“Everything that wrecks our hopes of ourselves, and our earthly props, is helping forward infinitely God’s work in us.” I. Lilias Trotter, Parables of the Christ Life
How often are we reminded that in following Jesus we will be broken, become weak? We are often encouraged to fight the good fight and to be strong! But, what is strength? His word says, when I am weak, He is strong. When we are out of the way, He becomes the Way. Perhaps we don’t often hear of the way to be “weak in Him” as Lilias Trotter says, since we do not want that path. We do not want the path of utter dependence upon Him. We want to live according to our flesh, not according to the Spirit. And ironically the more we try to be Christ like, the more we become aware that our deeds are as filthy rags before Him. “It is not only that which is sinful as opposed to that which is holy; it is that which is human as opposed to that which is Divine.” Further on in her little devotional, the Parables of the Christ life, Lilias says “The carnal nature with its workings stands out as the hindrance in the way of the Divine, and the time comes when we see that no more growth is possible to the Christ in us unless a deliverance comes here. We are helpless in the matter. There is no system of self-repression or self-mortification that will do anything but drive the evil below the surface, there to do a still more subtle work, winding down out of reach. The roots will only strike deeper and the sap flow stronger for the few leaves trimmed off here and there. If self sets to work to slay self it will only end in rising hydra headed from the contest. How is the deliverance to come? The annuals give us the secret. Look back at the vetch seed vessels. Why is it that leaves which used to stand firm and fresh like those to the flowering clover, have begun to shrivel and turn yellow? It is because they have acquiesced wholly now in the death sentence of their new birth, and they are letting the new life live at the expense of the old. Faith is being wrought out by life. “And I skip a bit to come to the conclusion Ms. Trotter draws: “Christ is our Life now—-our Only Life—-And we begin to find that He is dealing with the old creation, we hardly know how. We only know that as we bring the judgment, the motive, the aim that were ours, not His, into contact with Him, they shrivel and wither like the dying leaves. The impulses and shrinking of the flesh perish in his Presence alike. The new life wrecks the old. “And we are “saved by His life”. Thank you Jesus.
Becoming part of brokenness reveals to us our brokenness, unveiling our illusion of wholeness…thereby showing us again and again our need of the Savior. And as I wrote this little phrase I began to ponder the what ifs. What if we had not entered into the broken lives of our adopted sons? Would I have not seen my own? Would I have missed the graciousness that has been afforded to me in this journey from our Savior? Would I have missed seeing the brokenness in our bio children? If we set up our lives to never enter another’s brokenness—–perhaps we will never see our own? Jesus came to make all things new and to restore the pain and hurt and He has for some reason allowed us to be the conduits of His love in this process. Ally and I were talking about some of the hard parts of her new brothers being here and as we talked about the brokenness in the world is like a glass vase being shattered to the ground and that piece by piece we pick up the pieces and glue them together and when Jesus returns the cracks and glue repairs will be completely made whole. She really could see it! She became so excited. This followed the difficult reality that our new brothers and sons would not have chosen to have their mom die , and as Ally mourned for them in that moment, Jesus was real to me. How will Jesus become real to those broken around us? What is each of our part?
It is funny, he came to die…..why would I not expect to die, that new life could come forth?