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Week 4 December 2022, Devotion Part 2

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God… But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…. James 1:5-6

Ask, seek, knock… The visited heart longs to satisfy the Savior’s heart by seeking to make Him Lord over every season and journey of life. He must be the Space Hero who conquers all of our inner space to make it fit for the kingly habitation that is both intimate retreat and inventive pilgrimage. The true gravitational pull must be from the Son and to the Son. He maps the lovingly surrendered heart and assigns from there “the highways to Zion” (Psalm 84:5). Both Outer Mongolia and the inner city are passing destinations.

When God is truly at home in us, we can tell Him our “dirty little secret.” It is the school of hard knocks. Perhaps we have knocked on the felt flap of a yurt or on a graffiti-covered door and gained access for the Gospel, but the hearts of our closest loved ones remain tightly shut. A memory may begin to stir of Christ’s gut-wrenching sigh in John 12:27, “Now is my soul troubled.” J.B. Phillips translated it into the speech of our raw emotions, “I am horribly depressed.” Who could ask for a better friend than Jesus! (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: Driving around my neighborhood after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, was an eye-opener. House after house had lost its ornamental facade of brick or stone, exposing cracked, discolored walls. We all have them, of course, the secrets we keep and the facades we maintain for fear of censure, ridicule, or rejection. Watch the smiling people mingling on the church patio. If a bloodhound bred with the DNA of a Pharisee were turned loose, it might sniff out shoplifting, substance abuse, domestic violence, tax evasion, and adultery. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit who indwells believers as Helper, Comforter, and Advocate, is present where the church gathers, and discerns with whom we are to lovingly weep or rejoice to foster healing and restoration.

Decades ago, I invited a young Christian soldier to share Thanksgiving with us. Soon after his arrival he let me know that God had recruited him to monitor our kids and guests. I sat Mike down and flat-out forbade him to chide the latter for enjoying their cocktail and having fun. When the feast was over, Mike didn’t leave for his base, but asked to stay the night for a morning assignment. Sure enough, I found my mortified kids huddled on the couch, with Mike drilling dos and don’ts into them to guarantee straight As and a foolproof future. Amazingly, the Holy Spirit closed my mouth and opened my ears to hear Mike’s heart. It was full of past hurts and lonely struggles. The Christian façade had been drilled into him by a legalistic church. I prayed with Mike before he left and promised to write him. I stopped for good when he mistook my grace for weakness and sought to act the spiritual bloodhound again. How much better to prayerfully invoke the redemptive power of Christ’s shed blood, as we love and serve His lost or straying sheep into the open arms of our Shepherd King. (James 1)


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