July 10, 2020

iMonk 101: Do You Trust The Abbreviated Jesus?

From November of ’08, one of my favorite meditations on Jesus. And you should pre-order Jared’s book. And read Ross Douthat’s column on Dan Brown.

The other day a strange feeling came over me.

Don’t get me wrong about what I’m about to say here. It was just a feeling. I’m not claiming any powers of discernment or certainty.

I got the distinct feeling there’s something wrong with a lot of people who say they are Jesus-followers/believers.

If you want to supply your own vocabulary, like “aren’t saved” or “aren’t Christians,” do so at your own risk. I’m not saying that. (There’s other blogs for that game, if you are burning to know.)

No, but it was as plain as daylight to me that when I hear a lot of people talk about Jesus, I feel like I am hearing….an abbreviation.

I said abbreviation. A shortened version of the real word. You see the abbreviation, you’re supposed to know what it means. We all agree on the abbreviation.

Don’t we?

We all know what the shorthand version stands for.

Right?

Or maybe we don’t.

I’m beginning to get the feeling that when people say Jesus, I can’t trust the abbreviation.

I’m getting the feeling that we’re talking about a kind of “mini-Jesus.” A diluted, declawed, demoted savior who is a symbolic representation for a kind of anemic, watered-down, unBiblical, culturally acceptable Jesus.

I get the feeling that if you move beyond the standard biographical paragraph, you’re going to discover that the Jesus you’re hearing about has considerably less to say than Jesus as we meet him in the Gospels.

You’re going to discover that he has little or nothing to do with most of the Bible, especially the Old Testament and the more demanding parts of the new.

You’re going to discover that there’s a remarkable resemblance between the abbreviated Jesus and the current version of political correctness. (Isn’t it unusual how Jesus takes an interest in whatever happens to be the current rage on CNNMSNBCCBSSUSATODAY?)

I’m not sure this abbreviated Jesus believes in hell.

He seems considerably more flexible on sexual matters than one would believe reading the Bible.

Living together before marriage? The abbreviated Jesus seems to have not issued a statement on that one.

I actually think the abbreviated Jesus doesn’t like to be bothered with issues of morality, character or behavior. He’s mostly interested in larger political and cultural issues, or your experience at your local church, or how you’re doing in your relationships.

The abbreviated Jesus has quite a bit in common with contemporary “life coaches,” talk show hosts, political apologists, faith-based advocates, teachers of “principles,” community organizers and family values lobbyists.

The people who talk about the abbreviated Jesus don’t seem to know much about the Bible. Not at all.

But they still have a surprisingly strong opinion about the meaning of all kinds of things Jesus said and did in the Bible.

The abbreviated Jesus can convincingly seem like the real Jesus, until you look and listen closely. Then it appears that he’s lost his laptop, his luggage and his cell phone. So for right now, he’s reading it all off the teleprompter.

The abbreviated Jesus doesn’t vary much from the script.

In fact- and this is what really got my attention- the abbreviated Jesus would only get crucified if there were some terrible mix-up.

The abbreviated Jesus is Jesus without the Biblical context, Jesus without church history, Jesus without Jesus theology, Jesus without costly discipleship, Jesus without offensive teaching or mysterious parables. The abbreviated Jesus is so easily explained, so comprehensible and user-friendly that anyone can follow him, even without instructions.

In millions of cases, the abbreviated Jesus is Jesus without the church. He’s Jesus who lets you pick your friends, pick your community and pick your comfortable seat. He’s OK with whatever your plans are for the weekend. He’s not making demands on your time. (He’s a major spokesperson for unplugging the fourth commandment.) He’s not making any demands on your money that don’t follow your emotions. (He wants you to feel personally fulfilled about whatever you choose to support.)

The abbreviated Jesus seems to always need one more book to really get down to what he actually means.

He has a lot of preachers who understand him, and a lot of churches where his way of doing things has become very popular.

Aside from abortion and gay marriage, the abbreviated Jesus is pretty happy in America. There’s so much for his friends to do and enjoy!

I don’t trust the abbreviated Jesus.

Sometimes, he’s been in my house, my head, my heart and my preaching. And I don’t like him.

He’s flat. Empty. Easy. Moldable.

He’s not full of the Holy Spirit. He’s full of us.

