READ: 2 Chronicles 1-3, Psalm 126, Mark 9, Hebrews 11
CRYING BY FAITH
What we don’t ask for defines us. Solomon did not ask for riches or honor or fame, and consequently was granted them all. In Mark, Jesus repeatedly asks those He healed and helped to NOT share news about Him. This seems strange to us and counter to God’s own goal of all people having opportunity to repent. Yet, Jesus again and again instructs followers and disciples not to spread His fame. This request (not to be known) is indicative of Jesus’ passion to go to the cross, for He knew why He had come and He knew fame would hinder (or make more complicated) His purpose. Jesus did not come to be popular–He came to die. If riches, honor, and fame worked against Jesus’ calling, why do you think they will work for yours? Perhaps it is because your goal is to live. Our goal should be to die–that is what Jesus models for us, death to self, death to sin, death that brings life to others. By faith we understand that God brings life through death and that you don’t start living until you die.
Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that it is fitting to desire our heavenly home and country. This, too, is faith–to trust that what lies ahead of us is where we really belong and that it is so much fuller than whatever good we enjoy now. It is this trust (faith is trust) that allows us to endure great hardship in the now. By faith we are tortured. By faith we are mocked. By faith we are scourged. By faith we are chained. By faith we are stoned. By faith we are sawn in two. By faith we are tested. By faith we are slain with the sword. By faith we wander destitute. All these unpleasantries we joyfully embrace–for we are walking towards home. The scripture says the world is not worthy of those who understand this simple truth, and conversely we are not enamored of the world, we know (we trust) that there is a much better reality prepared for us. By not asking for peace, pleasure, and safety in this world, we are pleading for it in the next–trusting that our heavenly home has all the amenities our souls were engineered to take delight in.
Our misunderstood striding through life is not a headlong rush to leave others behind us and enter paradise alone; this faith walk is intrinsically bound to inviting others to come with us. “He who continually goes forth weeping [bearing seed for sowing] shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6). There is peripatetic purpose in wandering this earth: the continual weeping over those who are asking for (frantically seeking) the wrong things, the continual casting of God’s word (invitation) before them, the continual gathering of the nations for a group entrance into heaven. It’s not supposed to be easy. In fact, it is going to be brutally tear-coursing laborious. But if we are faith-full, if we trust, if we are willing to invest some tears, we end up laughing all the way home. Our tears are investment. We trust they will yield the joy of a group entrance into heaven.