God Leaves Life in His Wake (Beholding and Becoming II)

“Grant that . . . that we may be made like him in his glorious and eternal kingdom.”  (Collect BCP, Year C Sunday closest to November 9)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has thus been destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Job 19:25-27

“ But at my vindication, I shall see your face; When I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.” Psalm 16:17

“Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” Luke 20:36-38

Lean in and pay close attention to my words. I’ve happened upon the message of my life and perhaps the single most important thing I can tell you. Remember it. Turn it over and over in your mind until it saturates your soul. Until you absorb it and live it. As you do, as you practice this truth, God will perpetually birth new life in you. For it is God who gives life to all living things. And life, God’s life, the eternal life flowing through your veins (if you are in Christ), and through all of creation is indescribably good and beautiful and wholesome and sustaining no matter the circumstance. The apostle Paul and saints throughout the ages attest to this truth.
Here it is:
Pay the utmost attention to God. Set your gaze on him, behold him, see him, do whatever necessary to keep laser focus zeroed in on him. Keep a single eye on him. As you do behold him, you will not conform to the pattern of this world—the pattern of death, but will be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1,2).
More and more you’ll live and breathe life. To change the metaphor, as you behold him, his streams of living water, his life, will continually fill you to the brim and flow through you into the lives of others. Think of it as unleashing a dam of life-giving water. This overwhelming force of gushing water cuts a canyon through hard-rocked souls leaving every form of life in its wake. Not a perfect metaphor by any means. Do forgive me. I’ll work on it. But that’s one picture I have of God’s life in us and in the world. As Jesus says in Luke 20:38, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

God leaves life in his wake. Not death. Do you believe this?

Job did. After all the hell he went through, despite all he suffered, or maybe because of it? Though certainly none of it was his own fault, he said, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has thus been destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”

As your gaze locks on to God, You will have abundant life (John 10:10). You will become whole, holy–like Christ–conformed into his image (Romans 8:29). As father Greg Boyles says, you will experience the Japanese concept of amae, that is, you will live in a deep sense of being loved and cherished by God. As our eyes are locked on him, God’s love will melt away all in us that is not of him. Again as Father Greg Boyle notes, this is a love that, “. . . melts you. It doesn’t melt who you are but who you are not” (Tattoos on the Heart, 103).

Dallas Willard writes, “I realize that I will either allow my view of evil to determine my view of God and will cut him down accordingly, or I will allow my view of God to determine my view of the evil and will elevate him accordingly, accepting that nothing is beyond his power for good” (Renovation of the Heart, 109-110).

But what if we have bad eyesight? What if we are allowing our view of evil to determine our view of God? What if we are blind? Then we ask God to let us see. We ask for healing. And in the mean time, if we can’t see clearly, we trust those who have better eyesight. My husband Shawn has 20/15 eyesight. I cannot clearly see things that are far away. I prefer that he drive at night and especially when it is dark and raining hard. If we  are in the darkness, because of whatever form of suffering, or because of doubt, or depression, or because we have not held our gaze on God, or for whatever reason, even if it’s not our fault, like it wasn’t Job’s. Listen. Trust the eyesight of those who have better vision.

Granted, I understand that as Paul says, in this life, we see through a glass darkly. But even in this life, there are those who can see better than others. If we are honest with each other, we know this to be true. This is a sober truth. God forbid that we allow ourselves to be lead by blind guides or by those who have poor eyesight. They may be sincere and well-meaning. But they very well might lead us to our death. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:22, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

May I offer practical ways to behold God? These are not exhaustive and in no particular order.

1. Scripture Reading and Memorization
2. Reading books
3. Beholding the beauty of Creation
4. Beholding the beauty of others
5. Contemplating the good, the true, and the beautiful in whatever form
6. Through lovely or even heart-wrenchingly beautiful music
7. Through little children
8. Through art
9. Through Church History and sayings fo the saints
10. Our employment
11. Through service to others, especially the poor
12. Through Prayer
13. By contemplating God’s attributes
14. Through the elderly
15. Through the body of Christ
16. Through Christ

*There are many other ways. Perhaps you can share some with us.

Blessings to You.

1 thought on “God Leaves Life in His Wake (Beholding and Becoming II)

  1. “God will perpetually birth new life in you . . .” or as I say, “He’s an expert at resurrections and second chances.”
    Beautiful truth, Marlena. Perhaps that’s why He tells us “Pure religion is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress . . .” Then we witness the birth of new life right before our very eyes. God is good and I praise Him!

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