What We Have to Become

Monday, October 24, 2005

“God drew [him] even more and more strongly; until at last—I know not, I say, how God did it, or whereby He made the soul of James Blatherwick different from what it had been—but at last it grew capable of loving, and did love: first he yielded to love because he could not help it; then he willed to love because he could love; then become conscious of the power, he loved the more, and so went on to love more and more. And thus did James become what he had to become—or perish.”
~George MacDonald

I am a James Blatherwick. If you consider that none of us can claim that we are, of ourselves, capable of loving, then it might not be a very big stretch to say that we may all be James Blatherwick--or at the very least, that we know him.

My soul is often lackadaisical in its approach to life, stone cold in its desire for God, and listless in its love for others. I have often despaired of the adequacy of my own heart to respond to its Creator and to the love of others. Instead, I draw my heart back to myself and hold it far from the reach of anyone--all the while demanding that others love me. There probably isn't one relationship that I have had in which my own heart hasn't caused a multitude of problems as I seek all that I can get for myself while giving nothing of myself to others.

But as God drew James Blatherwick, I see God is drawing me, and is drawing others like me, and we dare not say how He is doing it, for He is God, and His ways are beyond our comprehension.

Though I cannot control the depths of my heart, I am told to be conformed to the image of Christ. Yet I am also told that I have the mind of Christ. Could it be, that even as God has chosen me and claimed me as His own, He has constructed a story just for me that will bring me to the fulfillment of the work He began in me?

My heart is hurting right now, because so many have looked at me and at others that I know and love, and they expect that we are already what we have to become--but when they see what we are, we are not enough, and there is no hope for another story for us. But really, there is no way, looking at us now, that we could possibly see any hope that any of us could truly love.

But like James Blatherwick, we grow capable of loving through the love of Jesus Christ. In God's timing and in His wisdom, He draws us ever nearer to His truth. He offers us His unconditional love that consumes us like fire as we discover its reality, that burns our passions and fills our souls with Him--just Him. In the end, we are not so different from James Blatherwick, for we find that we must love, or perish.

This is the power of grace, that God so loved me that He gave us the freedom to love Him with all we have to give this glorious God--without the shame of our defeat. I am discovering how sweet His forgiveness is to the soul beaten down with the unpardonable. The Cross allows me to stand justified before Almighty God because He sees Jesus Christ pleading for me with His blood, which washes my guilt at the foot of God's throne. A song of praise, an outstretched, welcoming hand, and I must fall at His feet, triumphant, and yet somehow...broken, for I am not worthy of this goodness!

I find that God is still at work in me, and I will become what I have to become, for I am His, and He was not ashamed to be my God.

There are those who seem to have no hope of ever knowing this grace, or of experiencing the power of God's love living through them--but do not so quickly judge them. With a gentle heart and a loving eye, remember that they may be a James Blatherwick too, and God is even now drawing their heart so that they will be come what they must be.

It is, after all, His work, is it not?

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart.”

~Phil. 1:3-7a


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