Thoughts from Isolation
The following thoughts were formed as I took a mandatory 34 hour break. I sat behind a store taking care of cleanup, paperwork, remaining clean before the Lord (This might include: some Bible reading, prayer, reflection, and dedication to making this opportunity as valuable as possible), and waiting patiently in 95 degree heat (only running the engine to keep electricity available to the laptop).
Why do I mention the circumstances of this encounter with isolation? I present the environment so that the reader can appreciate the moment of conception. There are times when such things are conceived under pleasant circumstances. But I believe, whole heartedly, that there are also questions and answers that cannot be gained by comfort. Is this one of those times? I have no idea. I was given a bag with seeds inside. Let’s see what grows.
I know I am blessed to endure these times of isolated reflection. I hope, with all my heart, that these thoughts initiate something “good” within the mind of the reader. I have kept them short (if possible) so that you can fill in the blanks yourself. The sub points are added as I retrieved answers from the Lord. These answers are to me, though they might provide a bit of direction to others.
I believe the format will help in the way of comment. How I look forward to hearing what you have to say about these things. We are all trying to come to conclusions about certain issues. And it is a sure bet that many of you have answers to these things I have not even questioned before, and cannot gain without you.
By His Grace, I present a day of contemplative isolation to my brothers, sisters, and future siblings.
- Do not crave peace. Rather crave that rebuke against your selfish nature so that you can prosper under the law of God. (This reflection was from reading Isaiah 53. How the Lord caused His Son to become eternally powerful through suffering and obedience.)
- The craving of the heart reveals the dedication held highest.
- The rebuke takes on an entirely different texture to the one who admires it.
- Sit and wait for the Lord. He has brought the entire creation and heaven to this moment. Do you really think He can’t bring you to where He wants you to be?
- He is not constrained by time.
- He is not constrained by resources.
- He knows where you will be in 30 years as well as where you are right now.
- What does perfection look like? Who has been privy to the Throne of God? Assume you have not attained perfection and submit to learning through experience.
- We do not contain what is perfect. Perfect contains us.
- “In Him we live, move and have our being.”
- Men say there is no God. They point to the chaos around them and measure His power by what they see. They perceive such chaos as to prove He does not exist as an all knowing, all sustaining being. I say there is a God. How else is all this chaos not destroying itself? By all reason, such chaos should have utterly voided this planet of life centuries ago. He sustains life even in the midst of utter rebellion, chaotic behavior, and decay.
- How great is the power of God?
- What marvelous purpose has He in mind to have created this place of testing?
- If this place was perfectly tempting enough to test the Son of God, what is to be said of those who also overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit?
- Can man really learn what is purely good on his own?
- If he learned something memory would cause a fading. Was it pure good then?
- What will happen to what is learned when another, and different, set of circumstances appear to challenge that slice of knowledge?
- Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun. The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short.
- Pride of ownership cannot be pure for a creature who does not own anything.
- God has created all that is. Everything belongs to Him to do with as He sees fit.
- Man can only use or manipulate what has been given to him.
- Where then is ownership by man?
- It is only between men that anyone can say he owns anything.
- Death and circumstances will surely divide what is owned with other’s hands.
- I am parked near a freeway exit. I hear people blare their horn at others.
- What are they saying?
- Does what they are saying matter?
- Where are they going that they can despise others so completely?
- Is rude part of their daily prescription for life?
- Where is patience?
- Where is mercy?
- Where is understanding?
- Are patience, mercy and understanding only words they have heard somewhere?
- And what of my perception of them? Am I only barking words in my heart?
i. Where are patience, mercy and understanding within me?
- The question for now is, “What are we that God would go to such pains to deliver into eternity a people scathed by sin and bought by pure sacrifice and obedience?
- The question we look forward to answering is what will be the state of affairs for such people?
- While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises.
i. What an amazing divide between the saved and the lost. The living and the dead.
- I do certain “right” things because I have learned there is a cost to “wrong” that I cannot afford (or am no longer willing to afford). But where is the learning that simply reads what God has said and puts it into practice without rebuke?
