And He can, and does lift us out – John 10:10

It is not always the way that we expect, however.

The next morning after Jesus is in our bad days, bad weeks, bad years, bad decades was published, feeling more defeated and beaten down than ever, I went to my car to drive into work, and something else went wrong.  I said “You piece of sh*t” to the car, and to myself for allowing myself to get in that position (if I remember correctly, it was because my left front tire needed air.)

In any case, I was still feeling the wounds of years of adversity ripped open again by the car, the apartment complex, the car shop saying that my winter beater of a car needed $2000 worth of work to make it safe to drive, my lack of self-control, my bitterness coming up again, years of loneliness, the failures which are common for a single parent, the rejection of other Christians.  Finally, as all of that piled up, I said “Hey God, I think that You are treating me like a piece of sh*t, and that is why I haven’t been able to break that habit.”

Light dawned.  At first, I didn’t know what light dawned, just that light had come.  Truth had come.  Not that God was treating me like a piece of sh*t, but that at some level, I was believing that He was.

Now, how do you talk to God about that?

The answer is honestly, and actually, thankfully.  It was truth that I had been accusing Him, down deep.  I wouldn’t let that come near the surface.  So He forced it out into the open.  So, I acknowledged that was wrong.  I asked forgiveness, knowing that I will be forgiven because of what Jesus has done at the cross.  I hurt because I had doubly offended Him.  I had carried around a false belief about Him.  And that false belief had hurt Him because it kept me at a distance, and denied Him the intimacy with me that He wanted.  And I was thankful that He had brought it into the open.  A pressure was gone.

I didn’t do any more except wait.  He had revealed one thing, possibly He had more to reveal.

A couple of days later, I was having coffee with a friend.  We always gather with the expectancy that the Lord will be in our midst, and that He might speak either to us, or through us to one another.

Part way through our conversation the Lord broke into my consciousness with the word “I don’t think that you are a piece of sh*t.”  I started to laugh.  He is pretty amazing.  He values communicating, clearly.  He will even use our words.  And He knows just what to do to complete works that He starts.  I am not saying that He is done, I just know that that was another step.

We went on to talk about other things of the Lord, and we began to discuss John 10:10.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB)

Now, much of what the Lord had used to make me aware of the lie that I had believed about Him was because I have had things stolen, killed, and destroyed.  And not just a few.  But, John 10:10 is not a comparison, because the enemy can not be compared to Jesus.  The enemy is a piece of sand, and Jesus is a galaxy.  There is no comparison.

Nevertheless, for many years, I thought that it was my job as a Christian to always be on my guard so that *my* things wouldn’t be stolen, killed, and destroyed.  Slowly, I realized that the more I gave *my* things to Him, then they were His things, and He was far more capable of keeping them from being stolen, killed, and destroyed.  They only things was, that He didn’t seem to be keeping the things that I wanted to keep from being stolen, killed, and destroyed.

So He brought me back to the verse, and brought me to understand that it wasn’t a comparison.  The enemy stealing, killing, and destroying is a fact, rooted in who he is.  And, I was familiar with that.  Jesus was saying something important about Himself in that verse.  Abundance is rooted in Jesus’ character, who He is.  He is generous, plus.  He is abundance.  His generosity is limitless.  There is no scarcity in Him.

So, we were talking about John 10:10, and I was feeling the weight of the years that I had spent focused on the enemy and what he is capable of, and neglecting what Jesus is not only capable of, but determined to do.  Suddenly, I thought of my friend and his old but not vintage sports car, with its stiff suspension.  I also thought of the place where he goes to buy wine so that he can do the healthy thing of having a glass of red or 2 with his meal in the evening.  The road there is not the best.  It is well traveled and could use repaving.  And we live in the snow belt, so potholes seem to spring up in winter, like daisies do in spring.  And it is good to be in the alignment, and rim repair business.

What the Lord showed me was that things that are stolen, killed, or destroyed are like the potholes.  When we see one coming far enough in advance and traffic supports it, it is best to dodge it.  Other times, we hit it with a jolt.  But, the objective, getting to the liquor store is not in question, and really, for 99% of the trip, it is not jolts, it is just driving.  That is the way that His abundance works.  99% of the time, we are living from His limitless generosity.  And, the important thing is where we are going, and who is with us.  It is important to be real, when we get a jolt, but then to return to His abundance, and an awareness of His presence.

One other scripture that is worth mentioning, that gives meaning to this recent battle / jolts, and also illustrates His abundance is Isaiah 30:20.  He gave that to me, about 7 or 8 years ago.  I was trying to look up Is 30:15 for a friend, to give him encouragement, but got the wrong verse.  I knew immediately that the Lord had caused my memory to be slightly off so that He could give me a verse that was encouraging to me.

“Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.” (NASB)

Wow.  I will get to see my Teacher.  Hot dog!  That is abundance.