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Friday, January 1, 2010


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

We tend to concentrate on the situation at hand. Instead, our concentration is to be on Jesus. Circumstances at hand will blow with the winds of history. They will also ever be with us in this world; they will simply change definitions.

Think back ten years. What pressure was upon you then? Think back fifteen years. What were you doing on that day?

You cannot recall it. It is a blur. Sometimes, as years pass, it is as if another person lived out our situations, places, and events. One of God's gifts is to blur the past in preparation for eternity.

Paul said, "Forgetting those things that are past. . .we forge ahead in Christ's prize."

The accent is on the now in Jesus. Then this now will pass as well. Therefore, it is not so much what is the content of the now, but Jesus--who will never leave us.

I would resign my right to know
The morrow with its mystery hidden.
'Tis only God who has the right
To hold the key from now till heaven.

Satan would have us focus on our settings: poor, confused, threatening? God would have us focus on our Savior: more than adequate, abiding, loving, leading.

It is Jesus who is all-in-all. It is He who undergirds our mortality. It is He who understands our fragility. That is why Scripture refers to us as clay--cracked. As dust--blowing in the winds. As wheat strands--at the mercy of the weather.

Yet over our humanness is the God-man--Jesus Christ. Our very breath derives from Him.

The vow of poverty I take
In order for the soul to find
Its riches only in His grace,
Its wealth within His kindly mind.

Sometimes dire situations are permitted by God in order for us to cast off all our attachments to the world. It is so difficult for some of us to let go of our manufactured securities: position, academic accomplishments, standing in the corporation, bank accounts, political savvy, talents, connections. Yet none of these can be our security. Jesus is our only sure security.

Therefore, trying situations are allowed by the Father in order continually to remind us of "Blessed are the poor in spirit. . ." Poverty in soul is the beginning of spiritual riches. Yet how we do not want to hear that, to believe that.

So patiently I keep my pulse
To measure motion by His pace.
Then calm in Christ shall settle in
So as to see naught but His face.

Right now assess, not what is taking place in your life, but how aware you are of Jesus. As long as your companionship with Him is intact, then you are sound--whole. From alpha to omega, that intactness is all that ultimately counts for anything.

You too will pass. So will your circumstance. Only your tie with Jesus will go on and on and on.

The sorrow of the testing goads
As I would turn to painless roads.
Yet in the sorrow grows the bower
That brings His holiness in flower.

The Father permitted His only Son to endure such intense persecution. It came particularly from so-called religious persons. They poked, jabbed, reviled--publicly--in one circumstance after another. Are they doing that to you?

Why did the Son have to undergo such daily miseries? In order to make certain that in His humanness He was totally yielded to the Father's plan for the moment.

If that was the procedure for the sinless one, then why not for His other children--the offspring of grace? As Jesus was crafted daily into the Father's image through agonies about Him, so we are crafted daily in the Savior's image through agonies about us.

To the cross I'd wed myself
So as to see my own will die
In order to know Father's will
That knows no error, nor no lie.

Take your eyes off of the situation. Put your eyes on Jesus within the housing of your soul. There He is already present. Do not beg for Him to come. Child of grace, He is already there. By faith, you accept this security. That is enough for you.

I rest in God in chapel there
That's built inside my broken heart.
In time I know that He'll repair
The bruise, the hurt, heaven's health to start.