Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday's Word-Unceasing Anguish

Have you ever been totally burdened for someone? Well, I have. I have grieved over their spiritual condition, petitioned on their behalf, and prayed for them. But, I can say that I have NEVER ONCE wished that I could trade my place in glory for their salvation. Maybe that's selfish of me. Judge if you wish.

In Romans Chapter 9, Paul says, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers..." WOW, Paul! WOW! I can totally relate to the "great sorrow" part. I can somewhat relate to the "unceasing anguish" part. But, you wish you were cut off from Christ for their sake?!! WOW!

In my life, "great sorrow" looks like this: I end up feeling grief-a pressing and emergent grief. The Holy Spirit prompts me to pray, and I know that He is interceding in that moment, because the H.S. is amazing in ways I may never know, and will present the prayers that I WANT to come up with but don't know how to, to God! It's the "unceasing anguish" part that hurts. This part of what Paul is talking about is way down deep in your soul. It's the part where the Holy Spirit, who is with us and IN US, is anguished over a person or situation in your life. This may be anguish over a dear friend or family member who is lost, or has given in to sin, or who has just altogether turned away from the Lord. We may be able to suppress this feeling or busy ourselves until it passes, but anguish is what prompts us into action! We need to be more conscious of it and act when the Holy Spirit prompts!

Paul, however, takes it one step further. He says he wishes he could become cursed and cut off from Christ on someone else's behalf! What selfless sacrifice of him! Actually, when you think about it...



JESUS became cursed. (2 Cor 5:21)
JESUS became cut off from the FATHER! (Mk 15:34)
(Lk 22: 44)

Paul's heart was right in line with the heart of Christ, and that is where WE are called to be! If our heart is in line with Christ, and prompted by the Holy Spirit, we are right where we should be! How do we know? I believe the "great sorrow" and "unceasing anguish" will let us know that we're on the right track!

And still, in all this, we have a resounding JOY in Jesus!
...proof that the Spirit is alive and working in mysterious ways!

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