It was also like this for St. Jerome when he translated the Bible. Everyone was his master. He alone was entirely incompetent as people, who were not good enough to clean his boots, judged his works. This is why it takes a great deal of patience to do good things in public for the world believes itself to be the Master of Knowledge, always putting the bit under the horse’s tail, and not judging itself for that is the world’s nature. It can do nothing else.
~ Martin Luther, from An Open Letter on Translating
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” … Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that you always hear Me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent Me.”
~ Jesus, King of The Universe, in John 11
Oh beloved, it is true.
This fool of a writer is in a bit of a crisis. I have come to the end of a road that i thought might be the the last road i would travel. Thirty years of a dream came to a culmination in some preaching in a room full of people who were hostile to the message. It was nearly as prophesied to me all the way back in my undergrad years, and 9,400 miles away.
But my own failures, and the failures of a great many people around me have brought this chapter to a close. Lies, mismanagement, intense spiritual battle, and giant shifts in the geopolitical landscape have – at least for now – snuffed out a dream.
Honestly, I am a soldier of the cross. Any of you who know me, either sense His Presence at work in my life, or you are repelled by the stench of death that rebounds back off of me as you breathe your own breath exhaled towards me. I have entered the advanced training schools of His Great Commission. There is very little of my own will left. I only want His Life to be my life. I actually do not desire to do, be, say, eat, sleep anything that is not of Him.
And quite frankly, this freaks most people out.
However, as A.J. Russell has said, in his editing of the two listeners in God Calling, “Life is a training school. Remember, only the pupil giving great promise of future good work would be so singled out by the Master for strenuous and unwearied discipline, teaching and training. You are asking both of you to be not as hundreds of My followers, nay as many, many thousands, but to be even as those who reflect Me in all they say and do and are. So, My dear children, take this training, not as harsh, but as the tender loving answer to your petition. Life can never be the same again for either of you. Once you have drunk of the wine of My giving, the Life Eternal, all earth’s attempts to quench your thirst will fail.”
Still, there is something that makes me (and any of you who truly follow Him) more like Him.
Can we see it?
The path trod by a man or woman who follows the path of Christ is drenched in sorrow. So much of what we see around us is a total and complete mess. People – even those who call themselves christians – simply don’t get it. They are so tied up in their own lives and what they want. They are so distracted (as we can still be) by the bright & shiny, and the curvy or delicious, that they simply cannot fathom that we are exquisitely valuable to their live.
So, they reject us. They rejected Jesus too. And so, as we become more like Him, more will look at us as though we no longer belong in their midst. They sense (and actually more accurately than they know) that we are alien; that we don’t fit in their milieu.
So, they push us away.
The problem for us, is not that we are rejected – those this hurts. The problem for us is that we see and experience a sorrow that goes well beyond people disliking us. Our sorrow is manifold. We see that nothing is well in this world. Oh, Love will win. But the cost of that victory will be the loss of millions of lives, as we pour out what He has made us as a salve to the wounds of this world.
And, if you have never seen it, you will never understand… the billions who are hurting. The absolute mess of everything in this cosmotic soup of the planet earth.
Sorrow beyond measure.
So, are you feeling more and more sorrow and rejection as you follow Him? What did you expect? We are to become exactly like Him. This is the way through. Oh yes! Dawn is coming.
But not yet.
Tonight is your night. Walk in the dark. He is there. He knows the way through this valley.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
~ Theodore Roosevelt