If Kathy’s legacy is to go far beyond 2012 we must place it outside of time. The story of Joseph in Genesis still speaks to us today. Why? Because we can relate to it. In the permissive will of God, Kathy endured suffering, but she did not lose her hope and her trust in God. This is a high call, this is meat, this is a foundation that a life can be built upon. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Not your circumstances, not even God delivering you and answering your prayer with a physical miracle. Just Christ in you, your hope begins and ends there.
Something is being demonstrated to angels in the life of a believer who loves God in spite of His seeming “tarrying for 2 or 3 days” after He was told that you are dying. Lazarus had no idea that Jesus was going to resurrect him. What were his thoughts on his death bed? Are Martha and Mary giving voice to Lazarus’ thoughts? Lord, if You had been here? Why weren’t You here, Lord, Why?
Only in the light of eternity does suffering make sense. Only in the light of a revelation of a sovereign, God who can redeem all things, who remains connected to us in an unbreakable way, with an unbreakable love no matter the tribulation, or even death can suffering be endured.
1 Peter offers us so much revelation regarding suffering. It is focused on this issue and it offers no answers, but it points to Jesus, it lifts up Jesus, it bids us to look to the cross and bow and learn of Him who is meek and humble of heart.
A FEW BURNING BUSHES WORTH
STOPPING TO LOOK AT
The principle of the burning bush is, Moses had to stop and look because this was an event outside of all natural categories. If a bush is burning, the fire consumes it, period, end of story. Moses stopping to look, beyond curiosity demonstrates a willingness to have his categories knocked down, a willingness to reconsider the call on his life. He knew the call, to be the deliverer, but he went about it all wrong, messed it up so totally that exile and a life of feeling forgotten by God is all that he had. He did not even bother to circumcise his boys because he didn’t think God cared about him or his new family anymore. Maybe his wife said, “No we don’t do that here.” and he had no “fight” left in him, so he gave in to her and to the culture around him. The principle is if you stop to look and are willing to have your boxes with all of your ideas about God and His ways blown apart then you can walk away from the burning bush forever changed.
The first “burning bush” is the way to ultimate humility. Jesus is the way and in His life we see that Satan’s kingdom is defeated by the willingness to submit to the God’s plan to the very end. Watching the grace with which Jesus died, caused a gentile centurion to speak truth probably for the first time in his life. It caused a man in the agony of being crucified to look upon the man on the cross next to him and see God. People watch very closely how professing believers handle the storms of life and as death approaches these become ultimate storms that speak ultimate messages. “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Trust that has given up all attempts to make something happen on their own, trust that comes to a place of leaning its entire weight on to the heart of the God who proclaims His love for us.
What brings down Satan’s kingdom? Is it not this, “when they came to the end of their strength.” When they dropped the mask of pretense that made it seem they had it all together. When they tossed aside all hope for good works or righteousness apart from Christ. When they dropped any hope of help from any other source. When they had the veil removed and their eyes opened to the only true God, the One who suffers and dies because of self-sacrificing love too great to even attempt to put into words. The sun is darkened, the earth quakes, hardened killers confess there is something “greater” taking place here. This is the burning bush of ultimate humility that ceases to strive and enters a place of rest and trust, “no matter what.”
THE ETERNAL MOMENT
Stephen the first martyr in the book of Acts is a burning bush worth looking into. Stephen with his servant heart, Stephen with his knowledge and his ability to bring the eternal plan of God down to everyday speech. Stephen used by God to bring so much healing. Stephen is dead, way too young and way too soon. In the moment it makes no sense. Where is the last minute rescue? Where is the hero who comes and makes everything right? What we cannot see in this moment of death, is the heart of a man standing nearby and approving of this stoning. The heart of a man who was not at the cross of Christ to see Him say, “Father, forgive them”. He is not one of the original apostles. He hates this new sect that has sprung up in his religion with a righteous hatred born out of years of training, years of getting to know about God. This man is about to be confronted with a man who has a vision of God, whose face shines, who repeats the words of His Savior while being murdered, “Father, forgive them”. The servant, Stephen, demonstrated the same supernatural love as his Master, Jesus, when confronted with murderous hatred. This demonstration became a goad that Paul would be kicking against in his inner man until the day when mercy collapsed his worldview with a blinding light and a voice with a simple question.
When cancer came to Kathy throwing it murderous stones, grace came to Kathy too. She was held by her Savior and many who saw her trust have been given grace to face their stones, to trust Him in the dark, and to sing at midnight. Like Stephen as an isolated event, a moment in time, it makes no sense, but this is a story being written by an eternal God who is ever working to burst into a fallen planet with redemption and love.
“You could have no power at all against Me
unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11).
A Final Burning Bush, The Cup That the Father has for Me
Jesus is standing before the earthly authority that will decide His case. The Jews who at this time are under Roman rule, have to go to the Romans for permission to see the death penalty inflicted. Jesus stands before this man at peace because He knows that the Roman ruler is not the end of the chain of command.
Is this the most painful burning bush to stop and consider?
Or is it the most comforting?
In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:9
This ruler has no power, and cancer has no power unless it had been given from above. This may not be your time to look into this burning bush, but for those who dare I hope you will find great comfort in knowing that a truly loving Father has seen this event and has determined a way to cause it to work together for the good. The God who is outside of time and sees the end from the beginning has seen fit to allow this to happen. If that is true, can you still fall into His arms and trust Him? Doesn’t trust imply risk? Doesn’t faith imply reason to doubt? The Roman ruler loses his power when this true statement is proclaimed, and if we look at this burning bush long enough to see the heart of the Father, cancer loses its power also.
We are not the All Knowing One, only God is. God is love, He is Sovereign and He is good. If all of these truths are not preserved as we look into this burning bush, we can rest assured we finite beings are missing something. Ultimately we trust Him, and find our rest in Him.