“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” ~ Philippians 3:10, 11
If I were to pick one “life verse” it would be this one without hesitation. At the young age of 20, I can recall memorizing it with the desire and prayer to know Him, to really know Him. But then there was that phrase, the fellowship of His…….
I wasn’t too sure about that one.
However in this life there really is no avoiding it, at least the suffering part of the phrase, right? BUT we can control HOW we are going to walk through it.
As my years have passed I have been forced to learn a bit about that “how” and each lesson has been invaluable only because of this:
Through every difficulty I have been through, He has taken me deeper than my own feet could ever have…..deeper than I ever would have, had I seen into that future.
And as I look back on my life I would do every one of those “deaths” to my own plans and desires all over again, because “Jesus doeth all things well”.
And that is why I (and you) can say,
Difficulties have a way of bringing me to a crossroads. Standing between two I ask, “Will I pass through this hardship and seek to find His purpose, His treasure in it? Or will I just give in to allowing it to overcome me, will I allow it to take me and distract me from HIM?”
Pausing, I remind myself that at the end of His road is the promise of the resurrection, of life, and of a DEEPer closeness to my Protector.
Still pausing, I could choose the other road and give up and thus lead myself to a place that is just simply dead, goes nowhere and makes the trial a really sucky waste of time.
There are my choices.
Those are what I have really reminded myself of every time those VERY hard trials hit. I knew I had to pass through those deep waters* no matter what. So I might as well fervently pray that I would find the treasure in it………so……….with a release of resistance and the hope of a deeper life, the “take me” seeps slowly from my lips.
And then comes the movement
“Deeper” (than my feet could ever wander)
This movement toward Him is that sweet place of allowing Him to SHOW Himself to my heart, to my soul, to my spirit. Deeper describes that word “knowing”* which is really a word of intimacy, not just a knowing of, or about someone. It is a word of depth into a Person. A word of love, binding me to my heavenly Groom……
and this takes my every sense.
This is best expounded upon with a poem I wrote in the throws of one these troubled times. It describes more of the passage of suffering as it is happening.
(A note of importance: remember that death and suffering were never meant to last forever, because all over nature God has communicated to us that after death has done its work, life takes over. So it was with His own suffering on the cross, and the glorious resurrection that followed, and continues on for us.)
Fellowship of Suffering ~ A Divine Exchange
Open my eyes to clearly see; the path
You took of humility.
Incline my ears to every sound;
Your silence cried out when beaten down.
Enhance my taste to every good
that joy in pain You understood.
Train my scent to know the prayer
of tears of blood that broke the snare.
Then full my arms to Thee embrace
as I fellowship in sufferings face to face!
In this place of relationship in trials, I see many things but all are sourced from, in and through
I pause before I type any more words. How can we describe this, how can we describe Him? I can see why Paul in Ephesians* added words like, length, breadth, depth and height to the expanse of His love. We are called to know this because in knowing this we know Him and in doing so, we have the fruit of a true life*.
His love fuels our “take me” and His love woos our steps into His depths* and His loves makes our life able to bring forth all life that is organic, viable and real*.
(Now this is kinda cool and I love when things like this happen):
Right after I took the picture at the top of the post of my Bible journal drawing, I picked up a book I had been finishing by A.W. Tozer and read the following (which I must share in closing because it fits so perfectly.) May we believe His road is best.
“Where such faith is, God will always work in line with our reckoning. Then begins the divine conquest of our lives. This, God accomplishes by an effective seizing upon, a sharp but love-impelled invasion of our natures. When He has overpowered our resistance, He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, faint with His loveliness we lie conquered
and thank God
for the blessed conquest.”
With that to look forward to,
Don’t Give Up.
He is worth it.
And so are you.
The word “know” – Strongs 1097 /ginṓskō (“experientially know”) is used for example in Lk 1:34, “And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, ‘How will this be since I do not know (1097 /ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'”
1 Peter 1:5-8
“The Divine Conquest” by A.W. Tozer; pg 63