26 April 2010

When Dark Things Bump Your Soul

As a counselor I have determined that when God puts me in a position to teach on a subject it's a sure bet that the topic is going to be an area I most need some soul work. I have been studying fear and anxiety for the past several weeks and it has been invaluable to me, both in equipping me as a counselor and equipping me for life. You cannot study anxiety and fear without studying their remedy, grace. God's cleansing grace found only in Jesus' atoning sacrifice. The grace extended to believers on a moment by moment basis is the balm for our souls but we too often don't recognize it. We think deliverance from fear and anxiety should look like deliverance from trial and suffering and dark things that bump our souls.

"It is good to understand that Christ's service never did secure a man from all the ills that flesh is heir to and never will. If you are a believer, you must reckon on having your share of sickness and pain, of sorrow and tears, of losses and crosses, of deaths and bereavements, of partings and separations, of vexations and disappointments, so long as you are in the body. Christ never undertakes that you shall get to heaven without these. He has undertaken that all who come to Him shall have all things pertaining to life and godliness; but He has never undertaken that He will make them prosperous, or rich, or healthy and that death and sorrow shall never come to their family" J.C. Ryle

Anticipating suffering alone isn't going to keep you from fear and anxiety. It's likely to cause it. What we should do is expect the remedy without presumption and with great gratitude. Do you anticipate God's grace? I don't. I trust Christ to get my soul to heaven but figure he's leaving the details leading me there to my own devices. Oh, I read Future Grace by John Piper and it's a wonderful resource, but I too often forget the things I need to remember most. In his book, Running Scared, Ed Welch describes grace this way: "When you think about grace, your world is no longer one of fate, karma or a deistic passive god. The God of grace is very personal and active. He is especially attentive to those who are needy, and he delights is giving gifts and power to them." A little further down the page he has this gem: "To receive grace is to receive the Spirit, to receive the Spirit is to be given the kingdom of the Spirit; to receive the kingdom of the Spirit is to receive everything imaginable under the reign of King Jesus, including: love; joy; patience; gentleness; power to fight sin; adoption as God's children; goodness; freedom; power to serve others; self-control; faithfulness; presence of God; fruitfulness; no condemnation; promise of future perfection; peace, truth wisdom; the mind of God; unity; and life. "

Can I get an amen?

Philippians 4:6-9
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.


Victoria Lynch said...

Amen, Rozie!

Hobster said...

since you asked, guess I'd better give the amen that I usually just think after reading your stuff