Things I Do and Don’t Understand – Bruce the Sheep

There are an awful lot of things that I do not understand, things that when I look back on, make me marvel at the grace of God, that has been given to me, so many many times, when the last thing I deserved was God’s grace. When I consider how different things could have been, had some of the things that I pursued, been allowed to move forward, to my own anticipated end. Of course, what we anticipate what will come to be, and what actually happens, is not always one and the same.

I think most of us have some amount of baggage, perceptions that were formed in us, because of what we were exposed to, plus our own inclination to remedy these perceptions, by focusing on fulfilling our own self centred needs. I know I certainly did. That would be myself (the blind) leading myself (the blind) years, and there were a significant number of them. You wouldn’t have wanted to hitch your wagon to me in those years, because the paths that I walked were anything but good.

And through a staggered series of events, I came to the place where I knew that I needed someone other than myself, to guide me, and lead me out of the quagmire that I myself had created. And I also knew, that the answer was not in emulating other people, because in the vast majority of cases, in my particular circle of friends, they were just as disillusioned and lost as I was.

So I took a step in faith and challenged God, who I was not even sure existed, to show Himself to me. And that challenge became the beginning of a turning point, that eventually led me to where I am today.

There isn’t one thing within Christianity, that isn’t contested, at one point or another. You name it and it has been challenged, and this still goes on, to this very day. I am 77 years old and I have gone through a number of stages of “being” a Christian. Some of these “stages” I am not overly proud of. And it’s not like I have “arrived” yet, because that also isn’t true, but God’s grace has shown me a few things along the way that really do have to be “learned” to be appreciated.

There are “truths” or realities that cannot be denied, no matter what the critics may say.

The reality of and the history of Israel is real.
The reality of and the history of Israel’s Holy Scriptures is real.
The reality of and the history of Jesus is real.
The reality of and the history of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is real.
The reality of and the history of the New Testament is real.
The reality of and the history of the Christian Church is real.

Israel is still with us today.
Copies of the Old Testament associated with Israel are still with us today.
The historical reality of Jesus Christ is recognized today.
The historical reality of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still with us today.
The historical reality of the thousands of copies of the New Testament are still with us today.
The historical reality of the Christian Church is still with us today.

You may not agree with what some say they represent or their accuracy but no one can deny that they exist, with any scholarly credibility. No one.

All of these “realities” point to a witness or testimony of the reality of a God who has revealed Himself to mankind, beginning in the Old Testament and culminating in the visible Christian Church that still exists today. Some may not agree with the premise I have indicated but their opposition still does negate the individual realities that are identified.

There is a distinct difference between the pointers that point to a reality and the reality itself. One points to that which may be experienced and the other actually experiences the experience. You can read about “love” and you can experience “love” but reading about love that you have never experienced is not the same as “experiencing” love. For lack of better words, in order to experience the reality of knowing how to swim, you do need to get into the water. And you can’t do that if you deny the reality of water and refuse to get in it.

No one, to the best of my knowledge, has said ALL of the things that Jesus said. No one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever done ALL the things that Jesus did. No one, to the best of my knowledge, has ever died and risen again from the dead, after three days. No one.

Jesus the Christ, is indeed unique, in the history of the world. Unique as in that He stands alone, from all others.

And what have I learned in my 77 years? Two things above all others and they are encapsulated in two statements that Jesus gave us, which I shall share with you now.

Matthew 11:29 NASB:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

And Revelation 3:20 NASB
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

There are a lot of things that I didn’t know and there are still a good number of things that I do not thoroughly understand, but this I do know and this I do understand:

God is real.
Jesus the Christ is God’s only begotten Son.
Jesus paid the price that separated us from a Holy and loving God so that through faith in Him, we might be reconciled with our heavenly Father.
Reading about Jesus is not the same as experiencing Jesus. When Jesus says “learn from Me”, that’s an invitation to really look at all that He said and all that He did, and take it seriously to heart. And taking it seriously to heart can only result in one thing. Trusting in Jesus, versus ourselves, daily.
And when Jesus tells us that He knocks at our door, and we open that door to Him, in truth, then and only then, does our journey with Him truly begin.

It took me a good long while to come to know and understand this. And it is precious.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

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