Why think you have a life when you have a lie? Jim was plagued by irritable bowel syndrome. A friend of long standing came to his home to see how he was doing. Peter had long lived as an extension of Jesus as a healer of the sick bodies and sick hearts. In Jesus authority he healed people on his walk by the waterfront most days. Peter asked Jim if he might pray for his healing.
Surprisingly Jim declined. It came out over the following weeks. Jim had accommodated himself to the pain, the crankiness, the border-line depression and the un-life he had always known by making his malady his friend. He feared that in losing his disability he would lose himself. He was right about that. Jim was a semi-living example of the fact that that if one is to have life to the full, then one must die to self in order to have all of Christ’s life.
You can make a life out of a non-life and think you have something when what you really have is a disability.
The episode with Jim and Peter goes some way to explaining why many Christians clutch their delusions to themselves like battered thongs and tattered worn-out singlets. It explains why many live in partiality rather than in the fullness of Christ and the completeness of His plan. It tells us why many are married to their myths and content with their blindness. Why many are more comfortable in the stilted life and separation of legalism and old covenant separation than they are with Christ Himself as their life. We can be so confronted by the radical life that is ours in Jesus that we manufacture obstructions of our own to keep Him at bay. We say ‘You are a hard man and bury His radical spirit and life in the ground…and continue living a lie.
CONFRONTED BY JESUS
J Baxter Kruger writes, ‘[Jesus] comes as the one anointed in the Spirit. Such beauty, such freedom, such life disturbs us to the core of our being. How could it not? For he finds us in our darkness. He is the other in our lives who will not go away, the other whose presence quickens us with hope and rocks our illusory world. For in his presence we feel loved and wayward at the same time.
Herein lies the crisis of our existence. Jesus Christ loves us too much to leave us lost and doomed in our mythology. Yet his presence inevitably exposes our living as bound in darkness and death.
His sharing his mind with us sets a new world before us, confronting us with a breathtaking vision of his Father and of ourselves and others. This vision searches through our souls, faithfully revealing both that we are loved and cherished and included, and that we are a long way from living in the joy of the Father's embrace.
Such exposure hurts like hell. Jesus, of course, intends us no harm. The crucible of his presence is intended to awaken us, to give us solid hope, and to summon us to respond with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. His faithfulness to share his knowledge of the Father's heart with us in our darkness means that we know there is a beautiful life for us to live, and that we have not been living it.
The pain of such incongruence is a command to stand on our feet, to forsake the darkness, and to believe in the Father's heart. As surely as "Thou fool who lives in darkness" inevitably follows the great and blessed "Thou art Mine!" addressing us in Jesus, so comes the command of the Father's heart, "Rise, My beloved, receive My love and live.’