- Is it the same for everyone else?
- I admit that I am neither a Jew, nor was I born into a family which taught godly behavior from my youth.
i. Thus the saying I have come to own is come home to roost:
- “When you are done doing what you do, you will have done your best. If you could have done better, it would have been done.”
- This would mark the difference between a “righteous man” and a sinner being transformed by the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
i. Though both are singly justified by the Lord Himself, one learns by blessing what the other learns by rebuke.
ii. What matters most is that we are:
- Sheltered under the mercy of God.
- Being transformed at that same mercy.
- I often ponder those who are not saved. They do not recognize the Lordship of Jesus in their life. They even cast aspersions on the Lord and His people.
- Why are they not aware of the Lord’s Glory that was given to Him by the eternal creator Himself?
- Why do they not care when they are presented with the warnings against God’s enemies?
- Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?
- What will become of them?
i. As Peter had said, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner.” Indeed, what will happen to them?
- We hear of vague words like hell, eternal torment, destruction, death, and the like. But what does that actually look like when there is no longer any recourse?
- We hope, even now that we have reached the end of a certain difficulty. There will be no end to that difficulty.
- I am even more aghast at Israelites who don’t believe in God. Their birth follows a direct line from those who witnessed the sea open for them. Amazing that generations have wandered so very far from those initial witnesses.
i. This is proof that a name means nothing in the way of salvation. Even calling yourself a Christian means nothing if, indeed, you are not a Christian.
ii. Just as this is true, calling yourself an unbeliever is not the fullness of the sum of your life. You do not know if the Lord will come to visit you in the night somewhere. Once a man is touched by the Lord of Life he begins to grow into the promised man of God.
- There is a radical difference between the preaching of man and the power of Jesus’ touch. We speak all manner of words, do deeds abundantly, and hold the sinner close. In the end, however, our work is useless if the Lord does not touch them.
- At the same time, we might give up on a man. We may come to assume he will never respond. All the while the Lord is causing a moment to approach where He will transform what we could not. This is a ponderous and often over looked thought.
- Some teach others by a “hands-on” approach. They live among the people and display the Gospel every moment of every day. Some teach others by words. The words are cast out to spread that same Gospel.
- What is the effect of the “hands-on” approach?
- What is the effect of the propagation approach?
- One will be gifted to remain among people. The other will likely hold an aversion to gatherings. One is made to display a living example. The other is made to provide a written account.
- Neither is exempt from living out the Gospel in their life. Both are responsible to do what the word says.
- The effectiveness of the first is more easily, and likely to be, seen in a life time. The effectiveness of the latter may not be apparent in the life time of the propagator. Yet both will glorify the Lord on the day of Judgment. “My word will not return to me void. . . “
i. There is the written word. And there is the living word. Neither can be accomplished with effectiveness without the Lord Jesus’ strength and direction.
- You can speak and not know the Lord. What good is that?
- You can act and not know the Lord. What good is that?
- Lord, I thank You for the cool of the evening. But more than the pleasantness of the night, I thank You for the prosperity of the day. Pleasing is the flavor of a day well spent. The farmer washes up after the seed is planted. The dinner is laid out when the day has been spent toward future dinners. You have blessed both the morning and the evening with Your wisdom, Holiness, Power, and Truth.
The Lord is the source of all life that is worth living. Without Him no man accomplishes more than a sneeze into the wind. By His Grace all eternity moves forward. And we who hope in Your Promise, look forward with prying eyes to see what lay in store. You are pleased, O’ Lord, to keep your gifts hidden from those who serve now in this place of testing. We are kept at bay while both You and we prove Your Love. It is a certain comfort to know that your perfect promise is held in perfect hands. You did not require us to walk this world in full dress. They who hate You would surely rip at our glory. You hold the glory You promise in a place remote and Glorious. Wisdom is Yours!
You are God! May Your Holy will be done forever. In Jesus’ Holy Name we pray. Amen.