In darkest times
by Jim Hutson
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Often in times where we are troubled, or in troubled waters, our minds seek out and grasp ahold of things that meant something to us, that gave us a jot of energy even though things weren't all that bad. And those things gain more meaning in the harshness of the wintery cold.
The more I stand for something, the more I get accused of standing for nothing. I was told, since I feel that the shame that Obama has with the UCC, that I am saying that there are no true Christians in the UCC. I would find it hard pressed to find Christians in a church that is geometrically opposed to the tenants of Christ, but I wouldn't doubt that there could possibly be someone. Although, not in a leadership position. It doesn't matter to me, I have been called to speak the words of the Gospel and leave it at that. I don't have to convert anyone....only the Holy Spirit can do that.
With the whirlwind my life is currently swirling around in, the silence of Heaven, and even the general feeling of peace that I usually have when I am in purpose with God's will......I am not taking the time, I guess, to be nice. I've gotten a bit more than usual "hate" mail.
Which brings me back to the memory that I have that jolted me way back on the men's weekend I attended. I wrote about that weekend in my story "In search of.....Heroes". Anyway, Scott gave a sermon on the Sunday morning that meant something to me at the time, much in the way that a good sermon will stir the heart on an average day........but the full impact was to wait until it was needed. In fact, I wrote my notes and stuck them in the pages. And then forgot about them.
The point of the sermon was to remind us men not to close off our hearts, to guard against guarding our hearts against the hurts and pains that the world will bring us. 2 Timothy is all about Paul warning his young charge not to do so, in fact, Scott pointed out that this letter has "Don't be ashamed, Don't give up" fifteen times in four chapters........... And it is that call, that admonishment of Paul's to Timothy that hit me broadside today.
"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life --not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace." 2 Timothy 1:8-9a NIV
Here, Scott pointed out, Paul is telling Timothy and us not to shut down because of the pain, but rather embrace it and move forward despite of it. Gladly accepting the suffering as a blessing of following Christ and partaking in a small way the enormous suffering Christ endured for us. We are each called to the larger story of God's redemption of mankind, playing our own part in our stories which are joined to the whole.
I had forgotten, in the midst of the uncertainity and stillness that is my life, that the greater story still moves on and my part hasn't ended but will achieve even greater telling in the suffering endured now. Maybe it is because of my closeness to achieving the direction which God wants me to take that has brought on the firestorm of ridicule, doubt, and fear that is plaguing me now.
"That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day." v12
I still feel the CALL in my bones and still feel the need to profess what the Lord would have me say, regardless of whether it is acceptable to man. I only have to do what is acceptable to God.
The CALL is still burning like a fire in my bones........
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