Thursday, 26 September 2013

Everlasting pre-occupation with God

One year ago yesterday, Margaret had her mastectomy and lymph node clearance in Antrim hospital. Today, one year on, she had her surgical review which involved examination by medical staff, another mammogram and an ultra-sound scan. She was told that it will be three weeks before the results would be sent out to her GP. But as it was, a doctor was there and when he read the negatives, he assured her that he could see nothing wrong.

You can hardly imagine the relief that this brought, particularly to Margaret, but also to me, and to our sons. This was no surprise for a number of reasons; first, there were no indicators to suggest that there was anything wrong; second, Margaret’s general state of health was good; but most importantly, thirdly, God’s people were praying for God’s blessings upon her as she had her surgical review, and He answered your prayers
Does prayer work (a clumsy question, I know, but a good one nonetheless)? Here again is the proof. When you pray, God answers. Let that encourage you to the highest heavens.

Dr A. W. Tozer wrote, “We can afford to suffer now; we’ll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves.” How true this is. Whether the suffering is physical or emotional or mental or spiritual, God has laid up for us in heaven what has never entered the mind of man to conceive. Tozer: “We are called to an everlasting pre-occupation with God.” And isn’t it great that He honours us with the privilege of pre-occupation with Him here and now! 

What a joy it is to be taken up with Him in His goodness and grace and love and mercy. Only the Holy Spirit can enable a fallen and rebellious man to worship God in Spirit/spirit and in truth. This is a miracle of grace. To be lifted up into contemplation of His glorious Person is the next thing to heaven on earth. This is what He does to those who seek Him. Oh, seek Him, my dear friends, and go on seeking Him until you are, in Charles Wesley’s wonderful words, “Lost in love, wonder and in praise.” Let the Lamb have all the glory.

God really does astonish His children by the things He does. The Christian barrister, William Cowper, sings,

Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings,
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in His wings.

How true it is that the god of modern day evangelicalism rarely astonishes anybody. He never rouses, never comes down, just sits back and allows everything to go on as before. He is so well-behaved that you’d like such a god in your church every Sunday; He never causes a stir, is very denominational and always very much one of us, such a tame god. I’m not interested in a god like that and I find it hard to have much respect for such a being.

But our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is so different. You just never know what He will do in any situation; and that’s what brings so much excitement into the Christian life. Today, He surprised us by His grace and lifted our hearts up to Him in grateful praise and thanksgiving. We could see His hand so clearly at work. He raised His Son, the Saviour of the world, from the tomb, so there’s nothing He cannot do, all praise to His Name. Oh, to get to know God better! To be taken up with Him 24/7! To see His glory and dominion and power in everything! Now, that’s a God worth having and worshipping; but the other god, no, thank you.

I think that twenty-first century evangelicals have succeeded in taming their god so much that we hardly ever notice Him when we are at church. There’s nothing striking about Him. We have lost any sense of His majesty and as a result we no longer stand in awe of Him. And we’re the losers.

But, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is so different. He’s alive and reigning and acting and moving all over this world. Seek to know Him move in your life, and you’ll know the difference.

Praise God for answering your prayers for Margaret. Our God is so good that He deserves our all, now and always.

Praise Him for stooping down and hearing your prayers;

Praise Him for His love and mercy that He shows to us daily;

Bless His Name for not forgetting His poor children;

Worship Him for stepping in to the situation today and giving Margaret the results today rather than in three weeks time;

Just spend time worshipping Him for Who He is – our great Saviour and Lord. Make this a time of worship for you and your family. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, James 4:8. Do you really want to meet God? Then draw near to Him. But beware; you never know what He’ll say or do to you!