A Heart Response to the Cross
November 20, 2016
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #518.
(Jennifer) Well, He uses the word, the word vengeance…
(Jennifer) Which I always take it as that, you know. Here comes the lightening bolt. Now there’s a pile of ash on the ground. That, and I said, “Lord, there aren’t enough piles of ash, so what are You doing?” And that was my…that really was, it was more than a complaint. The truth is, it was a gut level, “What are You doing?” It was an absolute accusation. “You’re dropping the ball…big time!”
(Martha) Not untypical to humanity.
(Martha) Not at all. Not unique. It is something we all have to face.
(Jennifer) Well, and…
(Martha) So, tell us how you did it.
(Jennifer) How I died to that? Well, for starters, God doesn’t use subtlety with me because it goes right over my head. My way of dealing with the cross, and I… More and more He’s showing me. I believe it’s very individual. This is just speaking for me. I need to be very clear on that. This is my relationship with God. This is how we operate. God always takes me down to the very bottom line with Him, which is, “I AM God and you are not.” So, there’s your surrender. Second of all. “If it pleases Me to prosper the worst of humanity, will you still follow Me?” And that’s a very strange proposition to put forward, because it sounds like heresy? It sounds like I’m saying, like God’s implying that He’s not a good Person, you know, or something like that. But it’s not. Basically God takes me down and says, “If your worst fear is true, if your worst fear about Me is absolutely true, will you still follow Me?” Because that’s how God and I deal, because that’s where we are right now in our relationship. And that puts it all on the line for me. That’s the ultimate decision. And at this point, then it just becomes, “Well, since You’re not fighting fair, fine. And I’m just gonna, You know, go through this, and I’m going to kick and scream, and I’m gonna cry a little bit. And I’m gonna have my heart response.” And then I’m gonna say, “My response is wrong.” And my heart response… For me, I don’t know how anybody else does it, but for me it’s a vocal thing. I’m very vocal with the Lord. And, you know, I put it out there. He knows it anyway. I put it out there, and sometimes just hearing that level of rage and vitriol and the rest of it kind of shocks me into, “Wow, my heart is really… That place is just dark. That place is just wicked. That place is just so against You.” And it’s realizing that that’s the honest heart response, but honesty doesn’t equal righteousness either. These are two very different things. You can be very honest and very ungodly. And that has been my experience with my heart. So, I get it out there, and then comes the letting go and the confessing and saying, “Forgive me, clean me. This is filthy, this is…” And sometimes it’s person by person. I bring up the people, because it’s never general with me. It’s not. There is always a specific target that has pierced and brought it to the surface, raging and boiling. And I go back, and He takes me down, and I lay it, sometimes I hurl it at Jesus’ feet, because I really don’t want to let it go. And it is incredibly painful, even though I know that at the end of it is right, because dying is not, it’s not painless for me, even when I’m ashamed of what it is I’m dying to. So…
(J) That’s a David move. It’s a King David Psalmist’s move. He was very honest and gut level with God at the beginning, and it always did exactly what you’re doing, where it turns and becomes praise of God, really; acceptance of His sovereignty, acceptance of His Lordship. You literally go through that whole process of, “Here’s where I’m at. Burn the villages, kill all the people including the babies,” and you get to the bottom of it. And then you say, “You’re sovereign, and You’re sovereign over this whole thing. And You have a purpose that’s beyond me, and I’m smaller and less understanding, but I trust You. I trust You, and I submit and surrender.” That’s got to be a cross. That was David’s cross, and that sounds just like yours. And the fact that what you’re saying about to have the smiting, to have the annihilation be the annihilation of the flesh and of that evil, so that they can become with love, so that they can become righteous and godly in the life of Christ. The fact that that never occurred to me and probably doesn’t occur to many of us that that would be the answer. I don’t know how many people could stand in line and say, “Oh yes, I absolutely thought that the vengeance was going to be love and bringing them to complete wholeness. Yes! That’s absolutely it!” No, when you’re being hurt, and you’re being wounded or someone you love is being hurt and wounded, the smiting and the annihilation, the flesh certainly joys in the fact that it’s going to be gruesome and brutal and bloody
(Jennifer) “You’ll regret this.”
