For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to take the holy advice of my Christian friends and find rest in my Savior. It’s proven to be one of most disturbingly painful experiences of my life thus far.
A few months ago, I told the Lord that I wanted to draw closer to him. He said, “OK,” then proceeded to drag down all of my internal supports and kick me onto my face. All of my usual coping mechanisms for dealing with life’s hardships were suddenly rendered null and void. I became incapable of carrying the burdens that I normally carried. Now I struggle to pray for myself, let alone anyone else. The light of joy that had finally begun to blaze in my heart weeks before has flickered and grown dark. Most of the time when I’ve tried to explain to others what’s going on with me, they stare at me like I have three heads. The grief and humiliation has been almost beyond bearing.
If there’s a level of brokenness beyond this, I don’t want to know about it.
The few times that I have been able to pray, I have asked God to help me enter His rest. Up until recently, though, the help didn’t appear to be forthcoming. Finally, in frustration, I asked God, “Will I ever enter your rest?”
I want to give a shout out to all of the men who have been reading these posts, specifically the male pastors who have offered words of praise and encouragement for my work on this blog. This one’s for you – because I think if we are to heal as a society, we need to minister to men as well as women.
Ok, guys, imagine this: You get to walk the earth with Jesus. Better yet, you get to be one of the twelve disciples. You’ve followed Jesus around for three years, seeing him do all kinds of amazing things. Earlier, you marched with him through the streets of Jerusalem while all of Israel had a party. And now you’re settling down to celebrate a big feast day together.
The end of the meal has come. You’re full of good food and even better conversation. Then Jesus stands up and begins to disrobe. Yes, you read that right. He’s getting naked. And now he’s bending down to take off your shoe. Naked. He says he’s going to wash your feet. Naked.
As you may recall from my last post, I mentioned the verse in Malachi that talks about God’s desire for food in His house. In modern times, many pastors have portrayed “food” in a figurative sense, meaning spiritual sustenance on the level of a sermon or discipleship. When we take a closer look at the scriptures, however, a more literal application comes to light:
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the…foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied…(Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
We also see Jesus himself feeding people. In Matthew 14, he feeds a crowd of over 5,000 men (not counting their wives and children) with only five loaves of bread and two fish. In Matthew 15, he feeds 4,000 with seven loaves and a few other fish. Jesus obviously cared about people’s physical nourishment. Still does.
Then we read in John 21 about his command to Simon Peter: “Feed my sheep.” Again, this verse has been interpreted to mean that Jesus was calling Peter to preach the gospel. To be clear, I think this is a reasonable interpretation. After all, Jesus called himself the “bread of life,” and said that whoever “eats this bread” will live eternally. But I think ministers have unfortunately been too quick to separate the physical aspect from this spiritual command. Continue reading →
I’m so ecstatic to be writing this post today! I just know it’s going to bring a great revelation to someone. I myself want to go whooping around the front yard with joy. But first, I have to tell you a story.
Several months ago (in the early summer) I was sitting in a Sunday morning service with a communion cup in my hand, listening to my pastor speak about the healing power of Christ’s blood. He said that it was possible to receive healing from communion if one had the faith.
At the time, I desperately needed healing. I had been struggling for 18 months with a digestive disorder that was becoming progressively worse. It had started as an occasional bout of diarrhea whenever I ate greasy fast food. But within a few months, it had devolved into any fast food. Then greasy food cooked at home. Then every night after dinner, no matter what I ate. The diarrhea was soon accompanied by crippling stomach cramps. I began to dread dinner. I cut pizza, sausage, bacon, ground beef and other heavy foods out of my diet. (I also had to cut out lettuce and ranch dressing, because that set me off, too. So no salad.) I began monitoring the amount of food I ate at night to prevent my stomach from becoming too full, another trigger. These changes reduced some of my symptoms, but did not eliminate them. I had just purchased a vegan cookbook, thinking that a drastic dietary change might be the only way to bring permanent relief. In the meantime, I had undergone a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, an ultrasound, and several blood and stool labs. The term “IBS” (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) was tossed around. But the doctors could not come to any definitive diagnosis. And for one problem they did manage to identify, they could not prescribe the antibiotic used to treat it. There was a nationwide shortage.