Failing Forward on La Via Dolorosa ( the way of Grief/Suffering)


‘If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.’ Luke 6:29-30, Matt 5:39-40

If the passage above has made you flinch, you are in good company. Forgiveness and Humility are nice enough words until God gives you His definition, His concept – then like Jesus’ disciples we worry with perplexed, wide open mouths–‘who then can be saved?’ This week in particular, its been hard. Especially since I know that my friendship with God has gotten deeper. You see, I am walking differently, accepting as commonplace, the human disdain when acts of obedience to Him, mean that I walk apart from what is considered the norm. I had imagined that because He, God was happy, approving even or my willingness to submit more readily, that everyone else would understand. That there would be a lot more cheering. But watching the life of the One on whose Footsteps I must walk, I realize that the popularity of three years of caring, feeding, healing, justifying, raising the dead, also meant that the cloud of enemies that hated what He stood for – still stands for – had reviewed their options and were desperate. Love that is merely human, is frightened easily, and dies easy…because it depends on perceived benefits – selfish benefits. And when those no longer seem forthcoming, the fear is overwhelming, causing us to retreat to the shadows, or…flee. Just like Jesus disciples did, just like many of those for whom He had been a blessing to during His ministry years, did. It is no wonder that knowing the next phase of His ministry as being most crucial, He cried out deeply with all He was, bloodied sweat trickling down His Face ‘Father if it be Thy Will, take this cup away from me…’ Let me not drink of it unless there is no other way…but then in Being and knowing The Truth, He conceded ‘not My Will but Thine be done…’

I am learning that God is not just about interested in bringing breakthroughs in the way we have been trained to understand breakthroughs: the healing, the wealth, the finances, the car, the spouse, the job, the promotion…all these are well enough, within His Will, but there is a bigger purpose for which we follow Him. We follow Him so that the world may experience the sons of God [Romans 8:19]. The ones that truly walk the narrow road. A few weeks ago, God led me to contemplate the ministry and death of Stephen the Matyr. I was amazed. As they stoned him, he spoke of a sight beyond imagining. The risen and Glorified Jesus standing above before His Throne. The crowd grew incensed, dragging him, stoning him for even this utterance, and as they did, he continued to focus – and the miracle happened. There was no chariot of flaming horses, no heavenly army, no ascension, no ground opening up to swallow his murderers. The miracle here was much greater. It was that in death, his words mirrored those of the One Who held his gaze. The miracle here was a prayer – Forgiveness…even while the offense was still taking place. Stephen’s cross had stayed put on his shoulder so to speak, and his gaze had been set like flint, and his feet, they fit onto those of The One on Whom he laid down his life. And lay down his life he did. The answer to this prayer was powerfully demonstrated in the conversion of the one who had stood back watching approvingly and treated his murderers with dignity and respect: Saul of Tarsus. Saul became Paul when he came face to face with Stephen’s Lord and Savior, while riding a murderous rage against Stephen’s spiritual brethren. He turned from being Challenger, to being their Champion. In a few minutes.

Last year was about Romans 12:2 – God transforming my thinking to His way of thinking. The Alabastron program had a lot to do with this.  From the program I learnt to dump my baggage and change my way of thinking to be more Truth based. But God took over, I didn’t realize the disparities in the way we think – particularly about what I call good or miraculous or even breakthroughs until I learnt to daily surrender to His way of thinking.

So now back to the via Dolorosa, following Jesus with my own cross squarely on my shoulder, much of the time anyway. I realize how often I shout for Him to hold on while I put down my cross, and trade insult for insult; blow for blow with the jearing, mocking crowd and the brutal soldiers. I know who I am in Christ afterall. I shake my shoulders (difficult to do with a cross on) and do a David ‘I killed the lion and the bear…’ statement, not realizing that I must take this test fully to the triumph. It involves a court of false accusation, the stripping down do reveal and parade your nakedness, the sharing of your clothes among those who loath you, whipping, spitting, more false testimonies, people who suspect your goodness and true identity washing their hands of you, denying you or melting in the darkness or watching from afar; it involves you carrying your cross and because you must finish the journey, exchanging close friends for enemies whose only reason for walking beside you is to eventually nail you on a cross, and beyond them, others yelling profanities at you. Once in a while you run into someone, a small group whose hearts break for you, and then eventually they pin you onto that cross strap you so you don’t fall off the nails and put you up, naked, battered, just for the sport of it. And then you die. But there is a miracle in this, before the resurrection, and glorification, the acceptance of this – all of it as part of the cup of which you must drink, and the strength, the might, to resist fighting back, verbally, emotionally, psychologically, physically even though you know you are right, and even, stronger than all your enemy put together. Or what do you think Jesus meant by ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’ in John 13:12-17 and of cause Luke 9:23-25 ‘Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?’

Just a little light…

In learning these, I have had to repeat several lessons. I have shouted back, even gone to the police station to report an offence riding on perplexed offence. I am learning to pay what I don’t owe, not because I cant defend myself, or my country has refused to defend me, but because during the lessons God has been teaching me lately, He is teaching me to understand the times, and the place that am on. The putting down of my cross and yelling my defenses and declaring the offenses of others feels ‘powerful’ when am doing them, but when my eyes meet His again, and I see myself in His Eyes, I understand the feeling of nakedness that caused the disciples turned fishermen to jump into the lake when they saw their resurrected Lord standing at the shores. I want to do this… I want to hear Him say ‘Well done Vip!” and feel His Embrace when I get to heaven, even when there is mercy ahead. I am learning that He thinks pride is an awful thing, and seeing a little clearer with His eyes, I have learnt that it is the thing that causes me to go tell on someone who has wronged me…or simply show their nakedness too. I want to be in Christ’s Hands, in loving and joyful obedience to His Leadership, to be the miracle that causes someone to live so fully for Him, that their legacy cannot be erased from the main story of God’s Triumph. The miracle that causes hardened hearts to worship Him with hearts of flesh. I want to be a miracle, in the way God – The Father, Son and Holy Ghost – define ‘miracle’.

Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Further readings: Luke 6: 27-36, Luke 22 -24, Luke 6:40, Proverbs 20:22, Romans 12: 1-2, Isaiah 55:8-9, Acts 6 – 8:1, Acts 9:1-31and I Corinthians 6:7 ‘’The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?’ Assessing the progress of the pilgrim – face down

Ministries of Francis Frangipane: ‘Let us remember that our goal is not only to speak the truth, but to actually communicate it. Christ wants us to reach people. Thus, He calls us to go extra miles, and to turn our cheek when struck. We are to genuinely love our enemies, not just try to correct them. You see, our truth is not just religious dogma; for us, Truth is a person the Lord Jesus Christ..&He seeks to save those who are His enemies’ Facebook Status update for January 14, 2011

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About viphealthyleadership
I am a friend of God, who loves to listen to, and talk to Him and write to and through Him. My prayer concerns revolve mainly around homes and nations, and how Christ's wounded warriors can arise and get involved again in the building of these and in the repairwork needed to restore these to their God-intended glory. I believe that true and effective leadership, can only come from those who have been wounded, recognised their wounds for what they are, and have allowed God to heal these and make them stronger in loving the ones they would lead. I am a single mother of two: Leroy and Shukurani.

6 Responses to Failing Forward on La Via Dolorosa ( the way of Grief/Suffering)

  1. zzzisle says:

    taking up the cross isn’t easy…. but then the bible never promised us a easy life as christians.

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