Frankly, he seems to be full of….well…..there are words here that my daddy used, which I’m not supposed to use on this blog. If you don’t know what they are, write me. Or ask a farmer who knows the real Jesus.

I’m announcing that I’m afraid of the abbreviated Jesus and his followers. I’m afraid of his “church,” his books and his kind of “discipleship.”

I’m uninviting him from my life and my interactions with other Christians.

I want to know Jesus. The untamed, old school, offensive, mysterious, demanding, awe-inspiring, transformational, life altering, crucified, risen, ascended, revolutionary Jesus.

Spell it out: He’s the creator. The mediator. The fulfiller and establisher of the law. His the passover lamb. He’s the head of the church. He’s the heart and key to Holy Scripture. He’s the meal on the table. He’s life in the living water. He pours out the Holy Spirit. He’s the rider on the white horse. He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s the eternal God.

He doesn’t need my explanations, endorsements or euphemisms. He isn’t reading my note cards and nodding. He doesn’t tolerate my sin. He’s the life of God for the sin of the world. He’s righteousness, sanctification and holiness. He’s the Kingdom bringer, the executor of judgement, the one who is worthy to open the scroll and read the books. He’s the light of heaven and the conquerer of hell, death, sin and the grave.

He’s the one in whom all history, poetry, story and theology come together into the great I AM. He’s the mystery and the Word that reveals God to all persons. He’s the Gospel itself, the meaning of every message and the open door of God’s mercy.

You can’t abbreviate him.

You fall at his feet and worship. You get up and follow. You die and he raises you on the last day.

That’s Jesus, and I’ve got a feeling a lot of people really don’t have a clue.

Comments

  1. Have you ever heard of the “Jesus Inoculation”? That’s where you get a little shot of a religious (or abbreviated) Jesus and it keeps you from ever getting a full-blown case of the Christ-centered life. You have just enough of Jesus to save you from your sins but not enough to deliver you from them. Not that you want to be delivered. You just want to feel a tad more clean than you did without Jesus, but not so radically changed that you actually have to adjust your lifestyle to conform to the image of Christ. It is available to you at a self-righteous religious house of worship near you. Call now!

  2. Memphis Aggie says

    Excellent post, and very true.

    This got my attention:
    “I actually think the abbreviated Jesus doesn’t like to be bothered with issues of morality, character or behavior. He’s mostly interested in larger political and cultural issues, or your experience at your local church, or how you’re doing in your relationships.”

    Whenever the political is perceived to be the “larger” question rather than the moral issue you find this “mini-Jesus”. Sometimes I think it’s just a “polite” dismissal of Christianity rather than a weak comfortable faith, but it’s hard to tell for sure.

  3. Thanks for the referral, Michael.

    I don’t recall the origin of the saying, but I recall N.T. Wright talking about how so much of the search for the historical Jesus is a looking down a deep well and mistaking our own reflection in the pool at the bottom for him.

    Jim, I have heard Ed Stetzer talk about gospel inoculation. He said that preaching the gospel in the Bible Belt, for instance, is like trying to give someone something they’ve already been inoculated against with a synthetic version. I thought that was extremely accurate.

  4. …..in all seriousness here…I cant make up my mind about this emergent stuff….its drawing big crowds where i attend church….it “sounds” right but it does”nt feel right in my spirit…im aware that the pastor is using pursuasive psychological techniques that border on covert manipulation and that REALLY bothers me….i dont know….

  5. Thank you, imonk. This makes me hungry for the real thing.

  6. Amen, iMonk!

    Paul Coughlin digs into this a bit in ‘No More Christian Nice Guy.’ Trueblood’s ‘The Humor of Christ’ is worth reading, too, along the same line.

    C.S. Lewis absolutely nails it in the Chronicles of Narnia, however, when he talks about Aslan. “He’s not a tame lion.”

    No indeed.

  7. I don’t trust an “Abbreviated Jesus” any more than the natural extension of him – the “Brooks Brothers Jesus”. The Jesus who takes his cue from prosperity theology, and equivocates/forgives the sins surrounding money much more readily than he does those concerning sex (e.g. condemning homosexuality faster than Haliburton).

