had to do before their exodus from Egypt. Of course, for me this was totally impossible since I was already using all my energy just to live.

I recall my utter spiritual, emotional and physical poverty and rejoiced! Our Lord came to seek and save the lost and I was an excellent candidate. I had to confess my blindness, before our Lord could restore my spiritual sight. I had to repent of my legalism, before our Pappa could release me from that unbearable oppression and heavy burdens of religion and law and replace them with His, ” For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28b, NLT).

I had to serve my time in the spiritual Russian Lubyanka before I was ready and receptive to trust our Lord Jesus enough to allow Him to set this prisoner free. I had to realize and KNOW that our wonderful God is eternal and not bound by time (actually , time is His creation). I had to firmly grasp the fact that He is The Great I Am, not The Great I Was or The Great I Will Be, before I could enter His Eternal Today and hear His voice like Paul admonished the forever nursing Hebrews, “Today, when you hear His voice don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.” (Heb 3:7b-8, NLT). Poor Paul, I think he could teach Job a lesson on patience! I have to admit with sorrow that I rebelled against our Pappa and tested Him severely when I was wandering through the wilderness.

I had to join the ranks of the poor, the mourners, the humble , the starved, the thirsty and the peacemakers, before I was able to receive our Father’s blessings and experience our Lord’s Year of Favour and Joyous Jubilee. I had to admit to our God that I was a lady Pharisee reciting my long list of meritous accomplishments and see how utterly broken, poor and sinful I really was, to call out like the tax collector, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” (Luke 18:13b, NLT)

Dear ones, I do not know along which road our wonderful Pappa is leading you, neither what lies ahead for us on this road of affliction, but I do know that He has an individual plan for each one of His children, a good and perfect plan. He so gently reminds us,” For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ( Jer. 29:11, NLT)

If you are presently stuck on your own memory lane allow us to walk alongside you and help you carry your burdens. This road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where. These are some of the words of that beautiful song He ain’t heavy, He’s my Brother by the Hollies.

Thank you, dear ones, for sharing my road down memory lane. May our Pappa bless you and keep you this week as we bring glory to our King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s  by walking this Fm/CFS road with many a winding turn with joy and confidence in our God’s great love for us.  Always remember that to your Lord, you ain’t heavy and He is your Brother.

Hugs and blessings

Mia

P.s. You can listen to this beautiful song of The Hollies at the following link : http://www.metrolyrics.com/he-aint-heavy-hes-my-brother-lyrics-hollies.htm#UE.Y561Y2wA.mailto

The Cana Colony

God’s thoughts to me

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. (John 2:6-9a, NLT)

He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. (Isaiah 42:3a, NIV)

The Wedding of the Bended Reeds

Yes, I am back at weddings and I will forever be hooked on romance, love and the great sacrifices our Heavenly Bridegroom and Lover of our souls has made to win our hearts and affection. When I started to write this post, I realized that you guys might just wonder what FM/CFS, weddings, weak bended reeds and Cana have in common. When our Lord started to reveal to me precious truths about how these four apparently unrelated subjects were in fact closely intertwined, my heart rejoiced and I would love to share that with you.

The way our Pappa uses ordinary, everyday happenings and simple objects to explain to us truths about the glory of His Kingdom is such a beautiful testimony to His humbleness and wisdom. I think He realizes how much we need comparisons to things we understand to grasp truths about His World. I had one big problem though, I thought our dear Pappa preferred big, noisy, flashy, entertaining programs and religious events. I was deceived to say the least! FM/CFS disabled me to such a degree that I was unable to perform according  to my expectations to earn our Lord’s love and acceptance. I became so depressed that our Pappa had to teach me the same lesson He taught Elijah, “And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper ” (1 Kings 19:12, NLT)

I think as fibromites we can all see ourselves to some degree as weak, bended reeds. Cana means a place of reeds and there, dear ones, is the connection between the four subjects. Those of us who suffer from FM/CFS are a colony of  bended reeds; a Cana colony! Our Lord has promised us that He never ever breaks a bended read. Actually He nurses their hearts back to health. Our gentle, compassionate God seems to have a great fondness for unimportant people and places!

