Monday, May 21, 2018

A New Word (and Hope) For My Inner Self

I keep telling our home church that our growing up in Jesus requires us to look for God’s work in our inner selves.[1] God is seeking our attachment to him in love-relationship that fellowships with him from the deepest parts of our lives.

When we make this our encouragement, we have to be ready for God to shine his light into hidden places where we have buried sins, hurts, disappointments, regrets, traumatic experiences, and anything else we didn’t know how to handle at the time they occurred.

One of my favourite expressions in this regard is to look at it as God confronting us with ways we do not yet know him in order that we would ask him to satisfy our longing to know him in those ways.[2] Painful life-experiences typically shape our inner selves with wrong beliefs about who we are to God, and so God will lift the cover on our hurts to show us what is going on in relation to him.

This morning I came across a word in Father’s Book that I had never applied to myself (I mean, as best someone my age can remember, or to the extent to which it impacted me today!). This was the expression: “he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”[3]

The word that stood out was “overwhelmed”. God was concerned that one of his children was in danger of becoming overwhelmed by excessive sorrow, and he was speaking to his family about how to rescue the situation.

It suddenly hit me that I did not know God as a Father who cared that his children could get overwhelmed.  

In a way, I didn’t even know that this was an issue with my inner self until it stood out to me. To see that God was concerned that someone in the church could become overwhelmed shone into a heart that had never recognized the touch of a Father caring about a child feeling that way.

There was an immediate expression of both sorrow and comfort in the promised blessing of, “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”[4] The fact that I had been numb to God’s concern for my seasons of overwhelm means that I have missed out on the comfort I would have felt in so many experiences if I simply knew that my Father was concerned for me in this way.

I’m not sure all the differences this will make to the rest of my life (assuming I am a good student and will constantly apply this gift of grace to my relationship with God).

However, the way it touches me right now is as a little child who has just had my attachment-light turn on to something about God I have never attached to before. Now I feel in my innermost self a longing to find out what it is like to cry out to God in my overwhelm with the certainty that he already sees it, he already cares about me in the midst of it, and there is some way he is working both the overwhelm, and my seeking of him, for much greater good than my overwhelmed little heart can imagine.

For the moment, I am simply going to bask in the light of this wonderful truth, that my Father cares when I am overwhelmed. Perhaps he is preparing me for something that will require me knowing him in this way.

However, perhaps he is simply speaking to a wound within my soul that needs to be healed with the soothing ointment of his Fatherly love touching something within me I didn’t even know was there.

It is sad that little children become so used to life without something they need because they have no capacity to imagine that there are better things than what they have known.

It is such a comfortingly joyful discovery to find that Father-God has cared about our hidden needs before we even knew they were there, and gently leads us to know him better on a daily basis so that our orphan-minded little hearts constantly find new treasures of our adoption as his sons.

I am thankful for Father’s gift of grace to me today. Have you received yours?

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] In II Corinthians 4:16, Paul differentiates between the outer self and the inner self. In Ephesians 3:16 he teaches what he prays for believers in relation to the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our inner beings (context is Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21).
[2] The first four Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-6 definitely show the progression from facing our poverty of spirit, mourning anything wrong with us (including what we lack in relationship to God), meekly accepting we are not the ones to fix ourselves, and so hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of God and his work in our lives. The fact that Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount in this way gives us ample encouragement to watch for how God exposes the poverty of something inside us in order to lead us to hunger for the fullest and richest experience of knowing him that is possible this side of heaven.
[3] II Corinthians 2:7 (context of II Corinthians 2:5-11).
[4] Matthew 5:4

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