I just finished the book, The Heavenly Man. What struck me about it was Brother Yun’s use of dates. I found myself paralleling his life (not in what I suffered, but what I was going through at the time of his suffering.) So much of his imprisonment years made up my growing in Jesus years.
All that suffering for the gospel made me realize my own resistance to suffering. When we lived in France as church planters, we encountered what I thought was severe trials. Looking back, I know it was severe, particularly as we were diagnosed with PTSD after one year on the field. Still, we were not beaten. We were not imprisoned.
Oh to live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To embrace suffering. To see it as the refining fire God intended it to be.
I nearly kissed the ground when our family returned home to the United States. We’d been beaten, battered, and spit out. And to be honest, these past three years stateside have been painful–full of healing and disillusionment and pain. And yet, after reading Brother Yun’s book, I’m stirred again. Maybe I’m ready again to go back into the battle. Perhaps.
But I do know this: God is calling me to surrender my will, my heart, my desires, my stress, my ministry, my writing career, my hopes, my dreams, my comfort up to Him. Fully. Completely. Starkly. I need to wear out my knees again. Oh, dear Jesus, how I need to lay it all down.
I’ve lived too long in a comfort filled life, so much so that I’ve become consumed by worry about stupid things. How is it that I can’t trust God to provide for college for my eldest child? And who is to say that’s even the path for her? And why do I fret about units sold in my corner of the publishing world? Why do I stress about things like this when my brothers and sisters suffer loss and persecution around the world? Why do I run to comfort when my Lord bids me to come and die to self?
I believe it’s because I’ve tasted the brunt of spiritual attack while we were in France. From every possible side it came, unrelenting. It bludgeoned me so much that I lost myself, then shut down. And I must’ve made some sort of vow that I didn’t want that to happen to me again.
But in running away from pain and preferring comfort over lordship, I’ve lost my dependence on God. Dear Jesus, forgive me. Please. Help me to enter back into the race, counting the cost, not being surprised by the fiery ordeal around me. Help me to remember our dear friend’s counsel to us after we returned from France: “Nothing significant in the Kingdom happens unless there’s death.”
The problem is, I want life, but don’t want to pass through death to get it. I need to be that little seed that drops into the ground and is willing to die, to be covered over, to have no reputation. The restlessness in my spirit is risen. The frustration at myself for busying myself with petty worries is high. Oh Lord, help me step into Your path, Your Lordship, Your suffering. Amen.