Dear Abba, I have had glimpses of enlightenment, quicksilver encounters that have allowed me to say a little more of who You are. But they’ve just been the tip of the iceberg. Give me the eyes to not merely notice but see. Give me the ears to not only hear but listen. Give me the courage to further touch Your scars. I want to taste more and digest more of the riches of the mystery that is You. Help me come to my senses, and know You better.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ…. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. … Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. … So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in 2 Corinthians 4
Oh beloved, it is true. The troubles of the 1st worlder are real. And, though we share most of the same heart issues as anyone who has ever breathed, there is a draining effect to the high-speed existence that an urban dweller takes on.
We don’t know how to be quiet. And when we are quiet, the environment of the average megacity is given to noise and clatter. Especially in The Middle Kingdom, where this fool of a writer now resides, can be noisy in so many ways. Firecrackers and works pop. Barking dogs and screaming kids howl. The incessant honking of cars creates an acoustic wallpaper for the mind.
Beyond this, the simplicity of village life is replaced with that which is somewhat of a hubbub. Even just getting some food put together, while far from difficult, is often something that needs to be done at the end of a day that started before light.
Solitude is hard to find as well. And while the city in which I dwell is much easier to navigate than the last, the 15 million souls in the area do press in. It is very difficult to find a place where one is truly alone here. And this adds to the velocity at which the emotional ‘tank’ of human being draws down towards empty.
Can we see it?
The apostle Paul, understood these dynamics. He was an urbane and urban man. He knew the overcrowding of the mind and schedule and space that can come from living in the high-speed lanes of life. He knew what it felt to be overwhelmed by the news and the politics around him. And, on top of the urban push, he felt the pushback that comes from others when one speaks the Truth.
He knew that we are just clay vessels. He knew that we are subject to failure. And he knew what it was to be so tired that he felt as though he wanted to give up. But, look at the passage. Something was filling this man’s heart faster than the energy could drain out.
Courage is a beautiful word. It is a word that can easily be rendered as: “a heart full.” Paul was courageous. His heart was brimming with something: Hope. Hope for today, and a hope so full of Hope for forever that it lifted him to his feet in the worst of circumstances and set his pen to dancing on the scrolls of so many of his letters.
So, are you tired? Are you worn out? It happens. And the temptation is to allow the emotional and physical drain of urban living to drive down the indicator on the spiritual as well. There is no need for this, though. It can be the exact opposite. One’s spiritual inner man can, if we focus on our Helper, spill over the other way.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to live courageously.
Oh, If only once we could be convinced of God’s goodness towards His children and of His desire to reveal Himself to them! We would no longer seek out own selfish desires. We would not be so quickly discouraged from pursuing what He is so longed to give us: Romans 8:32 – “He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things?” We only need a little courage and perseverance. Actually, we have enough of both in our earthly affairs, but none at all in the only thing that really matters (Luke 10:42).