The Discomforts and the Delights of the Narrow Gate—Part Two
The Narrow Gate—God’s Open-Armed Grace—of Sanctified Suffering
The Baron de Montesquieu astutely observed, “Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”
If this quote sounds reminiscent of Jesus’ definition of “happiness” as “Blessed…” (Matthew 5), it’s for good reason: The Son of God began His earthly ministry by turning the things of this world upside-down, and inside-out… to be more in line with God’s reality.
Once a person is a “new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) the same radical reorientation lives within that person. But does this reality preclude that what is INSIDE will necessarily be manifest OUTSIDE? Amongst other things, it’s a choice between “the narrow gate or the broad road”.
In my book, “The Weeping, the Window, the Way” (Chapter 1, 2, 3; 8-13), I describe how, when I fell to my knees in the snow next to my suicidal Dad on Christmas night 2002, God miraculously blessed me with specific Bible verves that formed “a protocol for sanctified suffering”:
This is another form of “the narrow gate”—compared to what is in much of the world’s broad road of denying death and avoiding struggles of many kinds—which is killer for the heart.
“The Weeping, the Window, and the Way” is “three-phase process” (unlike any technique-driven “7, 10, 12-step program”) that was miraculously imparted to me from God. And, since I strongly believe that no miracle or gift from God is given to us to grasp but rather to give away (John 3:27; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Philippians 2:1-11; Galatians 5:16-24), I wrote the book in order to pass along the process.
Following is a summary of the threefold journey we must take repeatedly—as we are “growed-up”, matured, made holy, purified, and conformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ SO THAT we can be Christ for everyone God providentially chooses to place in our lives—and nothing happens by chance.
Over time, the three-step process for taking full advantage of every trial needs so thoroughly ingrained as to become an instinctive and proactive response to the unavoidable suffering ALL HUMANKIND will experience because all humanity are Image Bearers of God—some saved, some not—and live in a horribly fallen world. As we’ve discussed at this table, the brokenness was caused by the first Adam, and redeemed by the second Adam, Jesus Christ (Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 15:45).
Please read and meditate on the summary below. Get my book so that you can really internalize what God wants for your heartbreak in a very big way:
THE WEEPING—FREEFALLS AND FOUNDATIONS (passages given me Christmas night: Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Deuteronomy 31:6): All Weeping, all tears, all trials, and all freefalls of any kind are God’s providential control of the seen and unseen universe’s brokenness and an offer for revealing and firming up the foundations of our faith.
The Bible’s foundations consist of CREATION, CHRIST, and COVENANT. In a broken world, little and big freefalls occur every day. Without exception, everyone we come into contact with is in some sort of freefall—ranging from the daily paper cuts of disappointment to a knife to the heart of the most dire tragedy.
Every human being has faith in something. Trials test the nature and worthiness of everyone’s faith foundations. We have to pause long enough to see what the foundations of our faith consist of—and either grow more deeply into the Bible’s Foundations, or see and replace the faulty foundations that may be failing us.
If we do not look more closely into the reality of what our foundations consists of, we will find we’re standing on trapdoors and living a life of worry, fear, anxiety, anger, self-doubt, envy, etc… consciously or unconsciously knowing the trapdoor of our faulty faith foundations will give way at any time!
THE WINDOW—SEEING AND PURIFYING THE HEART (passages given me Christmas night: Romans 1:18; Romans 8:1): Once on a foundation of Creation, Christ, and Covenant, we are assured no punishment is involved (it was finished on the cross), only purification: The distinction is huge!
We must take some time in searching our heart, discerning between the falsehoods and truths of our faith, our core beliefs, our non-negotiables foisted upon us early in life, our “oughts, would-a’s, should-a’s, or could-a’s”.
Every significant trial in our life leaves us with emotions associated with the truths and/or falsehoods of our core beliefs (contained within the heart). Each must be seen for what it is before we try and “move on”, or “get back to life”. Time alone heals nothing—except for the scar that hides an infected abscess below the surface.
Purification of the heart is all about replacing falsehoods with True Truth. Do not go it alone.
THE WAY—MOVING INTO THE CHAOS AS A “CO-REDEEMER” (passages given me Christmas night: Ezekiel 11:19; Romans 8:28, 12:2; Job 19:25): For the “co-redeemer in Christ”, the way back into the chaos of a fallen and broken world requires supernatural and human will power, purpose, and preparation. Do not waste your tears! The anticipation of moving back into the chaos of a broken world can paralyze or rush us.
The goal: To purposely, passionately, and more purified and conformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ—humbly, faithfully, obediently, thankfully, and urgently moving back into the chaos as a wounded healer:
“The way” is about being more urgent to offer a calm in the storm; to be and use God’s word amidst the potential bastardization of words; to be a light in the darkness; to be the salt in the healing; to be a consolation and comfort in the confusion; to be an encouragement and refreshment; to be a reminder in a largely forgetful world—ALL OF THIS… first to the church, and secondly to the rest of the world (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 10:32; Philippians 2:4).
Please know well “the narrow gate of the WEEPING, the WINDOW, and the WAY”. It has many benefits, especially compared to the broad road:
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But… as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 11:19-21—emphasis added).
Until we meet to greet, eat, and prepare for the next faithful feat, may God richly bless you as you “run the good race” (Hebrews 12:1),