Facing and Embracing the Cross Before You
November 13, 2016
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #518.
(Carole) Well, I’m just thinking about what you said, John, and two things come to mind. The first thing is empathy. And it seems that I’ve watched Martha go through what she’s gone through—Julia, you, all of us on some level. But what comes out of that is a Holy Spirit empathy for someone else that is walking that same path. And when you’re going through this, it really is a, it’s a comfort to have someone truly understand and show forth that empathy. Because I think it is… I can have a tiny little thing wrong with my body, and it can be absolutely all consuming. And your mind can go to sixteen different places of… Really. I understand what you’re saying. It can be absolutely consuming. And so, that was the first thing that somehow through that suffering, what comes out is the Holy Spirit crushes that grape or whatever it is, that He crushes and out from that crushing comes more empathy and more love and understanding for someone who’s also going through a physical ailment, because you certainly understand it. But I think about Job, and at the end, the authority he gained to be able to pray for these men who so, really, assaulted him while he was down, kicked him while he was down and presumed that they knew what God was saying. And they presumed judgment on Job, and yet when it was all said and done, and Job saw that God was God, and he knew Him in a way experientially that he had never known Him before, that he was elevated to a place of such authority in prayer and intercession for others.
(Martha) It’s interesting and rather hidden in the story that apparently his friends who assaulted him in his illness became ill, and he was given the authority. And they couldn’t get well unless they went to Job. That’s a strange take on the story.
(John) Well, it was obviously a cross for Job, and he obviously embraced that cross. He went through it and embraced that cross and embraced the death. He didn’t stand up and curse God and die. You know, that would be, you know, it was very natural and very common to have that response, but going through what you went through because that was his own wife that… I mean, how’s that going to benefit her to have her husband die? But she was just like, you know, as a natural response, “just get up and curse Him and die.” So he obviously embraced his cross, but he did come out of that cross with a resurrection life, and everything was restored multiple to him because of that. And we don’t usually think that illness can be a beneficial thing. And even if you’re going through chastisement, even if you’re going through training or teaching, and God is using illness, I don’t know about you, but He can get my attention (snap!) like that with illness. “Oh, my, oh yeah, ok, IIIIIIIIII’m right on it.” And so, the authority that came from his life was because he embraced that cross.
(Jennifer) The cross that, a cross that I’ve wrestled to surrender to, to embrace, to die in the last three weeks, one of the big ones is… I would like to be noble and say it’s my desire for justice and my rage when I see injustice… But the truth is I took a very specific complaint to the Lord, and I said, “You know, the only people who I actually see repeating what they sow are Your people.” I reap what I sow more now than ever in my whole life. Honestly, or maybe I’m just aware of it, I’m not sure, I’m not sure which. But, you know, that is what I see. And I said, “I look out and I see, where is the whirlwind for evil?” That’s what I said, basically. And the Lord, as He always does, as He’s kind to do, He showed me that there is that aspect of my heart, and has always been there. But there is a blood-thirstyness behind that. And there was very much a desire for vengeance in me. And I say that not even really as a confession, because, “Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord. I will repay.” I don’t believe that a desire for vengeance in and of itself is necessarily sinful, unless God is sinful. So, you know, He said, “Vengeance is Mine, I’m going to take care of it.” And that was something that I had to die to, because the truth is I wanted to be the arm of that. I wanted to see that on my timetable. I wanted to have that, and it seems like a very small thing to die to, but it has not been for me. And on the other side of that, it’s so strange, and that’s the reason I say that. He has shown me in the last week just one of the most amazing pictures of a vengeance that I never even considered, and that He does in fact want me to be a vehicle for. And that is the vengeance of loving someone, committing to someone, praying for someone until they are removed from the enemy’s clutches, and the old them is wiped from existence. And it’s funny because, He, God showed that with me in my new creation, the Jennifer that was, and she was very cruel and horrible. She’s gone. She has been utterly defeated. There is no legacy for her. There is no place in the world for her. She is wiped from all that is. And that is a pretty complete vengeance. And He is showing me that more and more. But what strikes me as we’re talking about the cross, is that He took something that was selfish, that was love of the world, and that it was hate of the world, same thing, focus on the world. And He asked me to die to it. And when I did, He gave me so much of a bigger picture. And in a very real way, He gave me something that eclipses anything that was in that old, any sort of desire for righteousness, for justice, for truth to prevail, all those things. In God’s perspective they’re all incredibly tiny, because He is after something so much bigger. And the reward that He’s given me is that He shared with me a perspective that I didn’t have. He, instead of doing what He should have done, which was shut me up in a room until I was reminded that He is God, and I am not, and I really should get over it. Period. Instead, He gave me a glimpse of something so much bigger than I am. And…
(Jennifer) The redemption, but that the redemption is so much more than we think. In other words, most people are driven in some way to have a legacy, to have a reputation, a standing, something that is beyond just them, something that goes out there to other people, to be known for something. Men and women in different ways, but that is a big driver. That is an ambition, a very human ambition. And I had never before even considered that God’s perspective on it was that, “Is there a vengeance more complete than wiping out the whole of someone’s…?” Because I can’t say that anything that I do from this point on belongs to me, so what is it to wipe out the whole of someone’s legacy, the whole of someone’s reputation, the whole of what they’ve done, what they’ve built, what they haven’t built, who they’re known as? I don’t think there’s a more complete vengeance that I can think of, because everything in my life from now on – the Jennifer that was is gone – everything in my life from now on is Jesus Christ. That is the only legacy I will ever leave from now on.
(Martha) So vengeance… Are you saying that vengeance against your old woman was to annihilate her and bring in a new person? Is that what you’re saying? Love overcame.
(Jennifer) Yes, exactly. It annihilated her. And if there’s someone out there that I’m looking at and saying, “Why aren’t you reaping the whirlwind?” The Lord has given me a more complete look at why it is we would love our enemies, why it is we would bless our enemies, why it is that we would approach that. It’s not out of some innate goodness that I have. He is the only good. But even with that, what He’s showing me is there is a little bit more to it than just that. Like with everything with Him, He’s so big and all encompassing. And He is saying, “What do you think that I mean when I say, “Vengeance is Mine?” He uses the word. The word vengeance is used.
(Martha) Punishment, which…
(Jennifer) I always take it as that, as, you know, here comes the lightening bolt and 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, 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?