    Ultimately, what you’re speaking to is the commodification of a god – people shaping their saviour to the specifications they find most desirable before they buy him. And it’s something both the milquetoast and the militant are guilty of. They purport to follow Christ because they want to be changed, and they end up changing him.

  8. Larry Geiger says

    We all see an abbreviated Jesus.

    “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    Your statement “I got the distinct feeling there’s something wrong with a lot of people who say they are Jesus-followers/believers.” should have been “I got the distinct feeling there’s something wrong with all people who say they are Jesus-followers/believers.”

    Something wrong with you, me, everyone.

  9. Christopher Albee says

    Having visited this site for some months now, I am beginning to conclude that nearly everything I’ve been taught (at a very respectable Baptist college) is ‘abbreviated.’ Just this week I admitted to a friend, “I think I don’t understand what the Church is at all; and I think I understand Jesus even less.” It’s frightening, actually.

    Worse, I’m not sure I want to know the real Jesus. I’ll be honest: I’m afraid of how He’ll change my life further. I thought I was His disciple; I think I’m wrong.

    The feeling I harbor in my heart is somewhat akin to how I felt when I rode a rollercoaster for the first time. As we ascended the first hill on the chain, we were all excited. But, when we crested the top and looked down that awful, steep drop, I remember thinking, “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” and I caught myself trying to escape from the harness that secured me to the car.

    I think that’s a little of what we experience when we look at the real Jesus for the first time. He is not what we expect, and we’re right to be a bit afraid in the face of what it will cost to follow Him. The question I’m asking myself at this point is, will I follow Him truly, or will I get off the car?

  10. Abbreviated Jesus -you sure have a way with words, IM, and you picked a good one, here. Agreed that we certainly do hang on for dear life to our safe little definitions of Him. No wonder there are desert times where we feel crushed and emptied so that eventually we may finally open our clenched fists.

  11. Memphis Aggie says

    Wow Christopher what an excellent comment. I can relate to your honesty. Changing your life around for Christ is unsettling and can be scary. When I became Christian I felt everything I thought I knew became untethered and had to re-anchored in Him. I still regularly have doubts like “Am I doing the right thing/enough here?” or “Do I really understand doctrine x or y?” or “Why am I so selfish about (insert long list here)?”

    I think this where you could step back a few posts down to Michael’s justification versus sanctification post. Doubtless you believe in Christ and are justified, but sanctification is a long slog. Your doubts are probably healthy ones that will lead you to a better practice of the faith. Self reflection is hard for everybody, but if driven by faith it can lead to blessings. Of course you know already “Be not afraid”. He’ll lead you to the right place for you, although it may take time and not be where you expect to be.

  12. I think coming to terms with an abbreviated, partial view of Jesus Christ is actually part of the package of being a follower. After all, even Paul tried to soften (dare I even say, “abbreviate”) Jesus’ rather radical teaching on divorce and remarriage. But at least Paul was self-reflexive enough to distinguish between what came directly “from the Lord” and what was his own teaching.

    This is where we (I) often part company, mistaking our own words for the testimony of the Gospels and mistaking the testimony of the Gospels (and/or Paul) for the person of Jesus Christ. They are never the same and always only rough approximations at best. God can never be reduced to a book or metaphor, much less four spiritual laws.

    Thus I believe our only response can be extreme humility when speaking of Jesus, if we really take the Gospel of John seriously. To do otherwise is to become God’s arrogant little mouthpiece, “full of sound and fury….”

  13. Thanks so much for this – I will point others to it because it’s brilliant. And, if its not a cheap shot to say so, the perfect antidote to the neutered, hippy Jesus of The Shack, for example…

  14. One way we abbreviate Jesus is by reducing Him to a mere figurehead when it comes to our church bodies and institutions. We treat Him like some divine celebrity whose name and fame we can use to endorse our doctrinal systems, programs, and building projects. We’ll teach Jesus as Lord and guide for individual life, but when it comes to the collective life of our churches and institutions, we rarely consult Him, much less allow Him to interfere with anything we’ve already decided to do or in any way alter how we’re accustomed to doing things. By and large, we’ve put matters of official church doctrine, accepted church practice, and the employment of church resources off limits to His literal lordship, guidance, and correction.
    An abbreviated, figurehead Jesus will always give his stamp of approval when we decide to spend $10,000 for new carpet in the santuary or $10 million to build a Christian theme park. The real Jesus might suggest some better ways to spend that money.
    And I think the real Jesus wants His church back.

