Hi! It's going to be almost 2 weeks since I last posted my thoughts in 'I'd Rather Be Shot' during my trip to Victoria. I'd fallen sick with a cold and sore throat after I returned to Vancouver, so spent the last week trying to recover from that. Although I haven't posted here during that time, it's been good in some ways. God has been using the down time to draw my attention to some things in my life that I've needed to see more clearly.
Through 'Humility: True Greatness' that I read on my trip to Victoria and back, I've had to closely look at and acknowledge areas of pride in my life, and accept the blows of God's loving chastisement, rebuke and correction. I have to say that I've come out a much better man for it, seeing myself as a 'proud man pursuing humility by the grace of God', as C. J. Mahaney so succintly expressed it. I comprehended the magnitude of His gracious kindness towards me so much better now, and have had my thought process and perceptions changed; I constantly find myself thinking about how I can cultivate humility and mortify pride everyday. I've leared to see each day that I live through differently, as I realize God's graciousness and kindness to me and all of humanity in an abundance that we're all so totally undeserving of. In the process, I'm so much more aware of the depravity and sinfulness of my own heart, and the intensity of the battle for sanctification as God works on the transformation of all that needs changing...and there is so much that needs changing. Most of all, I understand and experience the person of Christ and the power of the Cross in a way that I have not grasped before.
A. W. Tozer brilliantly described what I feel, along with anyone else who comes to that powerful experiential comprehension of the holiness of God, in the chapter on the holiness of God in his book 'The Knowledge of The Holy':
'The sudden realization of his personal depravity came like a stroke from heaven upon the trembling heart of Isaiah at the moment when he had his revolutionart vision of the holiness of God. His pain-filled cry, "Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts," expresses the feeling of every man who has discovered himself under his disguises and has been confronted with an inward sight of the holy whiteness that is God. Such an experience cannot but be emotionally violent...We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God's power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness He cannot even imagine.'
'Humility: True Greatness' reminded me that I have not even scratched the surface of understanding the holy God in front of whom I should tremble, having gained a small glimpse of the wretched sinner that I am without Christ and His Cross. God chose to use my favourite song of my favourite music artist to convict me about all of this during the last week. I first heard this song almost 12 years ago, played in the car of my dear friend and brother Kelvin Goveas, when starting my undergraduate degree in engineering at UT-Austin, Texas. This is 'Never Been Unloved', by Michael W. Smith:
That song sums up my life without Christ. Every adjective rings true to the kind of person that I have been, the nature that still raises its rebellious head against the loving hand of my Heavenly Father, and every brother and sister that I have. This, truly, is the story of me: un-faithful; un-worthy; un-righteous; un-merciful; un-reachable; un-teachable; un-willing; un-desirable; un-wise; un-done; un-sure; un-broken; un-mended; un-easy; un-approachable; un-emotional; un-execptional; un-decided; un-qualified; un-aware; un-fair; un-fit; un-able; un-godly....
BUT (And I'm glad that there's a 'but' in my story), the story of my life thankfully doesn't stop there. Because Jesus cared enough to love me, because of all that He suffered for me, I know that I have never been unloved by the holy God who has been kind and gracious in giving me the privilege of calling him 'Father,' calling him 'Papa'. Because of Jesus, grace upon grace beyond all measure has been poured out upon the life of this undeserving sinner, for which I am silent in humbled gratitude before my awesome God. He has accepted me where others have rejected, stood by me when others deserted, loved me when others hated, blessed me when others cursed, comforted me where others inflicted, lifted me when others struck down, been there when others have not. He was, is and always will be what none other can ever be. That's why, as Michael W. Smith so eloquently put it, 'He is still God, and I am still not.'
He is still God, and I am still not.
I have said it before on this blog, and I will say it over and over till the end of my life and even beyond - I am a man who has nothing good to say about himself, and everything good to say about his God. I'm going to go listen to that song again. God bless. See you in the next post!
- The Wisdom Seeker