Standing Still in The Word

I experienced one of those “kaleidescope-moments” while I was in the word this week.  Kaleidescope.   The definition I’m using here – a continually changing pattern of shapes, scenes and colors.  Have you ever felt that way before?  Like the whole world around you is just flashing from one thing to the next while you are caught up in a single thought or revelation, not caring about the things around you that are vying for your attention?

The world is that way.  It fights for our attention.  It is aggressive sometimes.  It’s hungry to occupy our thoughts and monopolize our focus. Sometimes I feel like the world and The Word are such polar opposite things.  The world is demanding.  The Word is patient.  The world is ephemeral.  The Word is ethereal.  The world is unreliable.  The Word is trustworthy…true…truth.

To best explain how The Word stopped the world for me in that moment, join me in the scripture – John chapter 11.  This is the chapter in which Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead.  We were discussing this in Sunday School, noting how this is often considered the lead event that started the whole domino effect of events leading up to the crucification of Christ.  Imagine, being there when Jesus called for him to rise, “Lazarus, come out!”  Imagine!  What were the people who were gathered there saying?  What were Lazarus’s first words?  Were people scared?  Did anyone faint?  How many people accepted faith in Christ at the first hand witness of that miracle?  So, so many questions.  Now you’re with me.  We’re at an awesome place where Jesus has done something he had not done before.  Sure, he has brought people back to life again, but not after four days.  FOUR DAYS!  Don’t you believe Jesus can do anything?  I do, too.  Which is why I’m so excited to be studying this chapter.  It’s not just a story – it’s real.  This really happened.

And here it is.  Begin reading in verse 45.  Many Jews went out to see Mary, thinking she was going to the tomb to mourn.  They saw what Jesus did.  Many came to faith.  Some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus did.  Well, it wasn’t long before the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting.  They were not happy that many were accepting faith in Jesus….so….they said:

John 11:48

“If we let him go on like this, everyone will have belief in him…..”

SCREECHING

HALT

The world stands still.  All is silent, as the past events catch up with  current life and our immediate world.  Imagine.  Imagine! Imagine a world in which everyone had belief in Jesus Christ.  The days of the Pharisees catches up with the current events of today’s persecuted church.  Jesus was persecuted back then, and today, persecution continues.  The Pharisees and chief priests were afraid of people having faith in Jesus.  “If we let him go on like this, everyone will have belief in him…”  That just blows my mind, because this very same thing is happening today.  I’m thinking of Pastor Youcef, and the Iranian government that has imprisoned him because of his belief in Jesus Christ and has been threatening to end his life since 2009 if he fails to recant his faith.  Pastor Youcef is not denying Christ.  Through isolation.  Through torture.  Through temptations.  Through things I could never even imagine, Pastor Youcef remains faithful and steadfast for our Savior.  The Pharisees were afraid.  They had fear.  They were selfish and didn’t want to loose power or prestige.  What are the people who are threatening Pastor Youcef afraid of?  Could it be the same things?

Jesus tells us in John 15: 18-21:

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you… If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you… because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

Absolute stillness.  The Word is truth, and the truth has connected with me in a  very real way.

Praise God for the blessing of your son, Jesus, and for the gift of scripture to help teach us, direct us, and remind us of the path that was planned for us before we ever were.  Thank you, Father, for the blessing also of living in a place that allows for freedom in worshiping you, and studying your Word.  There are so many, Lord – too many – who do not have the same freedoms, yet, they risk everything, including their lives, for a glimpse into your Word and in sharing your light with others.  Father, I lift up my persecuted brothers and sisters and pray for their protection, for your peace to continue to be evident to them, and for more than anything, Father, your will to be done through their lives, as it is to be done through ours…through mine.  All this I offer and ask in your son’s precious, sweet name.  Amen.

I’d really like to hear about a time when The Word stopped you in your tracks and gave you a “kaleidoscope-moment”.

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