It is during seasons of trial and hardship where we are better able to see the truth of what (or who it) is we have depended on. It is in this testing of our hearts that God brings to light that which cannot endure in order that we may agree with Him and let loose of the temporary for the eternal. This is a deep work, a long work, and oftentimes a painful work. Though it is not painful to see the Truth of God, which is Christ; it is painful to see our true selves in the Light of Him. But never to end with the pain or death of our old self or habits or beliefs, we look onward to the risen life of Christ in us and all that is true of Him, which is the hope of glory.
When these seasons seem to drag on like cold molasses; when we feel as if we’re living isolated lives out on a dark country road with no cell service; when the testing of our hearts is seemingly unrelenting, this is when we need the encouragement and reminder of what He has brought us to; not to continue our death-grip on the things of this earth which are merely temporary, fine as they may have been for us at one time, but to allow the Author and Perfecter of our faith to break down the temporary in us in order to build us up into the that which is Him – heavenly, spiritual, deathless, incorruptible; or as Jesus is recorded in Matthew 6:19, Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasure that can be stolen by thieves…Instead stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never…lose their value; it is here where we see that, our hearts will always pursue what we value as our treasure – earthly or heavenly. Beloved, let the Lord’s testing do its good work in us, that we are transformed from one who once demanded our earthly treasures be kept safe & sound, to one who trusts that the heavenly treasures of Christ are priceless in comparison.
It is not the intention of the author to presume what a reader is going through presently or their needs. But it is a guarantee that it will be God in Christ Who is abundantly more than we can ask or imagine capable of meeting the many-sided need(s) of our life and heart. This is not cheap talk. It is that which in His great love for us, He works into our spirits during our darkest days. It is in faith where our needs are met in and by Him, and not always in change of circumstance. He is at the center of it all; it is out from Him which flow rivers of life, and when that endless supply of holy water pours into the crevices of our hearts’ deepest need, we are better able to stand firm wherever He has planted us. For it is not written that through our change of circumstance or the rights we think we deserve being returned to us, is our strength; it is through Christ, through His strength in us, that we are able to do all things, to stand firm in any place (Philippians 4:13).
Oh, how hard this is for our flesh to accept! We live in a world where we are bombarded with the megaphone demands that all things on the outside must change. It is a world that marches, creates causes, and writes open letters for a change in this or that or the other; changes in legislature and/or human behavior. This is by no means against social justice, it is an attempt to bring us onto higher ground in the Lord. It is understood that the world, without God, knows no other way; they are only doing what they think is best or right for the time in which we live. But we are not without God, we have been shown another Way, and that Way is Christ. Let us stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around us, and be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how we think (Romans 12:2).
It is in the letter to the Hebrews where we are able to see what it is that God has brought us to. In 10:19-22 it is written: …because of the blood of Jesus, God welcomes us to come right into the most holy sanctuary in the heavenly realm – boldly and with no hesitation. For He has dedicated a new, life-giving way for us to approach God. For just as the veil was torn in two, Jesus’ body was torn open to give us free and fresh access to Him! And since we now have a magnificent King-Priest to welcome us into God’s very presence, we come closer to God and approach Him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him. It goes on in verse 23: so now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises.
If we stop here for a moment and focus in on “fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him.” Fully convinced by faith – uh oh. This may find us out. How often, beloved, have our circumstance closed in or the world’s news startled us into thinking that He is far from us. Let’s go to Romans 8 to have this interpreted for us.
8:35-37 it is written: Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love towards us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love….even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything. What is God’s demonstrated love? Earlier in verse 32 it tells us, For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. Christ is our glorious victory over everything – oh, thank You Father!
It begins to weave like a beautiful pattern of life and peace when we see again in Hebrews 10 what this treasure of God in Christ has made available to us. Not just for another time later on, but for us to experience in our day to day lives right now.
Romans 8 goes on in verses 38 through 39: So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus.
Later in Hebrews 10, verses 32-36 it is written: Don’t you remember those days right after the Light shined in your hearts? You endured a great marathon season of suffering hardships, yet you stood your ground. And at times you were publicly and shamefully mis-treated, being persecuted for your faith; then at others times you stood side by side with those who preach the message of hope. You sympathized with those in prison and when all your belongings were confiscated you accepted that violation with joy; convinced that you possess a treasure growing in heaven that could never be taken from you. So don’t lose your bold, courageous faith, for you are destined for a great reward! You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. For soon and very soon, The One who is appearing will come without delay!”
He will come without delay – our hearts leap within us. We possess a treasure growing in heaven that can never be taken from us.
A timely T. Austin-Sparks quote:
“Perhaps this is just like a window opened into heaven. If you get the right window you can see quite a lot. You can see great things and you can see far things. But the best that I can hope is that this has just opened a window, and that as you look through it you are seeing one thing – how superior is Jesus Christ to all else, and how superior is the dispensation into which we have come, and how superior are all the resources at our disposal to all that ever was before!”
Heavenly resources at our disposal, beloved. Christ in heaven and Christ in us, God has made Himself available to us. Cling to this hope!
(All Scriptures listed here are from The Passion Translation.)