I know it’s been a while since I published the last blog article (five months, oh well). Even just yesterday I was wondering whether I would be done with writing publicly as I have felt NO inclination to jot down my experiences with God for a rather long time. No time and no interest in blogging at all! Furthermore, I have experienced a very dry spiritual “blah time”. You know these times when everything seems to be so “normal”, so arduous and boring that you might wonder whether you had known God at all. 🙄
Not that I lost his anointing that teaches us about everything at any time. But what has been lost are the “good feelings” and spiritiual highs which, alas, usually push my self and make me proud. It seems to me more and more that it is a life of mere (“dark”) faith God wants to give us, brothers and sisters. The “big” experiences with God seem to simply serve as proof for ourselves that it was really God who chose us to live with Him in a loving though often difficult relationship, too. God did not primarily choose us to do things FOR him. Instead, we were chosen to live WITH Him in our everyday life and to eventually let Him live THROUGH us, more and more. Whether we are aware of the latter is not important. But He lives through us if we let Him. Others will notice it, however, we won’t perceive it as He protects us from being deceited by our old nature’s pride.
Lately I listened to several old(er) people’s different life stories. They often suffer from not being able to change their life anymore as they are somehow captured in their (bad) circumstances. Some struggle primarily with the frailty of the body, others long for the restauration of enthusiastic emotional experiences, that is, they once again want to feel and experience a great love. But it seems to me, our old nature with its human limitations gets in the way wherever it can. We might long for real life, but what we feel is only “death” at times. Dear reader, have you had similar experiences, too? 🙄
I did not want to write an article that makes you sad, so I thought I could share one part of my own life with you here. It is not so much about me, but where would I be without my wonderful parents? 🙂 My mom and my dad would come to know each other in school at a time when life was anything but great in Germany. It was in the 1940s as both of their dads had already been taken prisoners of World War II. My mom’s dad was at first in France and then in the States while my dad’s dad had been in Russia. Without their dads there, their moms had to struggle a lot to feed their children. Often times they all were very hungry and had nothing to eat. While my grandmoms would get very skinny as they fed their children first, the kids sometimes went hungry to school, too.
Just today as I had asked my parents’ permission to publish their story, I mentioned that my mom had given her sandwich eaten during recess to my dad. I had always thought that that had been an act of heroism, yet this afternoon my mom began to laugh out loud and said, “No no, that was only banana bread which I detested. I had only asked whether anyone would like to eat it in our class.”
My dad was the only one who wanted to have it, as it would seem. 🙂
To cut a long story shorter, I can tell you that some time went by until my parents met again after school. It was only on a Mardi Gras event as my mom in the guise of a ghost (fully veiled under a white bed sheet with a few holes in the facial area) went toward my dad and talked with him. He did not know who she was but he recognized her voice. “Who are you? I have known your voice…,” he asked but my mom answered, “I won’t tell you.” That was the official beginning of their love relationship …. ❤ ❤
Just next year, Lord willing, they will be married to one another for 60 years. They both are in their eighties and they believe that it was God who helped them through all the difficult times in their lives. They both have had to struggle with more and more diseases over time, but somehow they manage to live their life together, still. My dad has had type 1 diabetes for almost 40 years now, facing its severe consequences after such a long time, and my mom has suffered from dementia for some time in addition to her many physical problems, too. She does not like being so forgetful and needs my dad’s or others’ help often, however, it seems to me that God uses my dad to care for her as she cared for him these many decades before. Often times it is anything but easy and heartbreaking to watch how they struggle, but GOD…..! When I see how they both still care about one another and that one does not want to be without the other, ever, I know that the apostle Paul was right when he said about marriage between a man and a woman, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:32 ESV) Just to offer you the whole scriptural context of this verse here, I paste the passage where the apostle Paul dealt with earthly marriage (Eph 5:22-33 ESV – emphasis in italics mine).
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
As much as our bodies and our minds with its ever-increasing deficiencies might point to the end of this earthly life and its struggles, our love for our loved ones will remain forever as God promised (1 Cor 13:1-13 ESV – emphasis in red and in caps was mine)
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 LOVE NEVER ENDS. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
All images © Susanne Schuberth