Wrong Way Jesus

Jesus was forever going against the flow.

wrong way 9Instead of holding to the laws and customs, He challenged them. Instead of taking the pain-free route, He walked the route of the hurting.Instead of remaining clean according to Jewish custom, he soiled Himself to bring the Good News to those who needed to hear it. The outcast. The downtrodden. The rejected. He brought Himself.

The Best news.

Jesus is the “lover of our souls.” Do we really understand what the love looks and feels like? If we do, are we showing that same love to others and fulfilling the most important commandment?  I talk about love a lot the last few years. And grace. It’s all about grace.

I never understood that before.

Grace reveals love.

wrong way 6I need grace. I need love. 

Performance doesn’t cut it for me. It shouldn’t cut it for you. It’s not that I’m not good at it, actually at one time, I would have run circles around your self-righteousness and good works.

I was a perfect legalist. My “trust” was so great I buried a child by “trusting” God. It “exceeded the Pharisees.” Or so I believed.

June 2014 Micaiah J Grubb 428As the Faith Message saying went, “I would rather die believing than to live in unbelief.”

After all “Divine healing was provided for in the atonement. It was a right and privilege of the believer.” ” Claim it by faith”(Is. 53; IPet etc…).  And if you can’t believe for a physical healing which you can see, which is nothing more than just flesh and bones, how can you believe that you are saved,  your rotten sin forgiven.”  Which is the greater miracle?

Yes, being forgiven is even greater than being healed – but we are forgiven. That is the point.  It’s all about Jesus.  It’s all about grace.

We were willing to trust unto death. I could have died, my husband nearly did. Our son did. Total trust. Can you say that?

Yeah, my “righteousness” was right up there with the Pharisees. May have even “exceeded the Pharisees.

I was all about the bible- all about doctrine as we were taught it. King James only, skirt wearing, no TV, only Christian praise, submissive to our husbands, only Christian authors of books, homeschooling, Patriarchal, family driven, “quiver-full,”  no drinking, smoking, dancing, swearing, no divorce ever, debt free-living only, “I Kissed Dating Good-Bye”, no “worldly toys or Barbie’s, no women in preaching,  no Christmas, “Ishtar” Halloween, no oaths, etc. etc…divine healing only Pharisaical cult. 

Oh, but that was you, look at how extreme you were?

Really? Start picking and choosing which ones you adhere to as the law for yourself and others? Feel free to add to the list because it really is quite extensive within all of our many denominations and fellowships of Christian believers.

wrong way 4“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9

It didn’t feel much like a gift back then.

It was in the beginning when Jesus spoke into my heart. In the quiet of my home when I read Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and I made an intellectual choice that Jesus is God and I would follow him. It was a gift then, when the Holy Spirit came to me and whispered, “I love you. You don’t need drugs or cigarettes any more. We love you no matter what, and we will stay with you forever. Absolutely everything you have ever done is forgiven, and you will live and walk in that forgiveness.  Just hold on to my hand and never let go and I will be here for you through good times and bad.”

 

Then the law entered. The people who  knew about the ways of God began telling me how I could “please” Him. I’d been given the “gift of God,”  and now I needed to learn how to use it correctly.  If I didn’t, it may be returned. It could be taken away.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:37-39

I was the woman in the circle, caught in adultery. Everyone was holding a stone to throw at me – the Pharisees, my brethren. They were there to reveal a law I was breaking, a sin I was in, something about me  I had to change.

wrong way jesus 3And change I did. Everything about me was wrong – who I was, was wrong. I was a “Christian” now and had to be different. Act differently. Live differently.

Be different.

There was something innately wrong with who I was.  I learned how to throw stones right back at them. Big ones. Deadly ones. Even my own family was subject to the painful stones of legalism.

But Jesus stayed in that circle with me and shielded me from the stones that would kill me. He allowed only those stones that caused me to look my accusers in the eyes and say,  “Enough, He does not condemn me,  so you can’t.” He has taken the rocks from my hands,  and as the circle dissipates, I can walk away in peace.

Free. No more death in our lives. No more anger, pain, or betrayal. No more law.

Grace.

There will always be rocks (especially for women), but I don’t have to accept them. Jesus is there to deflect the laws that people hurl. He will always go against the flow to save a Samaritan like me.  The Pharisees all thought He was going the wrong way too.  The free gift is too easy. It feels like the wrong way. He hands us this gift of salvation and we think we need to pay for it. We tell others they need to pay for it.

The gift is free. The gift makes us free. 

wrong way 8I am so thankful that Jesus walks the wrong way.  The wrong way path Jesus takes us on is miraculous. While you journey, you experience all kinds of adventures wrought with danger, pain, suffering, joy, peace, love, grace, fear, courage, empathy – growth and vision.

Lots of growth. Lots of vision.

I get to see the world through His eyes on this wrong way road.

And His eyes see the beauty in all things.

“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”   2 Cor. 3:16-18

 

 

His Name is Micaiah, His Name is Love

handsTomorrow, December 10th, marks the day our son Micaiah would turn 23. He died at birth, never getting to taste of what this life has to offer, but drinking in the presence of God from his first breath of life. I knew it was a boy before he was born, not because of ultrasound, we didn’t use those options for our children, but because God named him before he was born. “Who is like Jehovah?” Micaiah was the name the Lord would put in our hearts before he was born, and would carry to full term.  “Who is like God?” The question would resound for many years after his death. The depths of the destruction that spiritual abuse caused would resound for many years – and at times it still rings now.

