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Before sitting down in front of my computer, I had no clue as to whether I would ever write and publish again, neither had I any idea about what to write at all. Hesitatingly, I had checked out my blog “Entering the Promised Land”. Jesus recently told me to delete those three drafts of blog posts I had started writing during the last six months. One might ask what has happened during this rather long period since February this year after I had published Speak My Words. Indeed, it was exactly THIS! Our Lord taught me to rather speak than to write. This particular lesson had begun with a close observation of my conversational and thought habits.

The more I got aware of my unguarded moments, the more I also saw and felt the consequences thereof. Let me give you a short example. We had several heat waves and an ever-increasing drought in Germany lately. Often it was impossible to sit in our apartment in the evening as it was so hot and sticky. Instead of enough oxygen, there was ozone in the air that affected my body with breathing problems, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. So, when there was at least a little wind outside, I preferred sitting on one of our balconies, waiting there until I could not keep my eyes open any longer.

A few weeks ago I felt drained, both from the weather and from personal trials. As I was sitting in my chair on the balcony, I started watching some clouds that looked like cotton balls. These clouds were slowly racking over the night sky, from the left to the right side toward St. Paul’s church. The longer I watched them, the more restful I felt. As my overworked mind was no longer able to process any new information, I was surprised to suddenly enjoy an emptiness inside which got increasingly filled with God’s presence, full of joy and peace. I was so grateful for this experience of deep rest, wondering whether such a state could last for a long time or at least on a more continuous level, too.

Suddenly I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, “Look at your thoughts.” The first thing I realized was that I had started to compare my experience with former ones of a similar kind. Then I felt a sort of fear of losing God’s tender presence again. Afterwards I was reminded of this and that person, of the past and of the future, and so on and so on. And believe it or not, His peace and joy were gone. Therefore I asked God to help me focus on Him instead. As soon as He had led my thoughts back to His Person, His heartfelt presence brought me to rest once again. This on and off process lasted for a certain time as to sensing God’s divine life and reality in the here and now or to escape into my old tedious thought habits.

I saw how impossible it is to leave this old nature behind on our own. How often have I tried, though, and I failed?  🙄 When we are in pains, weak and tired, it seems to be much easier to follow our well-trodden paths of thinking, speaking, and reacting as it needs less energy to ‘go’ there. But no, dear brothers and sisters. This has been another lie from the devil. Our old thought life is extremely limited to what we have come to know and what we have experienced. Furthermore, it costs a lot of our life time, it works like a prison we cannot leave and it eats away the joy we could already possess in Christ as He has secured it for us. Our new life in Christ can only be found there in Him who is above all powers and principalities. Eternal life can never be found in ourselves nor here on the earth. Instead, we need the Holy Spirit’s power to translate our spirits into this new position on God’s throne where He made us sit with Christ. As we have been born into His kingdom by God Himself, we can also see His kingdom when He has opened our eyes, and then we come to know the heavenlies by His grace alone, too.

For such a long time it appeared to me that the compensations of our Christian life were not that powerful in my own life than they should have been (according to my expectations). Whether it was physical, mental, or spiritual pain, suffering seemed to be predominant for years, yeah, even decades. Many of us might remember that the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ as the living God was a time of great hope, of peace, and of joy. But then, after a first honeymoon, the reality of this earthly life and our natural reactions to adverse circumstances obscured the former bright light of the gospel. What had happened?

It was just lately that our Lord made me aware of how continuous peace can become reality for us. As long as our minds and hearts wander about to find some life and pleasure on this earth apart from seeking the Lord first, we will be disappointed again and again. Nothing this world has to offer is in itself of eternal value. However, if the Holy Spirit, once again by God’s grace alone, has enabled us to focus on Christ continually, the following scriptural promise comes to life,

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Is 26:3 ESV)

BECAUSE HE TRUSTS IN YOU!! Ha, that’s it! A lack of trust in God makes us lose His presence again and again. When we try to control circumstances or people’s (re)actions, when we try to secure a good life on this earth or when we try to find an escape from adversity on our own, we do so because we do not trust God as our only Helper. Therefore God offers us the Cross which already killed our suspicious Adamic nature about 2,000 years ago. Those numerous trials we have to go through serve to bring us to the end of ourselves, to a complete surrender to Christ so that He can eventually live through us. Like Paul said,

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 ESV)

As a side note, you can see in the picture on the right here the first part of this Bible verse which I found some months ago on an ugly and dirty garbage can right after a bike accident. As I was wondering why God had not protected me, this sticker was one of His answers. The other one was that sometimes He has a reason to let go of protection, even for our good. Honestly, I understood nothing at that time. Only gradually it dawned on me that Jesus more and more took control of my self-life. Not by forcing me in any way, but by always asking me whether I wanted to let go of another area of ‘control’ (thoughts and talks, as mentioned before). Indeed, I so suffered from this strong pull of my thought life that kept me from focusing on Christ more often that I could hardly believe that He would really set me free. Although the pull was strong, His tender Spirit was much stronger. And even my unbelief did not hinder Him as God also gives us, by grace alone, the faith of His beloved Son.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn 8:36 ESV)

Even if our circumstances do not change (mine haven’t), it is possible to gain a new perspective on our problems and to experience real emancipation from being driven by external demands, internal to-do-lists, and the pressure of obligation, coming from other people who do not know which spirit causes them to do or to say certain things. I want to close with a Scripture Jesus just pointed out me to as I was praying.

“Thou causest me to know the path of life; Fulness of joys is with Thy presence, Pleasant things by Thy right hand for ever!” (Ps 16:11 YLT)

All pictures by Susanne and Paul Schuberth 2022