For the past year I have been experiencing the closing in and diminishing of every possible means of survival. I once considered myself pretty competent and industrious enough to be “self-sufficient.” After everything of the temporal was taken away and a sense of desolation began to ease up, something new began.
The “drying-up” process
By that I mean that all of my cleverness, talent, and natural abilities started to turn to JUNK! Inside of me I realized that, not only had I failed at everything I had ever put my hand to, but I lacked education and experience at anything that could provide for me. Add that I suffered with acute back problems and foot problems that make it intolerable to walk or stand for any length of time. That condition ruled out even the most menial of even minimum wage jobs. So I decided that God knew that, and He had just the perfect plan for the “care and feeding of this little sheep.” So I waited on the Lord. And I waited. And I waited some more. Whenever the Spirit led me, I took whatever work I could to get me by. I made application for many jobs that fell through.
Meantime, the pressure of guilt was building up in me, for not “doing something!” As the weeks and months mounted up, my faith in God’s promise to provide was waning fast. At that point it occurred to me that there wasn’t any real point to my life anymore. I felt dumb, useless, un-productive for God, disabled, and defenseless against all the demands (real and imagined) being pushed on me. “After all, my family was raised, and there was no one really dependent on me.”
As a last resort I applied for help from the Benevolence Committee in the church where I am a member. For whatever reason (unknown) I was not considered “qualified” to receive help. This rejection seemed to be the final straw. Suddenly I became acutely aware of my reaction to this rejection. I found myself highly defensive, personally offended, hurt and indignant. The “heavenly spotlight” had found its mark. All of aforementioned failures, handicaps, and deficiencies made sense. Rejection, self-consciousness, self hatred, self-reproach, sell-condemnation, self-pity, and self-destruction: S-E-L-F !
I found a book in my bookcase titled The Ins And Out Of Rejection, by Charles Solomon, Ed.D. Every possible form of rejection had accompanied me throughout my life. From infancy to my ex-husband, and then my own church family. The earmarks of contradictions were screaming at me from the pages of that book. “Aggression/fearfulness, inferiority/opinionated, attention-getting/shrinking in the shadows, confrontation/running away”– I couldn’t believe the confusion it showed, while I identified with the contradictions completely. Then I began to read about the “Identification with Christ.” His death and His burial. But then about His resurrection AND ascension! The whole gospel. So now I knew that even after all the “breaking” and humiliation, I had not made that “exchange” experientially.
Now what?! Knowing the problem is only the diagnosis. It appeared that there was a great chasm to be jumped. The question was “how?” Then God intervened through a friend who read a notation in Dr. Solomon’s first book which stated that unless they offered their services to those who couldn’t pay, they were not “practicing what they preached” about God’s provision. My friend made arrangements for me to get counsel only 3 days later. That was just yesterday. For two hours, Ken Geelhoed began to take me, step by step through the explanation of sense-data vs. God’s Word. And then, a clear explanation of Eternal Life and what kind of a miracle took place when I “died” and entered it. Nothing new? NO. But lights began to go on. The Holy Spirit was getting through! Conviction dawned in my innermost being. It was as if little pieces of me were breaking off. Ken told me that it was no wonder I felt like a failure. I WAS one! From birth! And “I” was still one. And “I” will always be one! So “I” had to go! Praise God! He then related to me that my new birth was obtained by faith, and GOD performed it. And now I could obtain my true position “in Christ” the same way. After all that I had been shown by way of diagrams and God’s Word, I was ready to “jump that great chasm” by faith. A sense of peace and relief had already happened. Then, quietly, I prayed. I asked God to work in me by His Holy Spirit and understanding in my spirit of the wonderful exchange that was already done, and to help me to appropriate the Christ centered life that I so desperately needed. Nothing really spectacular happened in that office. But, I had heard new things that stuck in my mind all the way home. Like, realizing that I didn’t just get into Christ on the cross, but even in the manger … even in the temple … even every moment of His ministry … I was “IN HIM”! WOW!! Just because He doesn’t HAVE eternal life; He IS ETERNAL LIFE!
And now with this small beginning, for the first time I am experiencing Christ in the center of my life. This is just the beginning. But I am now confident that I don’t have to live anymore. That great chasm becomes a fine line once you’ve jumped it. And “Not I, but Christ in me” can keep me there. Just since yesterday, Romans 6,7,and 8 and so much of the Bible has taken on new meaning and new life for me. All of the Epistles are opening to me with “In Christ,” “In Him,” “In the Lord” just jumping off the pages. I will be going back to Ken for a few more visits. He said he would help me to stay on course for awhile, and begin to break the sense-data habits that have been so deeply ingrained through the years of rejection and heartache. There is also a matter of having a true image of God as Father to adjust to. There will be the necessity to exercise my continual decision between the Word as Truth, and the lies of satan. Ken’s parting remark to me was “Keep looking down!” (As from my position in heavenly places in Christ).
I wonder how many defeated and worn-out Christians, young and old (in the Lord) have never “heard” these truths. I understand that many, many Christians never do come to know the freedom of the Christ Centered Life and the divine exchange that was made, experientially. Oh how we wiggle our way out of God’s “breaking” process and fail to ever come to the end of our self. How we somehow avoid the necessity of the cross, in order to be raised to new life. I am not optimistically thinking that everyone should be told at any time, but when someone is at the end of his rope and screaming for deliverance … well that’s a good time to tell him the whole gospel. Watchman Nee said in his book Not I, But Christ, “No one can shorten this process, but one can certainly prolong it”!
What about my despair, fear, and the death wish? Well, I got my wish. Christ in me and I in Christ (at the right hand of the Father) has settled that. And now when the Bible tells me what to do and what not to do, I know that God is simply asking me to yield to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and to Christ IN me. Hour by hour, I feel like I’m growing lighter and lighter. (His burden is light.) Hebrews 4:9,10 speaks of the “rest” and the entering in by faith. The Old Testament picture of the unbelief in the wilderness holds a serious warning to all who can lay hold of the Promised Land IN THIS LIFE, and not after the grave. The choice is ours whether to ward off the fiery little snakes [Num.21:7-9] or go forth in God’s strength to overtake the giants in the Land.
The bottom line of it all is “I DON’T HAVE TO” any more. As long as I am on my toes and willing to obey the voice of Yeshua, Who was first my Messiah, then my Lord, and is now my Life. I have shifted my responsibility to the One Who bought me with His blood. And I will not march until I hear His command to march. He is perfectly able to communicate His will to me … even if I am hard of hearing! (Ps. 32:8)
Forever, Past, Present, and Future,
 for more on Dr. Solomon’s personal ministry model, see GraceFellowshipInternational.com under ‘Store’
This letter, written February 19, 1982, is used by permission.
For more testimonies, see GFI’s books Discipling the Desperate, and Revitalizing Pastors.