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
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