We all ponder life (at least anyone I have ever talked to does at some level); we ponder life and wonder. We wonder what goes into a life, what are the ways that our Creator and God works in our lives, and what is the significance of it in our relation to Him? In short, we wonder how we can better align ourselves to these unseen ways and make our way easier. We all want to make our way easier. Who wouldn’t? Certainly this is Jesus’ desire at some level; that our way be easy and light. (Ref. Matt. 11:30) Not that we would not have some kind of yoke, we all carry some kind of burden, but that it would be as easy as possible and as light as God will allow. This does not mean that we will not have troubles, so please don’t take this wrong, Jesus was clear in that we would in fact have troubles. But as we align ourselves to the ways and working of God these troubles become less of a mystery and more tolerable by simply knowing that they serve a purpose.
But it is more about aligning ourselves to God and being closer to Him than it is about making our way easier. Often when hardships would come for a fellow believer, and they were beside themselves, I would ask if they ever prayed, “God whatever it takes, I want to be closer to You.” Almost inevitably they would say that they at one time or another had. Now I do not do this so much any more but try to have more understanding and empathy. But often the circumstances in our lives as painful as they may be are a direct answer to that prayer. We say that God works in mysterious ways, mostly because His ways are unseen and past finding out, but much of it is because He often answers in ways that are antithetical to how we might answer or expect.
Some who are more spatial and visual, like I am (spacial not special), try to map or draw out the things that are unseen. I have done this over time, and I have come to see the Spirit’s work in us in what I think is a profound depiction albeit two-dimensional as it is. This lesson is a simple explanation of the beginning of my journey into a much deeper clarity of His ways using ‘mapping’ as a tangible way to ‘see’ what happens in a very much unseen place; in the heart of man and the metaphysical aspects of our minds.
To Everything There Is A Time
The author of Ecclesiastes (the words of the preacher) wrote in Ecc.1:1-2 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die;” I heard another preacher say frequently that life is a dash. On our tombstone we have (or will have) the date we are born, and the date we die, and we live in the dash in between. And we all go rushing around through life, we dash through life, until the day we die.
A simple timeline of a life can begin with the birth date, end with the time of death, and have numerous slashes from start to finish of significant events in between. As I said in the introduction to the Worm Digger series, we all will have had 36,525 days to live if we live to be one hundred years old. To map on a timeline the significant events over that period is not too complicated. It is a simple process, but there is much more that goes into life than simple events in time.
Every life has catalysts, causes, and effects. There are circumstances and pressures both external and internal that shape our decisions and deeds. And for the Christian, life takes on a whole new meaning and direction. This is sort of where my story (the Higher Ground story) begins. While teaching the discipleship class I explained earlier on in this series I would draw on the white board two horizontal lines, one near the top of the board going from left to right the entire length of the board, often I would draw arrows pointing in opposite directions at either end. Then I would draw the other near the bottom also going from left to right almost the entire length of the board. If you can imagine it, this will become a peek into our soul’s timeline. It’s not much now but you will see what I mean before too long.
The top line was meant to be a segment of God’s eternal timeline that runs alongside the bottom line depicting our original, simple, temporal timeline. Don’t get too bogged down with this explanation, it will all become more clear as we continue through this lesson. Understanding this completely is not crucial to understanding the principles we will discuss here.
A New Beginning Upon Believing
On this board I would draw a dot on the bottom timeline, another dot further ahead on the top timeline, and a straight, slanted line or incline from one dot to the other, with several slashes in between. This is somewhat different from the simple timeline described and shown above. The bottom dot is meant to show the point in time when one comes to know God (through the only Way Jesus said we can know God – John 14:6) This is a place of new beginning, a turning point, for believers the second most significant point on the timeline. The first being the time we came into existence and became a living soul; only depicted on a timeline as the day of one’s birth but of course we believe it happens at conception and not at birth. I did not usually draw this on the timeline but I have begun adding a dot to the beginning of the bottom timeline.
Please bear with me through this explanation. It is not too exciting yet but once we begin to look at God’s deeper work in us it begins to get very exciting, especially when you can see how what we draw on paper has actually played out in your life and relationship to God. So here I have described a basic timeline that we all are familiar with and a different paradigm, one that depicts in a rudimentary and rather crude fashion our growth. We will see in future lessons that there are too many limits to these simple descriptions and drawings.
A Common Process
The growth angle again is meant to depict the time we become believers until the time we actually go to be with the Lord. The dashes in the incline are times of rest in our lives, or at least that is how I described it in the early days of the discipleship class. I would say in that class that our Christian life is like walking up a slippery incline. I would use a frozen slanted pavement as an example. If you have ever tried to walk up a frozen slanted pavement you understand immediately. You have to keep moving or you begin to slide back.
I suspect the devils laugh each time we slip back in despair. Of course the analogies here are easily recognizable. So in the class I would say we continue moving forward or we slide back and all along the way the Lord provides moments of rest.
This still is a somewhat limited perspective however.
A Limited Perspective
I am calling this a limited perspective because none of us are the same, and not one of us goes through exactly the same things as another. Dashes on an incline hardly does justice to the reality of our individuality and the variations of our trials. We do all go through a common process however and that is all that this really shows; times of growth and times of rest. Times of growth and times of rest.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose. Of course the things pertaining to the life of the Christian are purposed by God and we will see in future lessons how elementary and limited these diagrams are; they are really insufficient to show the depths of God’s working in our lives. We will see that and we will see how wonderfully consistent and yet personal His dealings are with us. He is such a patient and persistent God!
God through His Word has given us a blueprint of His deeper work in us and we have only begun to explore that here. We have not even begun to discuss the tools that He uses and the skill that He employs. We will get to that.
Every person, both the believer in Jesus, and someone who believes in another doctrine and follows another god, has a time to be born and a time to die. Every maturing soul will go through a ‘growth – rest – growth – rest’ process but there are many more catalysts and ‘tools’ that God uses to grow us up. To bring unbelievers to a place of recognizing their need of Him if they will, and to bring us into a frame of receiving His abundant grace daily and moment by moment. Those things we cannot see are difficult to describe and depict but I will do my best throughout this series. I hope you will continue to join us on this journey to Higher Ground as things unfold here.
Kind regards to you friend. Please comment below and add your thoughts to this very simple lesson. If there are things of a private nature you wish to discuss with me then you can message me using the form at the bottom of this page. If you wish to get updates of future lessons then you can use the form at the top of any newly refreshed page to place yourself on my personal mailing list (for my use only and not for sale). Thank you for taking the time to read here to the end.
Blessings to you as you grow in His grace,
All My Mentors