Perseverance in Christ

Hard to sleep bearing awareness of the gap separating the confusion of the world from the possibility of redemption and perfection in Christ. What an awesome chance everyone squanders! “Insofar as we are sinners we fail to be, and are not” (Aquinas). How many people therefore “are not”…!

Yet, when you think about what you can do about it, you feel like the answer is nothing. You have to do everything, but what, where to begin, what front to storm, what addition to make? You try to think it through on your own but those efforts fail: because alone it is a lost cause.

The only option then is to surrender to what God gives you to do, even if it seems so meager, and maybe at times you get the signal wrong. The only option is to trust He will put your little oblations and humble works to good use for fruit in the Kingdom. And thankfully, most of the time, it’s all joy responding to the call… But nonetheless, the sheer apparent impossibility stares back. Without the pledge of Christ, no doubt we would all flounder! We would not even get across the threshold to begin. So He is our hope for every good work (1 Tim 4:10).

That refusal you observe in the world, it gets more painful to watch the less you refuse the chance yourself. Probably that is why they say Christ suffered spiritually to the absolute maximum, as far as suffering could go. Because He never refused, He saw the depth of our refusal. Who could fathom the full pain of that? Yet so too it is with us, as we share in Christ’s sufferings through the transformation He effects in us: the less we sin, the more we see sin’s true horror.

So many mysteries. Our lives are nothing through and through, slivers and blips (Jm 4:14)! Why do we defend so terribly our little slices and squares, as if we were made for the crimps and cramps of this world?

There’s so much ignorance, you want for your own break out of it to shatter it for everyone for good. But it doesn’t, at least not directly. You can’t even evaluate directly your own contribution. You can only sow the seeds of the Word, a duteous worker in the fields of heaven. It’s like we’re made to be blind on earth, so we’ll see eternity. Each of our moments in faith are the tiny doors through which the eternal gusts pass, and we bang against the hinges, hearing mostly creaks and slams. But the door is just a dream, like all the ignorance and confusion. The only real door is Christ.

And yet! It is finished. Why do we reach the point of knowing there’s nothing to dispel only when we see how ubiquitously there is something to dispel? Like gazing through the absence of a problem makes the problem glare worse. Like faith in what God has done explodes our awareness of what is yet to do. So we have to explode in every direction: evangelization.

The words worry more than me, thank God. (Like it is the world itself worrying in the words, not me). Again it’s that the same weird coincidence of feeling the disturbance of the world but from afar, where everything is already solved, the answer of Christ so clear and inevitable that one struggles to even get worry or disturbance off the ground. Hope gives way to knowing once the victory in oneself is so sure and total that no doubt remains about the cosmic victory either.

Everything is letting grace do its work. If only everything else were letting grace do its work in it, too!

So, we can relish that peculiar ache and pleasure of staying up to sit with the Lord and His own magnificent ambition for us all. His Word is the only reality. When will they see?

by Timothy Lavenz
May 7, 2022

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