At the moment i’ve all four of my grandparents still living. Very soon there’ll be one less. Grandpa is dying. He was diagnosed with cancer about 6 weeks ago and given 4-6 weeks. I’ve been back quite a few times over the last month or so to say goodbye, but this time was almost certainly the last.
Even sitting is now weary and a quarter cup of tea has become too heavy to hold, his weariness is acute. Inspite of the separation which we will grieve, it is beautiful, Grandpa is dying well. God has been so merciful and gentle. He is at peace and in very little pain. Death holds no fear leaving him and Grandma are able to enjoy his final days.
He will soon be free, free from physical blindness, free from his mind which has become increasingly prone to forgetfulness, free from the weariness. With heaven awaiting this is not a moment to despair nor dread. After 27 years in the dark, what a moment it will be, when his gaze meets his Maker’s beaming smile as he’s welcomed by name into the eternal Kingdom.
I am the fruit of his faithfulness to the Lord and I thank God for Him. He has run his race boldy and is finishing well. His life is worthy of celebrating. My earnest prayer is that God provide me the grace to do the same.
I know death seems to carry a striking poignancy regardless of how prepared one is. I wonder how i’ll feel afterwards.
A few months ago:
With Zander, while he could still walk:
The last day that I saw him:
This morning I felt seriously very crap and didn’t want to go to work. Next weeks small group discussion is spiritual warfare, if this is meant to be prep, fair enough but it sucks.
I lied yesterday, I spoke too much (Proverbs 10:19), I gossiped, I interrupted, I was proud, I was rude, I made jokes at others expense, not to mention the assortment of sinful hideousness which ran riot through my mind. A fairly typical day. It may not have been obvious to others, but was to me.
The condemnation is incessant, so intense. The devil has my head in his jaws and is thrashing me around like a rag doll, resistance seems pointless, he is right after all, i messed up, i always mess up. His knowledge of me is bettered only by God. He knows my insecurities, my vulnerabilities and weaknesses and tailors his assault accordingly. There are no laws in this conflict, he doesn’t play clean. His tactics are designed for maximum effect. He has no sympathy for my feelings and will show no mercy. His obsession is to extinguish the name and glory of God and he’ll start by looking to tear down and nullify the likeness of Jesus being built into my life through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
He attacks the essence of who I am, the creature Gods crafted, my God-given personality and God-given gifts, everything. Doubting my usefulness to everyone, it makes me want to hide. I look at myself and am rightfully ashamed.
Sinning goes against everything that I desire to be as a man of God, fact, and it hurts. However, on closer inspection, this isn’t the thing that hurts the most. Sadly, what hurts more is the prospect of my sin being exposed, and for those around me to see my true fallen state and foolishness. Somethings wrong with that and once again misplaced shame exposes an idol, one that goes way back, my fearing of man over God and elevating reputation for my own glorification.
ok, so the devil threw the most punches in round 1. He condemned me, floored me, starved me of hope and for a time succeeded in keeping my eyes focussed on my sin. However with some truth brought alive by the Holy Spirit we’re about to kick his ass!
I wander up blackford hill fairly regularly sort of, just to get away and have some time to myself.
Last Sunday it was a bit grey:
Last June it was less so:
(they’re my knees by the way, it was warmer back then)
Simon woof woof yesterday laid down again a fresh call for us to be people who pursue the kingdom of God radically.
Emotions are so easily swayed by environment and circumstances, compared to character which is substantial and enduring, and so for me, I think the issue isn’t so much “what am I going to do?” but rather “who am I aspiring to be?” and “where is my treasure?”. I’m inclined to think that radical living begins in our hearts, on our knees, and that as we spend time with a God who transforms hearts, that our “doing” will become increasingly instinctive and importantly sustainable. I was reminded of a post I spewed out a while ago (though only made it to the draft phase) as I thought about the man I aspire to (and by God’s grace) become.
A man of discipline and integrity, who is honorable, courageous and without reproach. A man who loves radically and indiscriminately, someone who reflects God’s character towards all those who cross my path. I want God to be glorified, for the world to acknowledge Him as king and creator, and to enjoy the relationship made possible through Jesus.
I want to be a man who is committed to good habits and wise disciplines. I want to read more books, I want to get through my bible steadily and for it to be of greater influence in my life than it is at the moment. I want to hear God’s voice with greater clarity. I want my every moment to be an acknowledgment of Him. I want to know Him better, and to see my circumstances the way He does. I want greater conviction for what is right and what is wrong, and in light of the freedom God’s given me I want to throw off everything that hinders, to run my race tenaciously and endure suffering. I want my life to be defined by holiness, not happiness. I want to focus my energy and align my will towards obeying him. I want to finish well and to never lose hope.
I want to learn to hate the sin that wars against my soul. I’m weary of its numbing effect upon my convictions and of the indifference it brings. I want to learn what it means to trust God and to not be afraid. I want to be courageous.
Aspiration is a good thing, but the truth is, I can’t do any of it. I can’t hasten my sanctification through keeping a series of rules and avoiding a list of “do nots”. Instead I must let grace to teach me and embrace the free gift of righteousness God has already given. I need to learn more of what it means to remain in the love God has lavished upon me. To surrender my all to a king who is sovereign, who is for me and who knows my every detail in ways I cannot comprehend.
I want to run in the path of His commands… to enjoy the relationship I have. I dedicate myself joyfully into his service for His purposes… that place of true freedom, and rest for my soul. God’s glory belongs, and must remain with Him, I don’t want any of it.
Jesus has given me life… and I want to live it. I know I will never be alone.