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Archive for November 15th, 2020

The thing about pain.

Posted by appolus on November 15, 2020

Sanctification. We could spend years speaking on the subject. The shaping of a man or a woman. Imagine a glacier cutting its way through solid granite. In its wake, mountains and valleys and paths for mighty rivers to flow.It moves at its own pace. There is no force in all the world that could stop its inexorable forward progress. It will meet the sea when it meets the sea. And when it is spent, there is a whole world created in its unstoppable often violent wake.

The thing about pain. When you hide a darkness in the deepest recesses of your heart it defies the depths and it shapes every part of who you are. You think that you have compartmentalized it, yet even the deepest chambers of our heart has fissures. No matter how tight the cell door, no matter that it lies at the center of your soul, the darkness bleeds out. It bleeds into every part of who you are.

Then suddenly the light. An impenetrable light that penetrates every part of who we are. All at once? The light of God marches towards the center of your soul. It takes captive every darkness as it makes its inexorable way to the very core of who you are. The light will not co-exist with the darkness. Sanctification will have its way. To the saint of God it is unstoppable as a jealous God takes every part of who you are and shapes you by immense forces beyond your capability of understanding.

I am 17. My wife has almost bled to death in the process of giving birth to our first born son. The cord was wrapped around his neck and she was hemorrhaging. An emergency cesarean section was carried out and our son was born. He was immediately moved to the intensive care unit and there he lay, attached to a machine that breathed for him and who knows what else. And there I sat beside him alone. A heart already darkened by a dark childhood. I will not let this child touch me.

The doctors recommended that he be taken of the life support machine. Two months premature and several minutes without oxygen, they said. The plugs were pulled. Two days he stayed alive. The nurse says “would you like to hold him?” I heard myself saying no. He was dying and I was dead and the gross darkness poured into a ship that had already overturned in violent seas. Stephen died. On the day of his burial they placed a small white coffin on my knee as I sat in the back of the hearse. I felt nothing until the hearse took a corner too fast and I felt Stephen’s body move within the coffin and a gaping hole was violently torn into the very depths of who I was. I would spend many many years plugging that hole.

Ten years later I got dramatically saved. All the years and overlays of the results of my sin were slowly but surely being removed. With every inch, the glacier was slowly reshaping me. Breaking down everything that stood it its path. The force of this change was unstoppable. And very suddenly after many years, the inner chamber was breached. I did not see it coming, I was not even aware of its existence. Yet one moment in a shower, singing praises to God was suddenly and violently replaced with cries from the very depths of my heart. This man, always in control, was not in control. I fought to control the sobs and the racking of my body.

I put my hands over my mouth but could not contain the pitiful noises that were coming from this ancient chamber, locked away for so very long. My poor wife heard me and rushed into the bathroom in time to see me clinging onto the tiled walls. I can still see that look on her face. Total confusion. More than that, she was terrified at what she was looking at. I could not articulate what was going on. Darkness and shame and guilt and pain and sorrow were pouring out of me and there was nothing to be done until it had emptied itself. And just as suddenly as it had begun, it was gone, leaving me physically and mentally exhausted. Yet, I felt so much lighter. A profound change had occurred. It was 15 years in the making but it was now God who was doing the making and He leaves no stone unturned.

The thing about pain, it leaves an indelible mark upon our soul. The thing about change, it uncovers every indelible mark. Sanctification, the process of being set apart and becoming more and more like our Lord means there is no hiding place. There is no chamber that does not belong to Him. Buy an old house and everything left in the attic and the basement belongs to you. We have been bought with a price, everything belongs to the Lord. He is Lord of all, every part of who we are. He is always in the process of changing and renewing and remaking. What could resist a glacier? Who can resist the Lord? The Potter and the wheel and the clay.

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