Friday, July 23, 2010

Playing Dead

The other night I found myself unable to sleep, and so I came out to the kitchen to finish up some dishes and just talk with God. What He revealed to me in those moments is something that has stuck with me for several days thereafter, leaving me with a desire to really internalize it and see how it needs to be applied with my life.

Life has been tough, lately. Not to go into too much detail, but this present economic situation coupled with circumstances that are beyond our control have us in a very difficult place. Being in that place with a son on the way has been a great test of our faith, our hope, our endurance, and our resolve. As I was praying my way through the dishes, I found myself saying to God, "OK, Lord, I understand that You allow these situations in order to teach us to lean on You; but I feel like we have been leaning on You in this for some time now, and we are still not seeing deliverance from the situation."

Instantly, I heard in my heart, "There is a big difference between 'leaning on God,' and pulling the covers up over your head saying, 'Please wake me when we are on the other side of this and everything is okay.'"

Ouch. "Is that what I have been doing, Lord?" Suddenly I found myself face to face with the realization that - even in the aftermath of miscarriage, of my husband losing his job, of becoming pregnant again only to find out that my husband's unemployment was being cut to only a fraction what it was before, of learning that obstacles to his job search were going to take a miracle to be removed - I had still refused to die.

I have been trying to figure out how we could posture ourselves in such a way as to finally achieve the much-needed break through that we sought. Spoken out loud, it sounds horrendous to admit that we have been trying to figure out which button to push in order to find ourselves free of this mess. God laid it very strongly upon my heart, though, that Galatians 2:20 does not say, "I have been crucified with Christ, and since I played dead just the right way, He let me off the cross." No, instead, it says, "For I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Jesus did not say, "If any man wishes to be my disciple, he must take up his cross, and after he has taken five steps, I will relieve him of it." He said, "He must take up his cross and follow me." Where did Jesus go? To His death. Yes, he was subsequently resurrected, but he had to really, truly die first. If we are following Christ, we are following him to death.

As Christians, we really like to think of it as "through death," as though we will pass through death entirely intact. If this is the case, Christ's sacrifice was for nothing. He came to liberate us from our sin, and until we die to it, our sin is very much a part of who we are. We do not face death simply so that we can say that we have followed Jesus. We face death because we are desperate to die to our flesh, taking on the new life of Christ, along with His righteousness.

Dead men cannot scheme, they cannot posture themselves, they cannot seek their own benefit. They are dead. The world is meaningless to them, and they are lost to the world. When brought from death into life, the New Man lives for God's glory alone. Not for a roof over his head, not for comfort and riches; the New Man lives to show God's truth to the world.

God will be glorified in the world, and He will be glorified in our current situation - whether it is because we surrender to Him in it, die to our desires, and find our deliverance there; or because living on our own strength and for our own glory destroys us. God will have His glory, because He is the Lord and He is worthy of it. If we are to come up on "the right side of things," it can only be because we have died to our own plans and been reborn to live for His glory alone.

I have been asking God, in the week since that encounter with His Truth, to show me what it means to really lean on Him in our own situation. Not to scheme and plan, trying to find a way to make ends meet by our own endeavors, and calling that leaning on Him; not to hide under the covers until we see our deliverance; but to truly trust in Him for our daily bread, and all the rest. To seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, fully content in Him and totally trusting that "all these things" will be provided for by merit of His faithfulness alone.