Posted tagged ‘suffering’

Pressed Close, Pressed Down

August 18, 2009
Mercury column to measure pressure, scale in m...

Image via Wikipedia

I am contending for the life of another, and the pressure is almost unendurable.  Hudson Taylor said, “It doesn’t matter, really, how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord–then the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast.”  The pressure lies in a good place, I am close to His heart now, and that is what enables me to endure.   I am being pressed into the cross for another; pressed into its life, and then laid close to that one, to come between them and the enemy’s assignment of death.  It is body to body, I am  like Elijah laying on the lifeless  boy he helped to birth, waiting on God to bring  breath back into him. Elijah was just flesh like me, and I can endure it  if he  did.   I  wait, get up, pace around and pray, go back and lay on the body again.  Oh how great the pressure is, I feel the sentence of death so deeply sometimes, and how gladly I would  suffer its penalty fully for my dear one!

This must be that mystery, the  fellowship of the Cross, the fellowship of His afflictions.  This intimacy with Jesus is most sweet.   I would not trade it for peace and plenty.   (Okay, sometimes, when the pain is awful, and I quake in fear and failing.  I am but flesh, and this lump of dust tends to seek its own).

But I would not trade this suffering when it produces this kind of life in me:  when I finished my prayers the other night, I said to the Lord something,  in a way I have never said before, “I love you so much!”  I didn’t say it worshipfully, but in the affectionate and comfortable way I murmur in my little girls ears when I tuck them into bed.   I, worm that I am,  was shockingly familiar with the Most High God!  Yet there was deep reality behind those words so carelessly spoken.

Two children with hops basket

And this is the most amazing thing: I felt as though the Spirit drew in His breath with a gasp of delight.   I sensed His deep pleasure, and I was cosy in that glow as I drifted off to sleep, so safe in His love.  I can go on such soul’s nourishment for many more days.  I smile even now as I think of it.  It was a good measure of  His love, given back in return,  pressed down, shaken together spilling out all  over, and out it  will go into the laps of the ones to whom He has drawn me close.

Do, in Remembrance: Phillip Busbee, June 27, 2009

July 3, 2009
Communion

Image by pastorbuhro via Flickr

“…they visited Phillip… and said, “We would see Jesus” ( John 12:20)

I think the best thing you can say about any Christ-follower is that being done with visiting him, you just want to see Jesus.  That is the way of the very best teachers of the Word: they make you hungry for more of Him, you want to go apart yourself, and get out your Bible again. You want to see Jesus. That was how Pastor Phil made you feel. There was no boasting with him, his loveliness was all of the Lord.  You could clearly see how he had been with Jesus.  He died peacefully last Saturday.

But  he died  in pieces.  The infection  fiercely took hold, and was relentless. It took his legs first, and when I heard that, I said to the Lord, “Just leave the rest of him. Please spare his life and leave his fine mind and great heart.  Go ahead and take his legs if you must, leave an even more broken vessel, oh, but leave the rest of him here, oh have mercy on your people oh God.”

The Lord paid no heed to my pleas, to my abandonment issues surfacing  yet again; He ignored my cries for stability and security, saying tenderly to me “hold lightly to the things you can see, and tightly to the things you can’t'”, as He took Phil to be with Himself.  To be with Him in glory, laughing and leaping and praising God face to face, eating the  leaves of the trees there that  are so much better than insulin.

The tender mercies of the Lord are different than mine. I felt the Lord speak to me the other day that He did leave Phil’s heart and mind.  They are impressed upon my own, preserved in the notes I keep of every sermon he preached,  that I do look at again and again, tucked in the pages of my Bible.  Especially the last sermon he preached four days before they amputated his legs.  “Who Do They Say He Is?”,  on John 19.  Like a man  who knew his time was short, he opened with the most important issue of all, the one forever forced on the sin-sick soul in Communion.  The bread and the wine were presented, and he reminded us that it is not a table spread before us, but a trial we come to.  The question the terrified Pilate asked– “Who are you?”–   must be answered by us over and over  again. Phil said, “We come to the cross, we smell again, see again, feel the pain again and say,  Jesus, don’t let me forget! Who You ARE!  You made your way to the Father’s will, you ask us to do the same.”

So will we do these things to remember Him.

I feel the anguish now in those words I quickly scrawled that I did not feel then, but I knew even then a drama was taking place.  I have never before taken notes on a communion  preamble.  I cannot think, as I read those words now, that Phillip Busbee was not unaware of what the Father was asking of Him.   He had left the hospital to deliver his message. He was in a wheelchair again.  He was weakening again. He captured so movingly the turmoil and chaos of the trial  of the Son of Man because I think he knew the verdict of the Father on his own life, and Phil  was used to yielding to Him. He was a man who so often was with Jesus, and had learned through the trials of his life to say “yes” to Him. That is why the Son of Man’s Word shone so clearly through him.

So I will follow Phil, the way he  followed Christ.   The way he led us to Jesus. The way he said, and like his Master, it cost him everything he had to say it, “Not my will, Father,  but Your will  be done.”

And here is a beautiful song. Worship your King, as Phil does now in glory, and serve Him wholly, as Phil did on earth.