Thursday, July 21, 2016

God’s Glory in Our Non-Christian Past

THIRTEEN years as a born-again Christian, born-again — born finally from above having been born into some resident belief, unbequeathed of action, some thirteen years previous.  Thirteen years ago, having had my Saul-on-Damascus-Road conversion, the Father pulled the plug on that old life, blinding me from return, convicting me to walking blindly ahead by faith — which is the only true vision.  Thirteen years, like Saul, I thought I knew God.  I didn’t.
Thirteen years of living a wrong life above God, have been followed by thirteen years of living a right life under God.  I sense there is a Jubilee coming; timely, as my fiftieth year approaches.
Jubilee is a sabbatical vision of liberty and justice for all.
A rule of seven sevens, Jubilee, in this context, is one of release.
As I step back from 49 to 36 to 23 I cannot help but seek to step back even further.  As I seek to reconcile with those bits of my past where I betrayed God’s grace in my lifestyle daily for those thirteen years — never really understanding how to live the Christian life, not desiring to learn, not ‘getting it’ — I cannot help but step back into the further reaches of my life in the eighties.
As I drove my delivery van today, I listened to secular radio.  Doing a secular job avails such exploration.  It was playing nineties music.  Billy Idol’s Flesh for Fantasy, OMD, and INX — bands and songs you might only recognise if you were a twenty-something two decades ago.  When Mike and the Mechanics’ The Living Years came on, I was approaching Fremantle, and instantly I felt the tears flow.  Not really of sadness unless there is a catharsis that occurs.  It was the initial part in a Jubilee of release.  Actually enjoying this work for the first time, because I can do it, and because it’s my own private cave, my tears spoke of the truth of what I’m experiencing; God having, over that thirteen-year period, softened me and strengthened me.  Being soft and strong means I can enjoy being teary.  Being taken deeper and deeper into valleys of heartache has only served to make me softer and stronger, for the glory of God.
This Jubilee of release means I no longer need to covet tomorrow,
for I have today, and I’m released into it.
When I was a non-Christian, and especially when I was Christian but living like a non-Christian, I did some shameful things.  And yet all I feel for all those things I did is a great sense of God’s grace, to enjoy the memory of them as part of the making of me today; they’re part of my history that God neither wants me to deny nor repress.  I’m released to enjoy what those things taught me.
Our non-Christian story speaks powerfully for the work God’s done in our Christian story.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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