“Our Father strips everything away from time to time to give us the opportunity of loving and trusting and responding to Him just because He is our Father.
He knows what the cross is going to mean in our lives; He knows the death march that lies ahead of us in order that there may be resurrection life; He knows the bearen, bleeding hearts beyond to whom He must minister through us–hence He is going to bring us to the place where we don’t care what happens: He is all that matters!”
Miles J Stanford, The Complete Green Letters.
When I was 16, I was responsible for coordinating and leading our youth group on a missions trip to Panama. While there, the Lord taught me more about myself and ministry, rather than what it meant to lead others in ministry. He knew that before anything–before assuming a role of leadership–I had more development to pursue within my own faith.
I remember one night. It was a night when the students were challenged. I felt God laying something specifically upon my heart. “You will be crushed”. That was all. What did it mean? It terrified me because I assumed it must mean a very specific stripping away of something or someone close in my life. From time to time, I wondered about this for years.
I realize now what God meant. I know what the stripping away has been, and must continue to be. It is indeed a stripping away of someone very close to me. It is a stripping away of myself. I must become less, that He becomes more. Not even, but I must become absolutely nothing, that He may become everything in me.
“He knows what the cross is going to mean in our lives”
“He knows the death march that lies ahead of us in order that there may be resurrection life”
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Romans 6:5
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” Romans 6:8
We are not only awaiting our physical death and eternal life with Him. This “death march” takes place now, here on earth. The cross looks different for each one of us. It is a stripping away; a crucifixion of all we are–our nature. But it is all the same in reality. The cross is our death and burial, that we may live, here and now, in the presence of our Lord and Savior who has made this possible.
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