I have finally come to understand that very few will ever really understand what it is like to carry the weight of losing a child in such a sad, meaningless way; yet many will genuinely believe that they know what it feels like. Others will know the loss of losing a child and relate in that way, the common bond of understanding that a simple glance between parents can convey a thousand words. But for most, they did all they could to save their child, when in our case, we carried the burden of a loss that was totally preventable. We carry the loss of having learned to forgive people directly responsible. We carry the loss of knowing that the, “what if’s…” of our loss, are very tangible, “If only’s…”

Add to burden of, “If only’s” that during our darkest hour, we were surrounded by people who told us before he was deep in the ground, “You will have to get over it sometime.” “Do you know where you missed it yet?” or the kinder people from outside our corrupted circle of influence, “Well, you have enough children anyway.”

REDEMPTION

One of the definitions for redemption is, “an act o redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake.”        

Every day, the Lord redeems the loss of our son Micaiah more, but it isn’t in the ways most people would think. It’s not necessarily because we are surrounded by people who understand our experience, or that his death resulted in the ministry of Compassionate Reach (Hesed Hope), or even that our peers are kinder than those in our past, (oftentimes the old saying, “Christians shoot their wounded,” applies to us, even if more acutely because we have been fatally wounded), but the real redemption lies in the permanent scars that mark where I have been.

Like Much Afraid in Hannah Hurnnard’s, High Feet in High Places, it took the traveling companions of Sorrow and Suffering to walk beside me to the high places, and though I cried out like Much Afraid to have Joy and Peace, I finally submitted trusting that the Shepherd, “…would choose the very best guides for [me] and in doing so understand His reason,  “You will be able to mount to the High Places swifter than eagles, for it is only up on the High Places of Love that anyone can receive the power to pour themselves down in utter abandonment of self-giving.”

REDEMPTION

Sorrow and Suffering may have accompanied the faults and mistakes, but Joy and Peace (and forgiveness, and self-control, and long suffering, and contentment, and acceptance, and mercy, and grace, and goodness, and…and…) come through the redemption of utter abandonment.

His name is Micaiah. His name is Love.  Without my beautiful Micaiah, and the redeeming of His life – and death – I would never know the depths of God’s grace to learn to love as I am loved.

Happy Birthday Micaiah. Give Jesus a high five for me.

 

 

The Truth Will Set You Free

This morning I began attending a bible study at the local Evangelical Presbyterian Church in our town. I had been invited by a close neighbor who attends the church. I really want to connect in my local community beyond the church fellowship on Sunday which is not my town. I  liked the way my neighbor expressed they study the bible, pray for each other,  and hold each other accountable. I need accountability – I have a tendency to pull away when I feel pain. In the larger church group I have found in the past that when I pulled away no one noticed – not a good thing when you are feeling isolated and alone to begin with.

Pulling away in pain and avoiding conflict in relationships ends up destroying relationships. I fear rejection. Relationships have conflict – life has conflict – we were rejected in the garden. It is a demon we all face in life. That is the Truth that is setting me free. We were rejected in the Garden, but Jesus gave us the garden of His heart to grow in.

I find I have a few relationships where the temptation to avoid conflict- the fear of rejection – means I produce more conflict by avoidance. It always catches up with me – in one way or another. You can’t be in a leadership position and avoid conflict – it is part of life. Conflict means rejection. God is dealing with my issues of rejection one terrible conflict at a time. And yet, when I feel powerless in a conflict, it triggers the partially trained sadistic demon (ptsd) to go on a rant again, bringing me back to a, “Are you friggin’ kidding me,” when is the Truth going to set me free once and for all?

Today is one of those days I need to face a conflict – not a big one – that is the problem of avoidance – they seems ridiculously big. I skirt it, I dance around it, I tell another about it, I fear it, I dread it. What if I am rejected again? Can I handle it.

You are my Truth Jesus. You hear it all, you see it all, you know my heart. Frail and broken as it is most of the time, you have been healing the broken pieces one at a time. You quiet my racing heart and help me to face the giants you have chosen for me. To prove me. To strengthen me.  I don’t know how people without faith in God face giants. I don’t even have a sling and a stone like David, I have only my fists and my faith; my fists pounding against the chest of an immovable God while my faith knows He loves me all the more for the pounding. He can take a few bruises – He took more than that.

Some would say I am deceived – weak minded to place faith in a God instead of myself. I have faith in the me that He created to face the giants. But me alone – nah, not gonna happen. Tried that before, and I always end up crawling back to God asking Him to pick me up again. Daddy, I can’t do this alone, please hold my hand and help me walk. If I am delusional, this is a wonderfully freeing delusion. You will know the truth….

I was reminded today of a poem I wrote in 2011 about the death of Micaiah – it was the first public acknowledgement of pain about his death I made.

I told the Lord I hated Him, I thought He’d hate me too.

Instead He said, “That’s just one of the sins I bore for you.”

I told the Lord He wasn’t fair, children should never die.

He said, “I’m glad you’re telling me and free to question why?”

Why is life so filled with pain when You’re the God of light?

Why allow such suffering when You can make it right?

Is this really for Your purposes or is it just some ploy?

To play with us a game of fate,  a twisted cosmic toy?

I felt a drop upon my face as tears fell from the sky,

Reminding me of God’s great love descending from on high.

He spoke these words into my heart, and burned them in my soul,

Stay honest in your pain with me for I will make you whole.

Religious fronts and masquerades are Evils entity,

The truth of your heart is in my hands, and the Truth will set you free.

Note: If this is your first visit to my blog; We lost a child in a spiritually abusive cult (Hobart Freeman’s “Faith Message”)  in 1990. Some of the excerpts are part of a book project about those years and my journey of healing.