There are a few phrases and verses in the Bible that might get lost in the shallow understanding of familiarity. It is too easy to say the Our Father from memory and hastily ramble through the lines of Psalm 23 entirely missing the fullness of meaning. The Bible is not social media or the morning paper. The truth that sets free and heals is much too precious to peek at in passing.
Do we read the words on trials and faith-testing with enough attention to understand? When misfortune hits – that one phone call that throws tears and pain your way, the conversation with partners, friends, parents or children that threatens to fail in correcting the relationship – could we focus and let the Word of God truly ”speak” knowledge and insight into our hearts?
Last time we spoke about the woman with the issue of blood. (Luke 8, Matthew 9 and Mark 5) She would not have been where she was, were it not for her problem that drove her to an exclusive audience with the Prince of Heaven, the King of all ages in the dusty streets of ancient Jerusalem of which we read twenty centuries later. Is it then so strange to praise God for whatever brings me to my knees before the Cross?
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12,13)
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. (The Message)
The literal translation of the words fiery trial is to feel lost in a strange land.
It is, however, not unexpected in the symbolism of the Bible, to regard struggle and personal problems as war that demands strategy and equipment to overcome. It is not the quick-prayer and instant-solution type of situation that leaves me in a state of impatient rebellion that God’s answer does not come the way I would have liked His response to be. Our lives should be smooth. We are the favoured children of the Most High God Who is able to level my way in an instant just the way I think should be good for me and my circumstances. I recoil in disappointment over my “bad luck” of illness, relational stress and other stumbling blocks on my path of life. How often had we discussed the impossibility of the adjective unanswered combined with the noun prayer?
There is no such thing as unanswered prayer!
God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan. (Psalms 34:15, The Message)
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)
This is the truth of God’s Word – believe it!
Jesus “comes” in every crisis, every tragedy, every disaster to fill your lamp with oil just like the Bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25. Our oil – the fullness of the Holy Spirit and insight into the words of Spirit and life of Jesus – is for NOW when our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the evil forces of the heavenly realm.
We need the “weapons” of Truth to “arm” ourselves in the Presence of the Almighty with the Word of Truth in which we stand in liberty to resist all the evil of our society as well as personal crises. The “weapons” of Truth could only be wielded when our ears are anointed to “hear what the Spirit says to the Church”. Ask God to heal your ears to be able to hear a rhema word – the spoken word of God revealed to us in Scripture.
The second part of the Scripture is super important.
…that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
What an amazing promise! God will reveal his glory. Glory is the full impact of the character of God. In the joyful searching to know the revelation of God himself we sit with Him in the valley of the shadow of death at the feasting table where my cup runs over, and my enemy looks on in envious astonishment. (Psalms 23)
Is it not worth it to seek the healing of our spiritual senses when we are struggling with physical issues? This is why the story of the healing of the blind man is such a powerful lesson. (Mark 8:22-26) Jesus spat on his eyes and laid hands on him, He asked the man what he saw. The man said he sees men like trees walking. In the Bible trees are symbolic of people. The spiritual insight of the blind man was healed before the physical healing of his sight took place. Jesus laid hands on him again before his physical sight was healed.
It is the remarkable process of healing. In the time of prayer and waiting, we are transformed by the deeper understanding and revelation knowledge that we receive. Our deep inner change is the true goal – we change into the likeness of Jesus. How else could we have the boldness to press through the “crowds” of prejudice, pride, distraction, self-centredness and arrogance to come to the place of a one-on-one conversation with the Most High God. It is our suffering that brings us to that place of high favour with anointed ears to hear the heart of our precious Saviour. His presence heals, but we need to move to be close to him.
The result of revelation knowledge is godly joy – joy that is not dependent on circumstances. It is the joy of Psalms 30, Habakkuk 3:18, Isaiah 65:19 and Zephaniah 3:17. How would you know that God dances over you? God dances over Jerusalem, his Bride, his Church – that is us. The word for joy in Zephaniah 3:17 is to jump up and spin around. Do you “see” God in a joyful dance? Ask him to heal your imagination and “look” again.
The reference is to Isaiah 28:16.
Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
Whoever believes will not act hastily.
No-one would have to run away, leave hastily or leave in shame, when you believe on the Cornerstone of God.
My response to this process of healing? Love.
We read on in the book of Peter.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Petrus 4:8)
Love that covers irritation, failure, bad judgment and disappointment.
I want to love this way Lord, but please help me in my weakness.