Thursday, 28 November 2013

Being led to follow

"I know His commands lead to eternal life."  (John 12:50)

The low lands call
I am tempted to answer
They are offering me a free dwelling
Without having to conquer

The massive mountain makes its move
Beckoning me to ascend
A much more difficult path
To get up the slippery bend

I cannot choose both
I have a choice to make
I must be wise
This will determine my fate

I choose, I choose the mountain
With all its stress and strain
Because only by climbing
Can I rise above the plane

I choose the mountain
And I will never stop climbing
I choose the mountain
And I shall forever be ascending -
Howard Simon

Moun­tains loom large in our cul­tural imag­i­na­tion. They rise up and erupt in our minds as much as they do on our land­scapes. The heights are well rep­re­sented in the Bible: Moses retires to Mount Sinai, where God reveals to him the Ten Com­mand­ments; Jesus gives his ser­mon on a mount, and it is on top of a moun­tain where he is trans­fig­ured into radiant and holy light.

How full of dreams and plans were our hearts when we settled ourselves on the eastern slope of this mountain. Overlooking the three rugged ridges of the Qabimbola*, I would gaze out from the wide deck of our cabin, ready to "soar on wings like eagles". These were dreams of self-sufficiency, reaching back in time to a real and earthy way of living. It felt so right, so noble and free from the pressures and greed of the "modern" world. The pull had been strong, regardless of the trials and tests that preceded our arrival. Trials which became fiercer as we were forced to face the motives behind our dreams, as well as our human disappointments and failings. Looking back they seem so unreal, a part of someone else's life. And perhaps they were...

At the heart of those early dreams and ambitions, was selfish desire. A deep need to stand for something real. But, blinded to the fact that what seemed "real" at the time, was yet another tantalising mirage. There was still beauty, but it was on the surface, like a carefully made up face that hides a broken heart.

The longing inside me burned and ached and cried for something, I didn't rightly know what. Then, on a misty day, He met me. I must have passed Him by on so many forest wanderings, and so many times while I was gazing out at those mountains, He was standing right next to me. It was not a sudden revelation or a dawning of dazzling light. More like a slow awakening to something that has always been right there in the peripheral.

But, what precedes a true "awakening" is death. The death of what was before, who I was before. Giving up so much that I thought I could not possibly do without. Gently, Jesus showed me the way to relinquish the pursuit of those "things" and areas of my life, which would ultimately just lead me back to "death". They did not seem like sacrifices, more like a joyful cleaning out of a choked and dark cupboard. His Word no longer seemed like a book of rules and archaic writings - page by page it came alive under my fingers. As His Spirit flowed and shone on the words, their truth rang like poetry and His decrees became like a long sought after map.

Christ observed the commission and instructions given Him, and He steadily acted in pursuance of them: "Whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say" (John 12:50b). Christ was so intimately acquainted with God's council, and so faithful in conveying them to the children of men. As a faithful witness he delivered souls and spoke the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is a the greatest example of obedience to us. Christ said what he was told to say, did what the Father told him to do, and so should we. (We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. - Acts 4:20)

He obeyed the hardest command the Father gave. The command that lead Him to be betrayed by His friends to whom He so faithfully witnessed. They condemned Him to hang on a cross, to be beaten and spat on. He went down to the depth of hell itself. It is there where we remain if we do not die with Him, but it is with Him that we will rise in victory if we do. His (the Father's) commands give eternal life - is there any other choice? But the choice we make is not in fear of hell alone, but from a place of love and devotion and a longing to be part of an eternal life with our beautiful Saviour.

This was His glory, that, as a Son, he was faithful to Him who appointed Him; and, by an unfeigned belief of every word of Christ, and an entire subjection of our souls to it, we should also give Him the glory due to His name.

Our days have a new lustre to it. Like the light in my husband's eyes. The miracle of changed lives. The joy of guiding our precious boys on the way that Jesus lights before us. To follow, trust, obey and hope. The wind has blown away those early ambitions. Made them superfluous. Day by day we are made new as His mercies are new. And being confident of this, that he who began a good work in (me and) you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

* Xhosa name for the Hogsback

No comments:

Post a Comment