Our part in the Savior's Death

I admire my son's ability to say what's on his heart in less than a thousand words. I don't have that gift. I always use too many words. A friend of mine told me last night that she reads Danny's blog (abundantredemption.blogspot.com) more than she reads mine. I could take a wild guess as to at least one of the reasons why. ; )

In the book, "Living the Cross Centered Life," there is a quote from John Stott that says: "We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate, but our attempt will be futile, as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands."

Mahaney asks the reader whom they most identify with in the scene of Jesus' crucifixion. And then he explains where in the picture he sees himself; in the angry mob, "screaming, 'Crucify Him!'"

He goes on to say:

That's who we should all identify with. Because apart from God's grace, this is where we would all be standing, and we're only flattering ourselves to think otherwise. Unless you see yourself standing there with the shrieking crowd, full of hostility and hatred for the holy and innocent Lamb of God, you don't really understand the nature and depth of your sin or the necessity of the cross.

Later in the chapter, Mahaney brings us from our sin back to grace with these words:

But convincing you of sin is not my ultimate purpose here; rather, I want to convince you of grace. For when you're deeply aware of your sin, and of what an affront it is to God's holiness, and of how impossible it is for Him to respond to this sin with anything other than furious wrath -- you can only be overwhelmed with how amazing grace is.

Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.

This morning, I find myself wanting to write from my heart. My heart is heavy. Many people close to me are hurting. I hurt for them. I can fix nothing. For the majority of my life, I have felt compelled to try to fix everything or be actively engaged in trying to fix things. For once in my life, I don't feel compelled to do anything but wait on God and pray that He will teach us what He wants us to learn. One of the most effective ways we learn and grow is through suffering. We want to resist it and avoid it. But it's necessary and it's for our good. It's exciting to me to know that the pain will be productive and I will not regret it. And in the end, there will always be grace.

I was sharing with my small group last night that I do not regret any of the pain in my past and I would not change a day of it even if I could. Some of the most valuable life lessons I have learned have been a direct result of the things I have suffered. Evidently, God saw the most effective ways to teach me certain lessons and He utilized them for my good. I'm thankful He loves me that much. And the joy of my present is sweeter, so much sweeter, because I have lived in those difficult places, often feeling they would never end. But they did. And while I waited for each storm to pass, there was mercy and grace.

As time goes on, I am learning more and more how crucial it is for us to look at our own hearts and see the log in our own eyes rather than expose the faults of others. I do not believe that God is ever punishing us. But I do believe that He humbles us. And while that is never an easy process, I want to submit to it willingly. I will never increase in humility if I resist the difficult process of being humbled. Sometimes we feel humiliated by a misrepresentation of the truth. But Jesus did not correct every untruth that was spoken about Him. And He is my example. I want to resist my impulse to explain and defend myself every time I feel misjudged or misunderstood. To my amazement, I am seeing how God is gradually delivering me from the desire to do that. If you know me at all, you know that's a miracle. I have spent my whole life trying to explain my heart to anyone who would listen because I have pretty much always felt misunderstood by the closest people to me. I cared far too much what other people thought of me. You cannot deliver yourself from this.

I'm so thankful for the growth God has been bringing to my life. Specifically, I notice that I keep hearing the message of the gospel being inaudibly spoken to me in response to difficulties and stress. My old internal tapes are still there. But the gospel drowns them out. Not long ago I would feel crushed by events out of my control or things said about me that were not true. But something exciting is happening inside. It is the transformation of the Holy Spirit. I can trust God and rest, knowing He has a purpose in everything. It will all be okay. I don't have to try to fix anything because He is in control.


Anonymous said…
Gosh, you wait? :>)

Pennsylvania is saying hallelujah!

It is hard, but remember the OT words of the prophet "Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Janette said…
Oh yes He IS in control, Shari. Amen to that. He knows and sees all and I'm thankful He's a righteous and just God.

The growth I'm witnessing in you is amazing and inspiring. You're forever living the example of the graciousness I hope to achieve during hardships. I know Jesus is our ultimate example but it's always helpful to have someone in your life that models His example in everday situations.

I'm so glad you're my friend...
Shari said…
Thanks for your reassuring words, my friends. I love and appreciate you very much.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Shari, I needed to read this post today. I am struggling with things that are so far beyond my control it leaves me completely helpless. Which is the only way we can approach the throne of mercy as broken helpless people in need of a Savior.

I too need to rest in the Sovereign grace of our Lord and Savior.

God's Will, will be done and I want to rest in the righteousness of Christ and the goodness of God. Some verses that I need to read and take to heart today:

"...now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him." Ephesians 3:10-12

"I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things." Isaiah 45:6-7

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

"The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, 'Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand." Isaiah 14:24

"God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Romans 6:17-18

"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever." Hebrews 13:20-21

God bless,

Todd E.
Shari said…
Todd, thanks for your feedback and also for the good scriptures! I'm sorry you are also struggling against things that are beyond your control. I know the helpless feeling you described.

I received four new books from Amazon today.
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
The Great Exchange: My sin for His righteousness
The Discipline of Grace
Respectable Sins: Confronting the sins we tolerate

The authors are Jerry Bridges, Bob Bevington and Tim Challies. I don't know which one to read first! But I'm sure I will get lots of inspiration from these! You are currently reading The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, aren't you?
Danny Bryant said…
discipline of grace is great.
Anonymous said…
I finished the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. It took me about a week to read it.

Maybe you could start out with that one and test what you learned about discernment on the other books.

Todd E.
DeeDee said…
"And the joy of my present is sweeter, so much sweeter, because I have lived in those difficult places, often feeling they would never end. But they did end. And while I waited for each storm to pass, there was mercy and grace."

This is SO sweet, it made me cry with JOY. Oh, how I relate to these words. I could have written them myself. We are blessed beyond measure. What a beautiful post. It made my day and soothed my bleeding wounds. Thank you Shari for taking the time to share your heart.