Posted on Facebook: December 31, 2016
More processing, observations and questions on difficult circumstances… I have heard about a lot of loss over the past couple of years. In that period our family has lost my father, my Aunt Betty, my Uncle Charlie, and most recently, our first grandson, Josiah. My family members are processing these losses in different ways. I’m sure there are different things that will be accomplished in each of us. Our emotions have certainly been all over the place, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. I debate whether or not I should share my thoughts in this type of forum, but these thoughts have been helpful to me, perhaps some of this might be an encouragement to someone else. So, at the risk of sounding more together than I am, (or wacky- depending on your perspective)… I pass this along…
When I experience a life tragedy… is it likely that Jesus is caught off guard? (Thinking about the sovereignty of God here). In the case of a family loss, does Jesus also have a sense of loss? In Isaiah 53 Jesus was described as a man of sorrows and familiar with pain… So, I am certain he understands the frailty of our human condition, but He also sees my circumstances from an absolute eternal reference point. It would seem that that is different and likely a more complete perspective than I would tend to have on my own.
Is it possible for me to cultivate more of an eternal perspective and incorporate the “mind of Christ” in my day to day walk, to the extent that I can shift my point of view of my circumstances to be more like God’s? Can my focus give priority to what is true in the spiritual realm over what is true in the world around me?
John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Is it possible for me to position myself where I am less focused on the “trouble” in this world – and I’m more focused on the “I have overcome the world” part of this verse?
Human souls do not die… they relocate when their time on earth is done. Those of us that are still walking around in our earth suits grieve their absence, since they will no longer be a part of our remaining human experience; however, God doesn’t experience their absence as we do since he is omnipresent… God is everywhere… He is where we are, and He is where our departed loved one is (assuming the loved one was a believer). He is with both of us at the same time. It would seem that God is now the common denominator in my relationship with my relocated loved one… Now, that is a thought to ponder…
Is there a way for me to cultivate more of an eternal perspective and diminish the impact of my loved ones earthly absence? Can more intimacy with God reduce the impact of my loved ones absence? Can the presence of God fill my emptiness?
Can I cultivate the “mind of Christ” in me to the extent that I begin to perceive my loved ones absence from God’s eternal reference point? Can cultivating the “mind of Christ” in me and practicing the presence of God cause me to experience a sense of closeness with my departed loved one even now?
Please understand… I’m not suggesting that it’s inappropriate to grieve and mourn. We certainly are walking there… However, It would seem that beginning to see a family loss in light of eternity is a significant step in the healing process and allows us to move toward wholeness.
Also, I am not suggesting that we approach our intimacy with God with ulterior motive’s… But it seems likely that intimacy with God comes with the byproduct of an eternal perspective and an increased sense of closeness with our loved ones that are in God’s presence.
I’ve been asking God to help me understand what activities will encourage more intimacy with Him and help cultivate an eternal perspective… What will awaken “the mind of Christ” in me? How can I shift my perspective to be more closely aligned with His? Now, I’m certain that anything that I “do” needs to be done in the context of “abiding in Him”, and not striving. It needs to look more like breathing and less like working. It would need to be done in a climate of grace and not one of law. These things are for the purpose of posturing myself correctly. As things have come to my mind I have written them down. Here is my list so far:
Renewing my mind with the Word of God. Romans 12:2.
Practicing the presence of God.
Guarding my words…(which are a reflection of my heart and my measure of faith).
Pursue child likeness… Matthew 18:3.
Recognizing my “old nature” as being dead and embracing my new nature… 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit and yielding to the Spirit’s influence…
Maintain a posture of worship.
Sit before God and listen.
Ask God, what His perspective is on a circumstance. Ask…How does this look from God’s vantage point? What are Gods thoughts about this? What are God’s purposes?
What is God up to? How can I cooperate with him?
Conduct an ongoing conversation with God-pray without ceasing.
Take every thought captive…
Turn worry into prayer.
Confession of sin – Keeping short accounts with God.
Ok, now breathe…
I heard an analogy this past year that I really like… “Abiding in Him” is like sailing in a sailboat. Working on “the law” and applying it to my life is like rowing in a rowboat. I want to purpose to “abide in Him” as I further cultivate an eternal perspective and awaken the “mind of Christ” in me.
As we are cultivating an eternal perspective, particularly in response to a family loss, there seems to be another dimension to this that is also important… it occurs to me that God wired us to need human relationship… When God said “it’s not good for man to be alone,” Adam was not alone… God was there. So, it would seem that God designed Adam and the rest of us to also need human relationships. This is likely why it is so difficult when important human relationships come to an end. During the loss of loved ones our fundamental need for relationship takes a direct hit. Our potential of loss then emphasizes the importance of maintaining positive relationships with others in our inner circle and to have a strong community of friends, to meet the need for relationship that God has wired into each of us.
May God grant grace to us as we cultivate an eternal perspective on this life, awaken the mind of Christ in us, and press into meaningful human relationships… May it be so…