Have you ever had a season where you felt like God was trying to get you to see something that He sees, but because your viewpoint is so deeply ingrained in your psyche it seems to take FOREVER?
This has been a remarkable year. I started out by going on an insulin pump, which I had to go off because I lost my insurance coverage because I was fired from my job, then I used what I had saved in my 401k account to sustain me for a few months before I went back to school full time (man, that was a mouthful). Throughout all of this I kept hearing God say “rest.” Rest. Ummm, okay God. I don’t have a job, but I’ll rest. What money I had saved is vanishing, but I’ll rest. I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for school, but I’ll rest. What God has been trying to get me to do is see Jesus as more than savior, healer, or even friend. I needed to see Jesus as redeemer.
I have a strong work ethic — Thanks to my folks! — so the idea of not being in a position to work and earn a sustainable living is an absurd concept to me. Losing my job in a bad economy has allowed me to see that even as much as I’d like to be, I’m not in total control of the circumstances affecting my life. So what do you do when you’ve done everything you know to do and it seems like it isn’t enough? You STAND (see Ephesians 6:13) — cue the Donnie McClurkin song now ;). But what should I be standing on, or in for that matter?
The finished work of Christ flies in the face of
the modern my view of the work ethic. If you work extremely hard, you can expect good results. If you work even harder, you should expect greater results. The harder I work, the better off I should be, because, because… well that’s how it works!
When I came to know Christ I was putting my faith in something which I could not work for (see Ephesians 2:8-9). The fact that I have even come to know Christ is in itself a gift… a gift… a gift.
I have to be honest when I say in most instances I am not happy receiving gifts. I’d much rather be in the position of giving the gift, and many times when someone gives me something I find myself looking for some way to repay what they have given. What I have come to learn is that for some the joy comes in simply being able to give a gift, with no expectation of recompense. “I’m happy enough in your enjoying this that for you to attempt to repay me would be an insult,” some might say, if given the chance. I’ve also come to realize that there are some things I’ve been freely given which I’ll never be able to repay, even if I was so inclined.
So here we are back at the gift of Christ. “For God so loved the world…” God’s great love has welcomed me into His bosom and into the Body of Christ. Because I
know that love… have experienced His love firsthand, I am free to give it… with no expectation of recompense. Because of that love God has ordained in this season that I “rest.” I am resting in the finished work of Christ and all that that work has accomplished for me. It means that for all my working and striving, I’ll never be able to accomplish what his work on the cross has purchased for me.
have am continuing to learn to rest in this finished work, I have seen God provide for me in unimaginable ways. The kindness of friends (and strangers), great grace and favor with my professors, the freedom to volunteer my time and talents, etc. I’m taking God at his word and seeing Him do what I perceived to be impossible right before my very eyes. I always knew that there was some opportunity lying beneath the surface of me losing my job. I never knew there was a greater revelation of God’s love and a deeper understanding of the supremacy of a life lived in Christ.
Because I am coming to know Jesus as a redeemer, I am no longer striving after the “work, work, and work some more” ethic which I previously held to. I am now free to rest in what Christ has done as I work toward what he has called me to.