08/22/11 My comments about… and excerpts from Daryl Kraft's, “A Different Place” . by Merwin
Please forgive the length of time it has taken for this. This last week was devoted to the departure of a very dear friend, one that I will not see again on this side of glory.
We will all see you in a minute or two Joan, for our life is but a vapor.
Second in the Series... 2 Corinthians 1:3 - 7
In the last posting, I was too hasty referring to the first two chapters in mini-synopsis form. In re-acquainting myself with those chapters I found excerpts that are too valuable not to include as part of the introduction to, as well as my comments about Daryl's work.
The first excerpt I am about to share is on the first page and a half of chapter one, of "A Different Place" and it describes the impact of hearing the news of his good friend and cousin's terminal condition. Please forgive the emboldening, I don't know another way to set apart his material, but as soon as I get it sorted, I will employ that method.
My thoughts began to race. Dave? He's my age; how can this be happening to him? Then like a debilitating poison, fear began to seep into my chest. My breathing grew shallow as I considered the fragility of my own life. What would I do if it were me? How could I lose my family and everything I had worked so hard to build? I would be a total wreck if it were me facing death.
In reality, however, I was already a total wreck. No amount of money or glittering achievement seemed to quench the relentless gnawing in my gut for more. I was in constant distress about the possibility of displeasing customer's of failing to reach the company's growth projections for the month, quarter, or year. I also harbored a deep secret -- an unspeakable dread -- that even though was a Christian, God in the end might reject me if I failed to live up to his expectations.
My own struggle with legalism, was not a wrestling with what I felt was God's expectations. No, my angst was about my own self-disappointments. It was over how I compared with others, or peer pressure, and this, from a very early age.
As a result of my Born Again experience, I was set free from my expectations and failures, when I found out that He loves me.
With these early paragraphs from Daryl, we are shown the desperate condition that Christian legalism can create. Mine was simply that I did not measure up to the behavior of others... for a brother or sister who are bound by what they feel are the expectations of Jesus, that would seem to me, to be a much greater burden to bear.
The rest of our time at the hospital went by in a blur. It felt like only minutes later, we were saying our final good-byes to the grateful people around the room. Dave asked the singers for one final song, the one with the lyrics, "There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place." It was the perfect song for what was going on in me. I could already sense some kind of change, as if the weight of the world had fallen from my shoulders. Somehow that prayer at Dave's bedside had been different from all my previous dedications and commitments to the Lord. This time, I hadn't tried to bargain with God: to become a better Christian, to read my bible and witness more, or put more money in the plate. In my desperation, I had cried out in urgent need, begging Him to grant me only one thing: Himself!
GOD'S THOUGHTS ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS; HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS.
I now know that this was God bringing me to a fork in the road of my Christian life. Quietly and gently, God always honors a heart's humble cry for Him alone. I had filled my life with what I thought I knew of God. But being a Christian isn't solely about tracts and bumper stickers and trying to get people "saved." There is nothing wrong with any of that, of course, but Christian service always carries the potential of distraction from the God we serve. In that hospital auditorium, I saw the indescribable peace in my cousin's eyes. I saw what Jesus Christ means to a living soul, and that awakened in me a longing to know and experience Him in the same way my cousin did. I could continue down the path of self-effort in "trying to serve God," or I could follow His leading on this new path: a path of "desiring to know God" and trusting Him with the rest of it.
I am so glad that I decided to refresh my memory on the beginning of the book, we might have gone without these inclusions.
I feel Daryl's book is extremely important for many reasons. One predominate reason is, nearly everyone can identify with the bondage of legalism while yearning for the liberty promised in the Bible. Daryl's book is testimony showcasing his liberation through the sovereign love of our Father, but it does not stop there, he also shows us scriptures that the Holy Spirit shared with him regarding some of the many truths of His grace and mercy.
Going forward, I will attempt to keep my commentary as concise as I can, I feel that Daryl's book is better than anything I may have to say regarding it. And I will trying to get the next posting out much sooner.