Yesterday, Molly shared with you that she entered a season of deep emotional depression. I am thankful for her honesty. I’m so glad that she reached out to spiritually mature counselors for help. I’m glad she processed her emotions through the grid of God’s Word. And I’m excited for how God has used (and will continue to use) that season in her life to reveal to her more about Himself.
Maybe you are in that same place right now. Perhaps you wouldn’t label it depression, but you may be in a season where you feel like you’re struggling just to survive.
I’m entering a season of life where I’m experiencing losses that have threatened to “take me under” at times. Loss of dreams, loss of relationships, loss of stability, and loss of hope in some instances. I’m watching many of my parent’s lifelong friends pass away, and my favorite aunts and uncles are nearing the century mark.
It seems I’ve entered a season where so much that was once familiar is no longer.
But with every loss, and with the shifting of what once seemed solid, one thing has remained constant: my Father’s faithful presence. People are passing, relationships are changing, my body is racing toward old age, and yet, He is the same.
There is the strange but true paradox, that personal loss is an invitation to greater intimacy with God.
Truly knowing Christ requires suffering. While I love the idea of experiencing intimacy and resurrection power, the apostle Paul explains that resurrection power only comes after the cross.
Paul’s passionate cry in Philippians 3:7–9 to “know Christ” is followed by these words,
[box]“. . . and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death . . .” (v. 10).[/box]
The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings means that in order to experience real fellowship with Him (and this is where it gets a little uncomfortable), that will include suffering and being conformed to His death.
Intimacy with God comes through the school of suffering.
The difficulties I’ve faced this year in no way compare to Paul’s suffering. My challenges have been a little more ordinary and maybe a little like the ones you face. I’m not putting my life on the line for the gospel as Paul did, and maybe you aren’t either, but in our daily lives we have the opportunity to spread the same message he did. If we’re pressing in to Christ in the midst of those challenges, you and I can live a life that communicates to others that there is no greater joy than knowing Christ.
If you look at Paul’s life, it’s obvious that his intimate relationship with God, the personal way God led Paul, and the powerful way God used him in advancing the gospel, came with and through suffering for the gospel.
Intimacy with God comes at a price. It is worth it, but anything this valuable is costly.
Knowing God is what we were created for, there is no deeper joy.
[box]Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)[/box]
This is the cry of my heart, what I’m pressing into—developing a deeper “knowing” of the Lord; seeking a greater level of intimacy with Him.
What lessons have you learned from pressing in to know Christ more intimately?
Image courtesy of pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net