  15. Christopher — your honesty is refreshing. I hope you’ll take the plunge with us.

  16. An abbreviated Jesus is more of man’s attempt to create God in our image rather than worshiping God who has made us in his image.

  17. ….sometimes when im meditating on God/Jesus i often think we”ve missed it by a mile….just the notion that i can ever be anything like Christ is ridiculas and the challenge to do so only sets me up to fail..and i ask myself why would God do that to me?..He knows i can”t do it and that i will never be anything like Jesus was..IM NOT JESUS..I CAN ONLY BE ME..and IF i evolve into a nice guy then great it will be by a power greater than myself……

  18. Thomas D. says

    You’re still looking down that well and seeing your reflection. Only it’s a conservative reflection instead of a liberal one.

    Jesus was executed for rebellion, not for the details of his theology, whatever it might have been.

  19. Thomas D. says

    And you have literally made a caricature out of those who disagree with you. (What would you think of a Jesus with a Hitler moustache to represent your views?)

  20. “He seems considerably more flexible on sexual matters than one would believe reading the Bible.

    Living together before marriage? The abbreviated Jesus seems to have not issued a statement on that one.”

    Was it the abbreviated Jesus that turned the Samaritan woman at the well instantly into the most successful evangelist of the Gospels …? Is there evidence of His convicting her of the wrongfulness of her ways? Her sexual history was obviously not public information or she would not have seen His knowing the details as being a sign of Him being the Messiah. Is there any evidence that she repented and threw her current live-in boyfriend out …? I’m not advocating this kind of behavior — but where is your evidence from the Gospels? I thought that was where we were getting our info on the real Jesus this time.

    You sound like a Kabbalah Christian — they believe that God’s name is every word of the Torah spoken in one breath, that only twelve people alive can say it and with it they can raise the dead.

    Are you adding the entire New Testament to that Word-in-a-breath …?

  21. Forrest James says

    Thomas D.

    You wrote:

    “Jesus was executed for rebellion, not for the details of his theology, whatever it might have been.”

    Actually Thomas, the thing that triggered the crucifixion of Jesus is found in John 11. It was the resurrection of Lazarus in full public view. Jesus in the flesh raising dead flesh from the dead. Resurrections have political consequences. The chief priests reasoned that if we do not kill Him, “the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.” The doctrine of political necessity, then and since then, in the world and in the church.

    It was the Holy Spirit, not satan, who earlier drove this Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.” In two of the three temptations, satan taunts, “If you are the son of God,” turn stones to bread; and then — cast yourself from the pinnacle of the temple. Miracles chosen by the enemy of God. Temptations. From scripture, the next time Jesus heard the words, “If you are the son of God,” it was on the cross, dying. The chief priests (the liberals more or less), supported by the Pharisees (the conservatives more or less), said, “If you are the Son of God come down from the cross and we will believe.” The real “last temptation of Christ.”

    Then Jesus breathed his last and died. The veil of the temple was torn asunder from top to bottom. Hades, the region of the dead, was turned inside out. “This is My blood in the new covenant which was shed for many for the remission of sins,” “Jesus the son of David was raised from the dead.” “The wages of sin are death.” “Death could not hold Him.”

  22. mike ( 6 pm on May 20),

    You seem to be confused. We cannot become like Jesus under our own power, yet He loves us so very much, that He is willing and able to help us grow more like Him.

    It takes community, and work, but it is worth it.

    That is the kind of Jesus we want, the wild one.

  23. “I actually think the abbreviated Jesus doesn’t like to be bothered with issues of morality, character or behavior.”

    When Jesus walked into a crowd of townspeople, is there any Gospel evidence that he was repulsed by their sinfulness? There were those who had this reaction — and how did Jesus react to these self-appointed, self-aggrandizing “religious” leaders — every single time?

    “The people who talk about the abbreviated Jesus don’t seem to know much about the Bible. Not at all.”

    Many people who study the Bible intensively don’t seem to know Jesus.

    2000 years of Bible study hasn’t changed much, has it?

  24. Jesus also removes candlesticks from their place. That’s a scary ecclesiology to ponder. He also confuses some people by calling some to be eunuchs on their own without others understanding.

