Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9
Recently my dad sent me a picture of a moment in my life in which I am severely reminded of the depths of a good fathers unconditional love. I can only shake my head at the outfit I wish I could say someone forced me to concoct, but alas, it was all my own doing; I wish the public outdoors in which I am pictured wearing this outfit was only a back drop within the privacy of my own home, but alas, it is not. Not only was I proudly wearing what might have been combinations of MANY different outfits, (legwarmers, tutu, hat…possibly) outside, but I had actually invited friends and neighbors to watch what I had choreographed and called my “circus”. Oh good golly the irony.
I’d like to think I was ahead of my time performing as I did the great trap-ease act on my swing set… I mean how could “The Greatest Showman” have lost my number?! I fear my circus was a far cry from “nailed it!” actually more like “failed it” but that’s not how my dad sees or remembers it. To him it’s his precious little girl taking a leap of faith in front of one who loves her (red hearted legwarmers pulled clear up to her knees clad in tights and all). I wonder at what point do we acquire those inhibitions that make us care more about what the world thinks then what the King of the world, our Heavenly Father thinks of us?!
He is a good Father and no matter how many times you fail and try to write yourself out, He will keep trying to write you back into His story! He is not out to curse and kill but to redeem and save! For God did not send his Son int the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
In 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul talks of a time they were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Jesus says we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor. 10:13) but as for being handed more than we can handle on our own… I think we can pretty much count on it. Why would God give me a life that I felt I could live without Him, in my own strength? Who wants to gain the whole world yet lose their soul?! Not I, said the trap-ease artist from Wisconsin!
Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Prison testing that sounds fun, said no one ever. But we are called to be faithful in a “prison”, a prison in my mind has no doors, no free way out. So how with no way in a prison can I possibly find a way, a door to take hold of faith especially if it happens to be my own “failed circus” that landed me there?
Remember He’s about writing us back in… remember Peter?! Jesus told him how many times he would fail Him and then said after all that, turn back and strengthen your brothers! (Luke 22:31-34) He offers a door in prisons with no perceivable doors.
Acts 14:27 … opens doors of faith – Rev. 3:8 …doors of opportunity and the door to the Kingdom – 1 Cor. 16:19 …doors for effective work in the midst of opposition – Col. 4:3 …door for the Good News to be proclaimed – 2 Cor. 2:12 …doors to share Him – Jesus is the Way maker (John 14:6) He is the God if the IMpossible – He doesn’t call us to the possible but the impossible because He says I AM what you need to make all things possible! You want life that is truly life… it’s only found in Me (John 10:10)! If I have a life I can do on my own why would I look for Him? In His great mercy and love and grace He gives me what I can’t handle on my own so that I’ll look to Him and through Him receive life that is eternal and truly live. But that’s not all!
Not only do hardships entwine our heart to the King of the world but as others see us carry around in our body the death of Jesus, the life of Jesus is also revealed in our body! (2 Corinthians 4:10) His strength is seen made perfect in us, in our weak and impossible seasons so that others can know Him too! (2 Cor. 12:9) 2 Cor. 4:12 states, So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. ….(verses 13) says we believe because we have the spirit of faith. 2 Cor. 1:21 says, now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ (verse 24) it is by faith you stand firm. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Sooooo if we believe because we have the spirit of faith and it’s by faith that we stand firm and it’s by God that we stand firm then our faith is from Him which is a confidence in a hope of something we do not yet see!
2 Cor. 3:12 tells us this hope makes us bold…. Bold enough that 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 goes on to say, Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Jesus in this “circus” of life please grant me ever increasing unshakable faith to stand firm in You who can trump every failure, every prison, can hold me together in the pain, and handle everything I can’t… because You are I AM, because on the road stained with Your blood there is no one that cannot get back up again. You are the good Father that views the pain, loss and failures of each precious child through eyes of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. Who applauds each leap of faith taken in bold hope, not in a trap-ease bar, but in the arms of the One that catches every time. Then with a smile not a smirk, dusts off our silly tutus and legwarmer clad knees, hands us back our hats and says, keep going, get back up there dear one, this is a picture of a leap of faith I’m going to treasure for eternity in My Kingdom scrapbook, (as only a good, good Heavenly Father could) until the day you sit in My lap and we treasure it together.
Independent Read: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, John 3:16