“And when this life is through; even then, your hand will lead me, your right hand will hold me.” “No more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again.” “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” “Wonderful, merciful Savior; Precious Redeemer and Friend … you give the healing and grace, our hearts always hunger for. You rescue the souls of men.” We hunger for it.
“Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives to plead for me. My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart, I know that while in heaven He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart.” “Mercy there was great and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied for me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at the cross.” “It was there by grace, I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” Our burdened soul finds liberty.
“Who have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon the earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” “The Lord upholds me with His hand; underneath are the everlasting arms of God.” “He is able to keep me from falling.”
There is a motion that we fear, one of falling, one of giving in, one of dying. We can’t quit. But, are we protecting our flesh, or our pride? Are we legalistically determined? It is paradoxical. David failed a lot, and had sure mercies. Peter failed and found unconditional love. Paul failed and found grace. The prodigal failed and found home, the disciples failed but found the heart of Christ.
Contrarily, King Saul failed and found trouble, and so Pharaoh, and so Nabal and many others. What was the difference? Could we say that some were failing as they failed, but others succeeding as they failed? Yes. Some, like Christ, lost His life in the greatest success story in the history of the earth.
Can we conjecture that when we lose our life we find it? Jesus said that very thing, you know, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:24-25 “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” This is Matthew10:39
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 10:18. Wow! Jesus was a willful life-relinquisher. He did it of the Father’s will. He did it voluntarily. So, the question; how does this apply to us, and our failure etc.?
I like to think of it as the narrow way. It leads to eternal life. Many times we must relinquish our broad, chronological, life for the “eternal,” but we are afraid. Afraid of what? Paul said we would be afraid of the “stigma” placed on us. Afraid of being regarded as a “fool.” In the middle of it, though, Paul took on this identity, “fool for Christ sake.” We don’t want to look foolish, or irresponsible, or neglectful, or weak. We fear this “offense of the cross.” What will people say? We fear the “disgrace,” the seeming failure.
Friends, good news, we can manage this. We find life, we find Christ. We bathe ourselves in the comfort, the verses, the words of precious hymns, words of grace. “Mercy there is great, and grace is free;” pardon multiplied, liberty, at the cross. Friends, death has died, at the cross; so has sin, so has the world, so the law. Romans 7:4. There, cross chosen, we are free from all men, to serve them.
Finally, we find this ability there; serve, serve, serve. We wilt not at serving, we fear not the disgrace of “servant,” we disdain not the reputation-loss. We care not of the persecution, the vulgar projection. We do it willfully, we are dead, our life is hid with Christ in God. And now they be glad: He has brought us into our desired haven. Psalm 107. love ya