    But I don’t like this Jesus so I got my own iJesus at the dollar store. 😉

  25. I am convinced that every nation and culture has an abbreviated Jesus (let alone individuals). I think that part of the reason the Church used to come together to decide serious matters (like in Acts 15) was because only by getting the views and opinions of Christian leaders from every part were they likely to break through the abbreviated Jesus so that they could hear the Holy Spirit and decide matters correctly.

    I think that type of community needs to be reflected in our lives as well. We need to be part of a community of Christians that somehow reflects enough variety to be able to call us to account for our abbreviated Jesus. If we are honest, most Catholic churches have significantly more variety in their attendees than almost any other group. That lack of variety helps to reinforce the abbreviated Jesus in me.

  26. Hey imonk,
    I read your post on the abbreviated Jesus at a home church gathering in my living room this evening, and it spawned a surprisingly lively and probing discussion.
    The main concensus we came to was that when it comes to knowing and following Christ, there are depths we have hardly begun to explore. Depths of love and compassion. Depths of faith. Depths of sacrifice and service. Depths of obedience and loyalty. Depths of humility and submission. Depths of worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Depths of truth, wisdom, and knowledge. Depths of joy and peace. Depths of relationship, unity, and community. Even depths of sorrow and suffering. And a whole dimension of supernatural realities and activities we can scarcely imagine.
    So, in that sense, I guess we all know a somewhat abbreviated Jesus. And the more we follow Him and venture out into His depths, the more He will spell Himself out to us. However, the more we focus on ourselves — our interests, impulses, pleasures, dislikes, opinions, predujices, preferences, preconceptions, and desires — the more abbreviated Jesus becomes. And the more abbreviated He becomes, the more He begins to resemble an idealized version of ourselves.
    It was also pointed out in our discussion that when we first come to Christ, we tend to focus primarily on those things about Him that we like and can relate to the most — His more pleasant aspects, if you will. And it’s only with a good deal of prodding, beckoning, and convicting that we start to embrace the less pleasant aspects, such as taking up our crosses and sharing in His sufferings.

  27. Surfnetter —

    Five words:

    “Go and sin no more.”

    I think that’s what iMonk isn’t hearing form the abbreviated Jesus. He tells that story right up to the “God and sin no more” part. In fact, it’s his favorite story up to that part.

    But “Go and sin no more” does not make the real Jesus lack compassion. That is compassion.

    Maybe one of the biggest problems is that we have so messed up sin, death and hell with a strictly legal view that we can’t recognize how gracious and life giving a true “Go and sin no more” is.

    Yes, yes. There are many, many, many false “Go and sin no more”s (ha … “mores” … no pun intended). I’m with you there. I reject them. So did the unabbreviated Jesus. But that’s no call to throw out the true.

  28. Myrddin – “I think that’s what iMonk isn’t hearing form the abbreviated Jesus. He tells that story right up to the “God and sin no more” part. In fact, it’s his favorite story up to that part.”

    And this is not abbreviated ..? Just what sins and sinners did Jesus point out and condemn over and over again? And what is the “something worse” that will happen to the one who has had the evil spirit go out and then come back with “seven other spirits more wicked than itself …” finding the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order …”? Mat. 12: 43-45

    You can come to your own conclusions, but I can see no other but that the ones He was talking to in that chapter were the ones in that terrible condition.

    If I am to hang one verse off of my head so I see it waving before my eyes continually it is this one:

    “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” Mat 16:6; 16:11; 16:12; 8:15; Luke 12:1

  29. Steve,

    Some of us have a front row seat for the snatching away of the candlestick, and it is frightening indeed. I’m watching one particular denomination driving itself into the dirt like a peg. They couldn’t be tearing it down any faster if all the officials met together and planned its’ demise. It seems almost a supernatural blindness has set in. Christ have mercy.

  30. Interesting discussions. Intend to follow it for a while. Monks used to punnish themselves (chastening). They never were good enough.
    In your culture christianity has fully merged with party politics. I think that is your biggest church problem.

  31. O, excuses moi, Bernstein is my name and no longer Tinkerbell. Are you guys so called red letter christians? Have some mercy on the sinners…

  32. A lot of this comes across as spiritual elitism to me, with only the true devotees having done the required (and self-defined) amount of study, devotion, prayer, lifestyle perfection, and bible-study to claim the special knowledge.

