Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blessed Assurance

Perfect submission, all is at rest, 
I in my Savior am happy and blest, 
Watching and waiting, looking above, 
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. 

As I sang this, alone in my room, this morning I felt so overcome with blessed assurance and felt a sudden urge to write about this assurance in God which He has faithfully stretched and shaped and molded over this past year.

There have been a lot of changes in life, to say the least. Getting married, moving to Norway, moving back to Belfast, and now looking for work as an "immigrant" (because yes I am one of those now..). It has been a lot to handle and process and come to terms with. I used to think I could take anything, I had moved so many times I was "used" to it. And then I got hit with the reality that you can never get "used" to moving countries, you just cant, it is hard in different ways and it is never a smooth, easy-going process. Yet through it all, I am reminded that the Lord never gives us more than we can handle (even if it sometimes feels it is) and He always leads to His glory and our good. I know this is true because I have experienced it again and again, and He is always faithful, always always always, and again and again and again...

So this is a post to praise my Father who I love and adore. Who bears patiently with me when I whine and complain and cry out to Him. Who never ceases to teach me and lead me on His path, which though it is narrow is beautiful and wonderful and I would not trade it for the world (literally). It seems every year is challenging in different ways. This year held difficulties with transition, health, fears and doubts, and through it all I have been brought to a place where I see that within sorrow there really can be great joy. And it is SO true that when we turn our eyes on Jesus, all things really do fade away. My husband, Mikael, and I have decided to take a detour from our reading in the Old Testament to study Revelation within this time of our lives where there remains so many uncertainties about right now and the future. I have been job searching for two months now and next year we do not know whether we will be in Belfast, Norway, America, or China... and so it might be easy that our perspective slowly dwells on here and now and the world we are in. But this perspective is not how it should be for us, we ought instead to have a heavenly perspective.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

It has been challenging to reflect on the adoption of this perspective. I want to learn how to really have this outlook and to truly set my eyes on things above. As I was reading through Mark, I came to the parable where Jesus talks about the seeds which fall in various terrains. When I got to the part where he describes those who fall on good soil but are choked by the worries of life that they cease to bear fruit, I felt an immediate blow to my heart and got on my knees to ask the Lord that it might not be so with me! I recognize that it is so easy for me to worry about the things of this life. Obviously, things of the world have to be thought about and recognised as we live and work here, but I want to learn more what it is to have my mind ruled with a different focus and a heavenly hope.

So Mikael suggested we go through Revelation, to be reminded that this world is not our home and to read and be encouraged by the King and Kingdom to which we belong. Y'all. (wow I have not used that word in awhile..) But really, y'all. Revelation is really beautiful. I know it is a book that is often seen as intimidating or confusing or whatever, but really, please take the time to read it. For "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near" (Revelation 1:3).

What a glimpse it gives us into the Heavenly things. To a vision of the Son of Man: "He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance" (Revelation 1:16). To our citizenship in the Kingdom of God: "The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name" (Revelation 3:12). To the King of Heaven: "The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones - like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow" (Revelation 4:3).

What a glorious, glorious hope we have! It might not be any time soon that I feel settled in this life. I might remain jobless, I might always be a foreigner, I might always feel some level of discomfort or instability, but if that means I can be continually reminded of the fact that this world is not my home, and truly learn what it means to have a heavenly perspective, then I praise the Lord for His grace to lead me to a reward such as this which is far greater than any comfort or job could grant me. May I learn more what it means to be a Citizen of Heaven while abiding in this world "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory" (Philippians 3:20). 

And one day I will join the voice of the saints who day after day and night after night kept saying "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty - the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come" Revelation 4:8.

Yes, Blessed Assurance indeed!

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