May 16, 2011

Living Life to the Full....Faith

Photo by Evgeni Dinev

Much-Afraid is on her way with the Chief shepherd to the High places. They have been hiking up through the foothills enjoying the song of the brook and the melody of the birds. As they cross a river Much Afraid sees the pathway that begins to lead up, and remembers that this is where the Chief Shepherd will leave her. It is here that she meets two companions Sorrow and Suffering whom the shepherd has chosen himself to lead her onward and upward to the High places where she will receive a new name, develop hinds feet and the seed of love planted in her heart will bloom and she will be loved in return. Much-Afraid pauses, and looks back over the valley below where her relatives the fearings live. Where she once lived. She remembered the peaceful little cottage and the peace and quiet of the daily work that she had left behind to join the Chief Shepherd on this adventure to the high places.

"As the scenes form her past rose before her, tears began to prick her eyes, and the thorn of love pricked in her heart, but almost at once she turned to the Shepherd and said thankfully, “I will trust you and do whatever you want.”
“Then, as she looked up in his face, he smiled most sweetly and said something he had never said before, “you have one real beauty, Much-Afraid, you have such trustful eyes. Trust is one of the most beautiful things in the world. When I look at the trust in your eyes I find you more beautiful to look upon than many a lovely queen.” Hinds Feet in High Places Pg 64

It is not so easy to trust God when is feels as if He is not there, when it appears He has abandoned us to sorrows, or sufferings, when His presence is not tangible or visible. And when like in the story of Much-Afraid’s journey the Chief Shepherd actually and purposefully leaves us and chooses not Joy and Peace for our companions but Sorrow and suffering. Faith is choosing against hope. Faith can often be cold blooded.

“I will trust you and do whatever you want.”

“Faith is a wonderful thing, something that every believer possesses. It takes the pressure off us to perform and initiate His works, and places the emphasis on God, the Creator of the actions. When told by God that his wife was going to have a baby, Abraham immediately looked to himself and said, “I don’t think I can father a baby.” He looked over at Sarah and said, “I know she cannot have a baby.” The he looked up to God and said, “When are we having a baby?”
We have so many promises from God, which we must learn to greet with the same sequence of responses as Abraham’s. We first look to ourselves and know they are impossible. “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” 1 Peter 2:9 How can it be, Lord? We know it it is impossible for us to achieve such a stature. Next, we ought to look to around us and realize that no other person can help us attain that, either. But then as men of faith we look to God and thank Him that it is true; we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.” Side Tracked in the Wilderness Pg 68

Yesterday my temper threatened to blow. I had been disrespected and treated poorly. I was hurt, angry and fuming. I looked for possible avenues to overcome the rage which threatened to overcome me and explode on the people near me. Onto the ones who had offended. I knew this was wrong but I was escalating. The feels were stronger than my love or my resolve to do what is right. I stepped back, took a walk. As I walked I remembered a truth that did not feel good but I knew it was right. I am dead. Can a dead man be offended? Can a dead man feel hurt? But I was, but I did! I have made a habit of choosing to believe what the Bible says even if it seems way out there. So I said to myself, ‘I am dead.” No fanfare or emotions to bring assent just to say it. I am dead. It is a cold blooded statement of faith. It counts. If I am dead, how would I live out these net few moments? Then I went about my day listening for the gentle voice of the Shepherd, and slowly imperceptibly my wrath subsided. Soon a new thought was in my mind, a way to resolve the issue. I applied it. I was free. Joy came in like a flood! When you are not feeling guilty over sin, when shame is not entangling your feet, when you find God has indeed made a way of escape for you, when you live out the truth that sin does not have power over you any more, you really live. You live life to the full. Victory brings life, peace and lots of joy!
photo by Andy Newson
 "In all the world I have no one but you. Help me to follow you, even though it seems impossible. Help me to trust you as much as I long to love you.” As he heard these words the Shepherd suddenly lifted his head and laughed-a laugh full of exultation and triumph and delight. It echoed round the rockey walls of the little canyon in which they stood until for a moment or two it seemed as though the whole mountain range was laughing with him. The echoes bounded higher and higher leaping from rock to rock, and from crag to crag, up to the highest summits, until it seemed as though the last faint echoes of it were running into heaven itself.
When the last note had faded into silence, his voice said softly, “Thou art fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” Then he added, “Fear not much afraid, only believe. I promise that you shall not be put to shame.” Hinds Feet in High Places pg 68

I love this picture of Christ...I can just hear him shouting Yippppeeeee! When I chose to believe Him, and take Him at His word. He'll shout it for you too.

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