    I used to believe that the simplicity of the gospel message as spoken by Jesus himself in John 3:16 was what set our faith apart from the rigors of the works/legalistic religions of the world. I guess i was all wrong.

    When I contemplate the simple message of Christ, and see recorded in gospels his acceptance, love, sacrifice and forgiveness, I feel drawn to and closer to God. When I get into the long discussions of all the man made “adder requirements” I get confused, even doubtful.

    I believe that God in Christ wants a relationship with all of mankind. Having said that, I do not believe that the vast majority of the world is capable of jumping over the intellectual hurdles imposed by others to get to him.

    It’s too bad that the thief on the cross couldn’t also have risen from the dead so we could have a record of the life of devotion and discipleship he would surely have had to follow to complete his simple faith.

  33. sue kephart says

    I agree with Ed. First is has been said Jesus called simple people who had no seminarty training but study the way someone wants (my way not some other denoms way) you will be true disciples have special knowledge (gnosticism). I have no quarrel with John 3:16 but I never hear the verse following (John 3:17) by those who keep clinging to it. Jesus said I came to save the world not to condenm it.

  34. Christopher Albee says

    Ed, Sue, speaking strictly for myself no spiritual elitism is intended; simply a recognition that the Jesus of the Scriptures is not the Jesus that is being portrayed in our (American) culture. The Jesus of the Scriptures announces the gospel in clear enough terms (e.g. John 3:16), but His other words are often difficult to accept, much less understand as in Luke 9:57-62:

    ‘Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
    ‘Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
    Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
    ‘And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
    ‘But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”‘

    What do we make of this? In some branches of dispensational theology, such pronouncements might be relegated to Old Testament teaching, or ‘postponed’ until the Kingdom is fulfilled at some future day. This is the Jesus that I don’t understand, notwithstanding my continuing faith in Him. In our culture and through much of our theology, we have concocted a Jesus whose teachings and commandments are largely ignored. By ignoring the difficult, contrary, frustrating Jesus who said some really tough things, do we ignore as well His true intent for His followers?

  35. sue kephart says

    Christopher I respect your tradition but I am not a dispensationalist. I am an Apostelic believer. Meaning I believe what the Apostles believed and taught not things they could or would never have accepted or believed such as dispensationalism, Mormanisn,Jehowah witness for example.

    In my traditional belief God is eternal, meaning outside of time, the Great I am. So to answer your question what I make of it is the only time you and I have is the present. So don’t live in the past or the future but live in the now. God is in the now.

  36. Christopher Albee says

    Sue, I should’ve clarified perhaps: I’m not a dispensationalist either, although I adhered to it strongly once. My point was, having been goaded by iMonk into revisiting the Jesus of the Scriptures, I find that much of what I learned concerning Him is wanting. And, faced with the choice of truly becoming His disciple in the manner that a plain reading of the Scriptures describes, I find myself doing the unthinkable: I’m wondering whether I really want to.

    I find that the Jesus caricatured abbreviatedly in our culture is much easier to follow: He demands nothing of us.

  37. sue kephart says

    Christopher,

    Becoming Jesus’s disciple isn’t as easy as reading the Scripture seeing what He does and following it. If it was we wouldn’t need imonk discussion. Everyone would be doing it.

    St.Paul says I must decrease so He may increase. Sounds like a plan. “What!! Me decrease, my Ego cries out!!! Help I am dying. After all I have taken care of us quite fine up til now and you want to do what?”

    God has why of dealing with it. His way with me (others may differ) is me getting myself into some big mess and jumping up and down about how awful (just maybe full of awe-you think) pleading, begging, being mad at God, having a fit. Then a small thought began to emerge in my mind that I really did this to myself. So I surrender to God’s will. He couldn’t do worse, now could He? Little by little I began to see (ah ha) that my Father really does know best. His will is best for me. Now I long for His will, I pray for His will. If I have to go to the cross so be it.

    Ten year ago if I read this written by someone else I would have said, “Lucky you. I can’t get there.” And I would have been right. My loving Lord has lead me every step of the way. I am not any different than anyone else. Not any different than you.

  38. Keen insights Ron. Thanks.