I know, I know. My entries have been a little intense lately. I have to let the cat out of the bag and tell you that today’s blog is not about ice cream or cotton candy, either. But it is about what God is showing me and what He is doing in my family. But there is a rainbow; a double rainbow even! I took four or five pictures of this double rainbow arcing over our home back in 2004. God is faithful to keep all of His promises. Of that I am certain. Here is what I am learning about the road to His faithfulness:
Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambrai during the 17th century, was the advisor to a group of believers who lived at court during the reign of Louis the Fourteenth. He urged them to live lives set apart from the decadence and debauchery surrounding them. It is sounding relevant already, you say? I agree. This is from his fourth letter to his friends there.
“ I cannot express to you how deeply I sympathize with you in your time of suffering. I suffer right along with you, but still, it cheers me up to know that God loves you.
And the very proof that God loves you is that He does not spare you, but lays upon you the cross of Jesus Christ. Whatever spiritual knowledge or feelings we may have, they are all a delusion if they do not lead us to the real and constant practice of dying to self. And it is true that we do not die without suffering. Nor is it possible to be considered truly dead while there is any part of us which is yet alive. This spiritual death (which is really a blessing in disguise) is undeniably painful. It cuts “swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.” The great Physician who sees in us what we cannot see, knows exactly where to place the knife. He cuts away that which we are most reluctant to give up. And how it hurts! But we must remember that pain is only felt where there is life, and where there is life is just the place where death is needed. Our Father wastes no time by cutting into parts which are already dead. Do not misunderstand me; He wants you to live abundantly, but this can only be accomplished by allowing Him to cut into that fleshly part of you which is still stubbornly clinging to life…
Do you fear that He may not be able to supply to you from Himself that help which He may have taken away on the human level? And why does He take human help away, except to supply you from Himself, and to purify you by the painful lesson?
…So give yourself up to His plans. Allow yourself to be led where He wants to lead you…”
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us…” (II Corinthians 1:8-10).