|Nicholas L. Laning|
Through the lens of depression, God showed me much. Through that immense pain I came to a place of release. I gave God my life. It had gone so far away from where I wanted it to go, there was no turning back. There was this beautifully reckless pursuit of God's kingdom and glory.
However, as I have been healed, my eyes have turned from what is eternal, from what is heavenly, and become more focused on the here and now. It was impossible to get what I wanted when I was depressed, so just let her rip. But now? Now there is the temptation to build my kingdom here. My eyes have been pulled to the present. And it has made me miserable!!!
Because I want to get my way now. I am staking my claim here, now. When things don't go my way, when I don't get what I want, I haven't relinquished that to God. I haven't rested in the peace of knowing He has me. I know what I want, and either God will give it or He won't, and if not, then I become indignant, ungrateful, bitter, and angry. That is what my heart has been. Though I have much, there are things in my life that, if I am to build my kingdom here, to seek for my pleasure here in this life, that are way way off. If this life is about me, then it is wrong, terribly wrong.
Praise God! It isn't about me. Just last night I was laying in bed, unable to sleep. With a bitter and heavy heart I cried out, "God, help me! My heart is so bitter, and I don't know why! Return my heart to one of thankfulness and love. Please! My heart is not loving right now, Lord!" And, faithful as always, where I once couldn't see, all of the sudden I could. My eyes have stopped looking to eternal things. They have been focused here, and I was shown just how much that has affected me.
Today has been a new day. The outside world is the same as yesterday. The outer problems are still there. Yet, my heart has been changed. Today, heaven is on my heart. I see those things that I wish were different and I just give them to God. I openly relinquish them, and in doing so all is joy. Why? Because it will be redeemed. Paul's dream wasn't to get pummeled, shipwrecked, imprisoned, afflicted and then some. Yet, he lived a glorious life, one we should emulate, for the sake of the gospel of Christ! If I remember correctly, every single one of the twelve disciples died horrible deaths. Yet, they are called blessed.
23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Jesus doesn't deny that people will be honored differently. He doesn't say, "Hey, once in heaven, who cares? We're all the same." He confirms that some will be honored over others. If you don't know, where someone sat in Jesus' time was all about honor and recognition. It was a big deal. And then He goes on to reiterate what He said to me last night. To be great is not to be powerful, to be recognized here on this Earth. It is to be a SERVANT, to put yourself at the service of others, to willingly put yourself under them. Wow!
That doesn't sound at all like how I have lived my life these last few months. I have been entitled to the nth degree. Notice that the honor is to be near Christ in heaven. Well, by golly, I want to be as close as I can get. I want to be up there. I don't want to lose that because I clung to this brief little flash. Funny thing is, with my new lens of my heart, I am actually happier now, though that is not my goal. You have to love paradoxes.
My prayer for you and I is that we would not lose what we have in heaven for the sake of this wonderful, yet flawed, and brief moment in eternity we call our current lives. May our hearts understand what it means to live for Him. May we be crazy bold with out lives, forsaking all for His kingdom. May the Holy Spirit show each of us just what that means in our life. Amen.