The Ninth Letter

Let us thus think often that our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity. You and I have lived about forty years in religion (i.e., a monastic life). Have we employed them in loving and serving God, who by His mercy has called us to this state, and for that very end? I am filled with shame and confusion when I reflect, on one hand, upon the great favors which God has done, and incessantly continues to do me; and on the other, upon the ill use I have made of them, and my small advancement in the way of perfection.

Since by His mercy He gives us still a little time, let us begin in earnest; let us repair the lost time; let us return with a full assurance to that Father of mercies, who is always ready to receive us affectionately. Let us renounce, let us generously renounce, for the love of Him, all that is not Himself; He deserves infinitely more. Let us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him. I doubt not but we shall soon find the effects of it in receiving the abundance of His grace, with which we can do all things, and without which we can do nothing but sin.

We cannot escape the dangers which abound in life without the actual and continual help of God. Let us, then, pray to Him for it continually. How can we pray to Him without being with Him? How can we be with Him but in thinking of Him often? And how can we often think of Him but by a holy habit which we should form of it? You will tell me that I am always saying the same thing. It is true, for this is the best and easiest method I know; and as I use no other, I advise all the world to do it. We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure. This is an argument which well deserves your consideration.

[[Brother Lawrence, “The Practice of the Presence of God”]]

I have been very numb of late, wanting so desperately to hunger and thirst for spiritual things and yet I have not even been willing to take the first step, to simply talk (or wait) with God, or to even open His Word and ask that He direct me.
I have felt so incredibly dirty, an outcast of the very kingdom to which I so desperately cling. This evening, I looked over countless old songs and wondered what it would be like to be back in my six-year-old shoes and looking at a God I knew was stronger than anything I could ever face.
Granted, that part still lives inside of me – the part that knows my God is so much more than I could ever dream up in a hundred years. I, a mere member of the human race, am entirely incapable of understanding all the facets of this God that I serve.
Above all, I still cling to these three things:
1. In spite of my circumstances, my God is still good.
     Nothing can change this. No human; no animal; no grain of sand – not Satan himself. 
2. In spite of His goodness and His love, my God is still just.
     There would be no use in worshipping a God who did not punish evil. I don’t want to.
3. In spite of God’s justice, my God is still merciful.
     The death of Jesus Christ upon a cross 2000+ years ago still stands as the atoning sacrifice for anyone who dares to enter the living waters and breathe deep – to die with Him means to live with Him. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He paid for my wretched little life with His own so that He could be restored to fellowship and relationship with me! He punished evil – our evil – but He found a way for us to be justified without seeing that punishment ourselves!
Christ died so that we might fulfill our only purpose – to please Him!
Yet so many are still captive. So many are enslaved within darkness and try to ignore the disease that has set itself into the very marrow of their bones. If they do not have to be reminded that they are sinful, they do not need to even consider the fact that they might have been created by One to whom they will give an account for that sin.
And, all the while, the very cells that are diseased cry out for their Creator to be glorified – to receive the reward of His suffering. How long, Lord Jesus, before You set these captives free?

But some of them may never know freedom, and it is for those that I weep tonight. We hold onto hope, however, knowing that if “our only business in this life is to please God, and that all besides is but folly and vanity,” then, perhaps – just perhaps – God will continue to be good in granting mercy through His fulfillment of justice in Jesus Christ, and a few more might be awakened from death into life.
I love the first chapter of Colossians… “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves…”
All that is needed to illuminate the darkness is the smallest bit of light. I cling to that.
I need the reminders tonight, perhaps more than ever – that is, perhaps, why I was at the Ninth Letter – and God has been gracious to grant them. 
…all besides is but folly and vanity.

Mood: Broken, yet edified Reading: Red, Ted Dekker [finished yesterday, actually] 
Listening to: The rain as it falls outside of our apartment

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