(J) Yeah, “Die Hard with a Vengeance. Yay! I can’t wait.” But, you know, that to me, when you originally said that to us, I was shocked at that, because I said, “Oh, how wicked and unmerciful I’ve been, because I have seen the vengeance and the recompense, so to speak, as being, you know, salt the earth rather than love it.
(Martha) I’m thinking of two episodes – I actually can’t tell them – of where God came in with what should have been anger and retribution and accusation and injustice and gave humility. And the humility was the vengeance of God, because it decimated the person.
(Martha) One of the stories I’ve just learned about someone this morning, Christ’s humility of love effects the repentance and the melting and the decimating of that attack like nothing else would. It’s so powerful. The power of humility and love is greater than any power of vengeance to touch a person. That’s looking at it in a different way, Jennifer. Thank you. I’ve witnessed it twice, and I know that it’s real. To, “Love your enemies. Pray for those who despitefully use you,” is the humblest thing He asks us to do. To be like Him in how you approach your enemies, oh my goodness.
(Jennifer) I think, and I want to make sure that this is clear and why I told that story. This is the reward of the cross. I have very often, and I’m, really, I’m coming out of it now, but I have always had a tendency to focus on how poorly I embrace the cross, how messy it is, how selfish I am, how badly I go through the process. That has been my focus, and He has addressed that in many ways, because at the end of the day, it serves Him not a wit for me to focus on that. It’s just another way of focusing on me, so, you know. Probably why it’s so hard to give up. But there has never been a cross in my life that He hasn’t rewarded with Himself. And this was a glimpse of His heart. It wasn’t just wisdom, though it is that. It wasn’t just a higher perspective of something, although it did do that. It made me look at the world in a very different way. But it was a chance to see how He approaches the world in this way, another level of Him and His heart. And my selfish and mean – I’m going to use the word “mean.” I know there are worse words I could use, but really, it’s just mean – a mean way of looking at people and having no compassion particularly for the wicked. And it is, I’ll call it, I’ll call it the Jonah response, because Jonah is as real to me as anyone has ever been, very much so. But that’s who He is even in my cross response. Even when it takes days, and it should take hours or minutes, that doesn’t seem to be something He’s focused on. And Martha, you told me that years ago. You said, “God is not interested in the process. He’s interested in the, where your choice is made.” And when it comes to the cross, it’s, you know, saving yourself or dying. It’s really, those are your choices. “I’m going to say no to You, and I’m going to go on, and I’m going to save this part of myself and will keep it, because I value it more than You.” Or I’m going to die to it. “I’m going to let You have it, and I’m going to let you take it, and I’m going to refuse to carry it with me.” And that’s what He waits on, and He rewards it every single time. In some way I am rewarded, whether it’s with an explosive experience of His absolute love that just decimates me or with my life just changing. I won’t be able to look at evil people the same way. In fact, with all the election nonsense going on, I find that I’m reading articles with a completely different perspective and saying, “Lord, here’s a really nice person that I would love to wipe their life out. This is someone who I would love to see reach a point where their current life, that is their life with You, is a daily repudiation of everything that they were before, everything they’ve done before, everything that they’ve proposed before, lived for.” And that’s a very different way of looking at it, and it’s really enabled me to go through this last (I would say this really came down last Thursday or Wednesday) these last couple of days. And it’s made certain things that used to be really stressful to me no longer stressful. Now, I don’t know how long that will last. That could be part of the reward to be in the headiness of that new way of looking at things. But it just really takes the pressure off to say, “Ooooo,” you know, instead of, “Aaahhha, another one, ahhahh!” You know, instead it’s just targets everywhere, a target rich environment for the beauty that is vengeance, you know…