struck down, but not destroyed

18 Sep
I witnessed something amazing today. I caught a glimpse of how awesome it is to follow Christ.
This is a bit personal, but hopefully nobody would mind me sharing. I guess many of you know that about four months ago my (honorary) big little brother Steve was killed in an accident involving a dodgy Peruvian roof. Since then I’ve got to know his mum a lot better. She is a legend; more of a legend than I think even he knew. Anyway, I went home this weekend to watch her be baptised.
Her testimony was so powerful. She has been a Christian for about thirty years, but had never got round to being baptised. But in about February she felt God ask her to take this step of obedience and sign of commitment in response to a number of new things he had been teaching her. Several people thought she was a bit crazy, but hey. She planned the date for September so that all three of her sons would be able to be there…
When she lost Stephen she immediately thought, “well, I can’t go ahead with the baptism now”. But came to realise that actually, nothing had changed. She still belonged to God. God had still asked her to do this. It was a very personal thing between her and the Lord. Their relationship stands unchanged and unchangeable through anything that has or could happen, and that commitment is part of what baptism says. She shared how through the last few months, she has known more closely than ever Jesus walking with her, weeping with her, and being her strength in the blackest despair even when she can’t get her head around anything. She’s been learning on a whole new level just how much God loves her and how much he hurts too. So she stood up today, with two sons and a small bunch of Stevey’s friends representing him, I suppose, and said: YES, I belong to Christ. I will follow him. He is the Lord. He is my life. And I am his.
And you know what? The angels cheered. The hosts of heaven applauded. We laughed and cried. And the devil was sorely embarrassed as she utterly refused to listen to all of his lies and temptations. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Jesus kicks ass.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?.. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)
That is what the Lord does. And the gutsy, determined, gritting your teeth response which he enables us to stand up and shout like she did today, sounds something like this:
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
(how come?)
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
That, my friends, is faith. That is amazing Christianity.
God’s dealt with me similarly; being more compassionate and understanding than I can bear (since he’s more in touch with my emotions than I am), and at the same time prompting that sure and certain response of “yes, I will follow”. It’s not that I can promise to follow him forever in my own strength or muster up some amazing fanatical faith. I want to, because for one thing, to do anything else would be absurd and a huge betrayal to my bro who challenged and walked with me closer and further in the faith than anyone ever has done. Everything he taught me and shared with me and was to me, and the AMAZING thought of where he is now does inspire me. But I’ll never be him. I’m sitting here in his ridiculous Peruvian trousers but I’ll never fill his shoes. I wouldn’t want to; he had daft dress sense.
But rather, as we came to realise together, it’s not that we can be Christians because we have the strength to stick at it til the end, but that Jesus called us and would not have called us for nothing. "You did not choose me, but I chose you." He spent his lifeblood to get us and would not do that lightly. “He will keep you strong to the end… God who has called you… is faithful.” (1 Cor 1:8-9). HE is faithful. When we’re not, he doesn’t give up. See the disciple Peter, for instance. And after a while, like he did, you see that you could never go anywhere else now, cos he is all that means anything, and you love him.
“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73)
I admit haven’t quite got my head around all this, but that is how it seems. I will follow him forever. But not because I can. Rather because I can’t do anything else. He’s got me. Entranced. Fascinated. Safe in hands that don’t let go. After all, he’s a very good shepherd.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Cor 4:8-9)

One Response to “struck down, but not destroyed”

  1. Jr. omeni 04/10/2006 at 10:25 pm #

    hey,nice story.. Romans 8 is a powerful scripture.. it’s very rare to come across true christians these days (apparently it’s not cool anymore.. if it ever was) and it’s always nice to see someone share their testimony

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