This place of privilege

October 5th, 2010

“Bless God for shaking off false foundations, for any way whereby He keeps the soul awakened and looking after Christ; better sickness and temptations, than security and superficiality.” ~Jon Bloom

Of all the sins that I most fear to commit, at the top of the list is spiritual coldness, apathy, a loss of my first love for Christ.  It reveals a fatal satisfaction with self.  I am uneasy when this dullness creeps into the edges of my soul like an anesthesia that is slow to take effect.

God gave me an earthly father who loved me enough to discipline me when I showed stubborn self-will.  By his discipline, I knew he was saying to me, “I care about you too much to leave you to your own faults.  I think you are worth my careful attention and effort.”

Furthermore, he was faithful to teach us the truth that man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward: “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends.  Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance.”

This was so engrained into the fiber of my being that as an adult I often questioned why my life was so relatively pleasant and smooth.  It was all coming too easily.  How would God be able to mold me into the image of His Son if I wouldn’t ever have to endure real hardship?  Was I truly “worth it” to Him?

I would read Psalm 63, “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water,” and wistfully ask God to make me truly long for Him like that.  I wanted to experience my desperate need of Jesus, the Truth.  I wanted to experience His hand of discipline cutting away unfruitful branches of self.  My experience over more than thirty years has taught me that I am unable to keep my own heart! I wanted Him to make me unable to coast.  Ever again.

So what am I leading up to?  Verity is a looked-for and longed-for hardship?  No, no, and a thousand times, NO!  She is our sweet reward from God, just like all our other children.  He is sending many extra rewards alongside the extra struggles that come with her extra chromosome.

But I am not living in denial of those extra struggles.  Her feeding issues are causing long-term pressure on the family.  She has a lowered immune response.  Her incision is infected again, so more antibiotics.  Joe brought a cold home from work; it feels like just a matter of time until Verity catches it from the rest of us, in spite of my remedies.  I see another three-month-old baby being held in a standing position with one hand, and realize afresh just how far behind Verity is in her gross motor skills.  Her eyes have developed nystagmus.  We wonder how that will affect her development.  It means a visit to a specialist.

Down syndrome isn’t like a heart defect–one big dramatic surgery and it’s all fixed up.  There will be ongoing difficulties that will demand what I frankly do not have in myself to give.  Right now, He is asking of me what I do not have to give!

Tailor-made to make me desperate to cling to the Vine.  Desperate to draw sustenance from Him.  Desperate to have Him lop off the dead weight of worthless branches.

Some say, “Be careful how you pray; you may get more than you bargained for.”

They are just plain wrong!  I pray that I will abide in Him and His words will abide in me!  That I will not shrink back from His pruning shears!  That I will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness!  Much fruit, so that my Father is glorified!  No fear.  No regrets.  No shrinking back.  There is nothing to lose but what needs to go.  The truth is that with the abiding comes the flow of life into me from Jesus, the True Vine.  With the pruning comes the sure knowledge that my Father loves me.  And with this knowledge, underneath all the surface-level issues, comes full-on joy.

The [Christian] knows the joy of the Lord not in spite of tribulation, but because of it.”  ~Oswald Chambers

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

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3 Responses to “This place of privilege”

  1. Marilyn Osborn says:

    You can’t possibly know why I needed to read this….but it truly spoke to my soul.  Thank you, dear sister.  Thank you so much.

  2. Joy Horton says:

    Beautiful, Susanna! I LOVE THAT!! “There is nothing to lose but what needs to go.” Oh, that is excellent.

    Excellent post! Precious heart!!!

    May I, too, not shrink back from his pruning shears.

    Love you!

  3. sabrina says:

    Susanna, thank you for sharing your heart and speaking such truth. Truly a blessing.

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