L. B. Cowman writes, “How can we expect to see life working in others, when we know so little about death working in us?”
From Death to Life
It is no secret that the Christian life involves a deep death of self. We cannot be made new if we insist on clinging to the old person and the old life we knew before God. So God, faithfully and lovingly, appoints and uses circumstances – which seem sometimes so unfair and unloving – to bring us into that death.
We are not likely, afterall, to find a grave and lie down in it on our own!
Yet, while those circumstances might bring us to the brink of death (whether emotional, spiritual, or physical), those same circumstances – when surrendered to in faith – are often the very catalysts which propel us into a new and meaningful life. They are, in essence, a perfect setup for the greatest display of His power, a power which will not only affect the onlookers, but which will change you and I forever, as well.
Resistance is Futile
I wonder if you can believe that today? As you and I look at our own lives and see great and terrible distresses, can we embrace this thought that what seems to be killing us has actually been appointed to bring forth a new kind of life and power? Could it be that resisting the pain and heartache and difficulty, and longing for a life of ease, might be prolonging the best thing that could ever happen to us?
I remember going through a time of intense shaking in my life. Everything, on every level, was shaken. Even my body underwent a physical shaking in God’s presence that probably seemed terrifying to those who stood around me. But I had been prepared for that time. I was not terrified, but thankful, because I knew it was the hand of God, bringing me to death’s door. Not because He wanted to destroy me, but because He wanted to give me a new life, a much more meaningful and powerful life. And room needed to be made.
Suffering and affliction, submitted to, have created that room. The shaking stripped away everything worthless and unrooted in me, and cleared the ground for the planting of the Lord’s vision in my life. But my testimony is not unique. Believers down through the ages have undergone such experiences. The pages of Scripture are richly decorated with the stories of men and women who lost all, who gave up all, only to end up with a much richer and more meaningful life.
Embracing New Life
Our hearts are made to agree with this process, whether our flesh cooperates or not. It is the Spirit of God, Who is Life, working in us. The new nature we’ve been given longs for a meaningful life, one with great impact and rich fruit to share with others who are suffering, quite possibly without understanding or comfort.
And so we are asked, rather than to wish for something different, to embrace what is before us and ask that God would accomplish whatever death is intended by it, so that we might see the new life He has waiting in the wings. We are called to be the path of least resistance against His perfect will, rather than to look for that path outside of His will.
If you are facing something painful or difficult today, would you consider that it may well be His way of leading you into an experience of death that promises to be followed by new life? God never stops at death. Life is always working in the backdrop of any kind of death we experience. We just need to look for it.
Mining for Treasure
Look for the promise of a meaningful and powerful life today in whatever seems to be hurting you the most. Don’t pray it away, but instead pray for God’s grace to help you find the pearls within the deep waters that are swelling over you. And as you, and I, do, may we become able to share in the testimony of men, of saints, like Paul, who said:
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, Who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9