If I write something that won’t be comprehensible to others, I generally don’t publicize it. However, due to the nature of this, I wanted to, just a little.
August 20, 2009
How often have I sat down and simply given praise to God in my writing? Simply given thanks and said what He has done? I write of Japanese culture and missionaries and theology, but what of praise? Am I capable of expressing adequate gratitude for what He has given me? It seems that I struggle with this! I scarcely even try. I ought to say to the whole world, “This and that is what the Lord has done to me.” My whole life ought to be a signpost pointing to Him.
I praise Him with my hands. I praise Him when I play the piano, be it Christian music or Squaresoft music, my heart is of praise to Him as I play. I praise Him in my other writings, for He has given me the mind to write, and so I glorify Him by using it. When I give out tracts and invitations to houses and strangers, it is praise to Him. As I read Religious Affections and struggle through the archaic English of three centuries past, it’s praise, because He is worth the mental pain. As I read a secular book about the world political/economic scene, it’s praise, because He has given me the brain used to read it. But I want to praise Him in writing. I’m no poet, but I would use my pen in thanks.
I operate under a state of mind that God is a God of deliverance. The waters come up to my neck… the enemy advances… I sink to the grave… But YOU! You, oh God, rescue me! Ever since coming to Japan, I have been praying, again and again along those lines. It has felt like drowning, and I’ve been begging the Lord for His salvation. Salvation is not only a word meaning to be saved from our sins, it just means to be saved. So, as Christians, we should often pray, “Save me, oh Lord! Give me Your salvation!” And I have been.
And then, about three weeks ago, I just started feeling better. I started having more energy. I got up more easily in the mornings. It seemed like He was lifting from my shoulders a curtain of sorrow that has weighed me down for a year. A month and a half ago, I began to have a weekly schedule of English classes and a college ministry and such. I saw friends and spent time with them, and I wrote an essay about His discipline with thoughts He gave me the power to have. It was good. He gave it all.
Then a couple Mondays ago, I spent some real time in prayer, and I felt the joy of the Savior washing over me. A thought came to my mind: I am loved here. Everyone here is so busy, not just the Japanese, but the missionaries as well, and people are not so warm, and oh so busy. But I think that an arrow of truth pierced through lies: I am loved, even though I haven’t felt it much. I know that God loves me, but knowing that humans do as well in this place, that fact gave me joy. It was something I needed to know, that they care for me, here where I am out of the reach of so many.
I meditated on the quest to know Him more, the quest that brings me here. I do care that the Japanese know Him, but my own relationship with Him is an even greater goal, and the only way for that to grow is to follow His steps here and preach His gospel here. If I do not do so, I cannot know Him more. So, the goal that the Japanese see Him and that I see Him are the same goal. Both cause both to happen.
I have tasted of the sweetness of Him, and though I do not taste it every day as deeply as I wish, I would give anything to see Him clearly and have the emotions of my heart well up in an adequate response to His goodness. If I truly understood his love and felt it in my heart, if my heart were to well up to feel what it ought to feel because of His love, forgiveness, and most of all the Cross… If that happened for even a minute, if I felt that for even a minute, it would change my life all over again. I want to see visions of glory. I long to hear His voice as clearly as any has on this earth. That is worth any trouble, and we must not mind a little suffering on the path.
His glory and goodness are such that if we could only catch a glimpse and feel what is accurate to feel about them (I am not talking about feigning emotions, for that implies feeling more than we should; I’m talking about feeling exactly what we should towards the truths of the Bible), it would surpass anything we have hitherto imagined. In Heaven we shall in fullness, and by His power we shall arrive there and see Him face to face, and all the darkness of this world will seem as nothing when we do.
I would rather have pleasures in Him than earthly pleasures. His are the best. I do think I believe this, but I have not experienced it. Physical pleasures of the flesh are more intense for a moment than anything I have felt in God, but I do believe that even on this earth, there is a pleasure in God that surpasses the pleasures of the flesh. However, I am certain that such a thing is true in Heaven; the pleasure there will cause even the most intense of delights of the earth to seem like sand in the mouth.
His pleasures are more lasting. Though sin can be a greater pleasure for an instant, it is just for an instant. Pleasure in God lasts. And it is morally correct. I just couldn’t stand to pursue pleasures that I knew were wrong. I must go for those that are right. At all costs, I must pursue the pleasures of God. I have barely glimpsed them, but I know they exist. I see them in His Word, which I trust. I believe that there is a quality of power and delight in this life (ultimately in Heaven) that I have not yet experienced, and I believe that the road to experience it is through the darkness and through suffering.
From that Monday, I’ve felt more like my old self again: having energy, being responsible with things, not waking up with a heavy weight upon my chest. God did something that morning, and though the deliverance is not complete, yet, the back of my depression has been broken, I believe, and it is only a matter of time until the Savior saves me completely. He is a good Savior, a faithful God to watch over me and care for me so tenderly despite all that has happened here. To watch over me in hardships and trials. To be with me and never leave, even when I cannot see Him. He is good, and He is faithful, and I hope that in some tiny way, this has served to express a fragmentary shard of the praise due His name.