The village of Cana is only mentioned twice in the Gospels: at the wedding and the healing of the officer’s son. Cana was not an important town in those days. Biblical scholars today do not exactly know where Cana was situated in ancient times.They think it was probably 8-9 km north of Nazareth. I know we often experience those days when we are in the on-the-couch or in-the-bed mode. Those times leaves me so despondent, feeling worthless and of little, if any use to God, my family or friends. When I  succumb to those feelings, I open the door of my heart wide to those three nasty creepy crawlies: guilt, shame and condemnation. They try their utmost best to conquer my soul and snuff out my spiritual strength. Nasty little fellows, but what formiddable foes! Consequently a great, fierce battle usually erupts between them and myself. To beat them off, is not an easy fight. Sometimes they win, sometimes I do, but one thing is for sure, they always return, sooner or later!

Thinking of the village of Cana and its unimportance to the economic, political and religious systems of the days of our Lord’s sojourn on earth, brings joy to my heart. To our Lord, Cana was so important that He attended a wedding at the Place of Reeds. In those days Jewish weddings were quite a grand affair and steeped in tradition. It was a community affair where everyone gathered together to celebrate the 7-day feast. These were poor folk. Nevertheless, when it was time for a wedding they tried their best to provide an extravagant feast and to make it a very special occasion. If something went wrong, the bride and groom could easily lose face and it was also seen as bad luck for the married couple. They considered that quite humiliating. Yes, we humans are all the same!

At this specific wedding they encountered a big problem. Their wine supply ran out, but they had a very special Guest of honor in their midst, our generous, loving Lord Jesus. When I was at the crossroads of my FM/CFS journey, I had to admit to myself and my Lord that I was completely empty too; spiritually, emotionally and physically . I had no reserves left to give or to do to try to impress our Pappa and I desperately needed to learn to look up to our God to provide in all my needs. Oh, and He did, abundantly so! The only thing that seemed odd at the time, was that our Lord’s list of my needs differed greatly from mine. Significant to this wedding were the six stone jars.They were used for the Jewish ceremonial cleansing  ritual. According to the Jews the number six symbolizes incompleteness.

When I was deep, deep down in the proverbial pit, angry at God and severely depressed, I truly was a very big number six! I am convinced that many of you know exactly what I am talking about. Take heart, dear ones, for I think we all need to come to to that unwanted number six place before we are even able to consider that we might not have what it takes to just live an ordinary, healthy life; never mind coping daily with a chronic illness. Has anyone perhaps noticed along the way that we humans tend to be quite stubborn with a humongous big, over-inflated estimation of our own capabilities? I wonder why! Our Heavenly Father certainly is not surprised for He says, ” For I know how stubborn and obstinate you are. Your necks are as unbending as iron. (Isaiah 49:4a, NLT)

My stone jars of futile efforts and good works were completely empty after my valiant efforts to battle this illness on my own terms. I felt so completely lost and so alone. I had no other choice, but to turn to the only perfect One, the only number seven; the Jewish number for perfection and completeness. My emptiness poignantly reflected the barrenness and futility of the Jewish purification rituals and ceremonies. All the Jewish traditions and ceremonies are such a good example of the incompleteness of the number six. Actually it shows the incompleteness of all religions , no matter what it is called. Our Lord  did not come to bring us the new religion of Christianity, but to reconcile us to our God and to restore the intimate relationship that was lost in Eden when man decided to live independently from his Creator!

All my striving to please our Pappa actually separated me from Him and prevented me to drink FREELY from the abundant, wonderful Fountain of Life. I urgently needed to humble myself before our Father and King and He showed me how totally ineffective and even dangerous any form of  law observance could be. Allow me to add that I did not only have ten, like our Lord’s Ten Commanments which we cannot keep in any case , I had ten times ten times ten. Fortunately fibro fog made me quickly forget most  of them! Paul did warn us that it was either grace or law. It can never be both. I needed to become lowly and unimportant like the servants at the wedding before our Lord could fill the empty stone jars of my heart with the best wine ever, His Life. His wine was not diluted with water like the wine the Jews used at weddings. I have come to experience that law and grace never mixes like diluted wine.

The new wine of the finest quality was kept for last. The Blood of our Lord Jesus spilled for us on the cross and His abundant Life will never run dry and it is always pure. No mixture of water and wine will be served at the wedding banquet of our Lord and His Bride, the church.

Dear ones, I want encourage you to bring all those crippling emotions, all the pain and terrible symptoms of this illness to our Lord as your gift to Him. Ask Him and allow Him to fill you every second of every day, moment by moment with the pure new wine of His life, His grace and His love.

Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of sharing with you my love for our Lord and King, Jesus. May He carry each one of us this week like a little lamb on His shoulders on this road of Fibromyalgia.

Hugs and blessings

Mia