Continued from Seasons Blending
Jesus, Good Shepherd, taught us everything about His character that we wouldn’t know except that He, in all His goodness, led us all the way through this past season, and into the sunshine of a new season.
And how exactly did He do that?
While I’m inadequate to fully understand God’s extraordinary measures to successfully bring His children from birth to life eternal, I’ve contemplated three particular ways my dear man and I have experienced His care for us.
- His Presence
- His People
- His Promises
So just to summarize from the previous post, we’ve lived what feels like a long time in the heat and drought of a particularly challenging season. Metaphorically, we would call this a trying summer season. And just when we’ve wondered if relief would ever come to us, and we’ve sometimes doubted the promises we thought we received, the temperatures have begun to cool and a shift is gently blowing through on the fall breeze.
We are grateful, and we speak intentionally about learning to celebrate through the blend of one hard season folding into the refreshment of a new season.
So how exactly has Jesus, Good Shepherd, taught us everything about His character that we wouldn’t know except that He, in all His goodness, led us all the way through this past season, and into the sunshine of a new season?
“You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Psalms 16:11 NIV
My dear man and I grew up in faith families holding similar values, but we walked completely different pathways. The one truth we held in common when we married is that Jesus, the Living Son of God, saves us through His blood-spilled sacrifice on the cross and His resurrected victory over death. That’s a great place to begin a relationship.
And yet, our upbringings, traditions, and experiences with faith were so completely different that faith became our greatest place of struggle. We, unfortunately and stubbornly, opened the door of argument over our differing styles rather than uniting over our common values and beliefs. Suffice it to say, the devil had a hay day cultivating lies and helping us dig wider trenches between us.
(It’s a truth that is tough to admit. However, we feel called to testify to this truth because we are beginning to see that spiritual warfare and dug in trenches are far more common in marriages than we realized.)
And then 2020 tore through history like a devastating tornado turning our whole world and all its cultural norms upside down and inside out. Never did I think that in my lifetime I would see churches in America closed, locked, and empty. This was a sobering reality for those of us who too lightly enjoy our freedoms.
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job 19:25, 27 NIV
Despite everything wrong in our world during 2020, our Shepherd Jesus showed Himself good and perfectly on time. He met us in our family room in front of our television screen with worship music filling our hearts and bringing us together to our knees in repentance and worship. This was our time of personal revival.
We were sequestered together. There were no traditions, and no rules of worship. We were not in a denomination. There was no corporate gathering. Comparison was of no value, and we had no need of judgment. It was just us with Jesus and His Word, and for the first time in more than three decades, we together laid our souls bare in prayer, worship and gratitude before our faithful Savior.
His presence was with us. We became more aware than ever that we needed Him and could not go on without Him. All of our striving, planning, and determination needed to fall under His Lordship.
It sounds so strange, but after so many years of trying to live united with room for our differences, we surrendered to being united in Christ. He, Christ, would be the binding agent for the individuals He created, and brought together in covenant union.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:13 NIV
His presence has carried us, and taught us more about His character than anything we’ve ever learned from being in church, or from lessons taught by men and women. We love the church, and we love the body of Christ. We believe in corporate worship. We are members of our church, and serve our community alongside our brothers and sisters in love and devotion.
But nothing will ever purify us like His presence.
Stay tuned for His people next time.
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
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