February 17th, 2004


Stomach knotting

In a funk. Worry, insufficiency, insecurity, uncertainty, anxiety, guilt, stress. Fear. Most of it is just in my head; when isn't it? That which is real is still not too much to entrust to God; in fact, that's the very thing to do with it. Need is a gift. I have trouble receiving it rightly. All I want to do is run away. That never ends well.

(Lunch might help, too.)
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I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

—Jesus (John 17:16-19)

We just don't believe Jesus. We don't want to. Today, hate is an accusation hurled toward believers, not something we in the West expect to truly receive from the world.

Here's one snapshot of the struggle from a friend's journal. It's out of context here, but I believe the point stands:
Poster: ...It struck me anew last night how much the world hates us. Really hates us because of Whose we are and what we believe. This is nothing new and Jesus said we should expect it, yet it scares me...

Commenter: ...also, its not the World that hates us. Its the liberal media. trust me on this one...
I'm going to have to stick with Jesus (and the poster) on this one: the world hates those who believe in Him. Why would we not believe Him when He says this? Because we want life to be more civil and comfortable? Because we're scared? Whatever the reason, we simply have to get over it, because Jesus said it— that makes it true. Further, He said it in prayer to the Father. In prayer. Do we really think that it's a truth that's subject to revision based on our opinions or experiences? If so, we might as well give up the business of prayer, because if Jesus' isn't true, mine certainly isn't.

No, the world hates those who believe in Him. It's something to come to grips with here and now, in a way that gives courage and hope rather than fear or bitterness. Ideas like "the liberal media" may give us a bite-sized enemy to fight, but let's stop kidding ourselves about the reality. Accepting the truth of that hatred for His sake is an important precursor to experiencing the power He calls into our lives. Let Him send us into that world, an invasion of grace and reconciliation into the stronghold of God's enemies. His Kingdom advances now, and even death and Hell shall not prevail against it.

Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

—Jesus (John 16:31-33)
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