Today's guest blogger is Karen Pickering. Karen
is a Biblical Counselor and founder of The Lytroo Retreat. She is
also the author of Learning to Seek God's Presence, a
ten-week study guide written for people who are broken by circumstances. You can read more about Karen and her
Her blog is reposted with permission.
What do Christians do? I’m sure we all have a ready answer for that
question. My answer has changed over the years. Let me explain.
I heard the gospel at a young age and accepted it. Somewhere
along the way I twisted its meaning. I faithfully went to church, read my
Bible, prayed, did all the things Christians were supposed to do. I was proud
of who I was and what I had accomplished for God. I taught Sunday school, led
Bible studies, served on committees, witnessed to others about Christ…
Basically I followed my man-made list of what a Christian looks like and
what a Christian does.
Then the trouble came. It began slowly over the years. Some
painful episodes here and there. My faith was shaken, but I held on. Then more
trouble and eventually a devastating family crisis that I was at a complete
loss to “fix”. I turned to God in confusion and despair. The mess that was my
life was beyond fixing. It was too shattered. I lived moment by moment. I kept
my Bible by my bed. It was the last thing I read before I drifted off to sleep.
In the morning I would pull it into bed with me before I got up to face the
day. It was my life line. It was God’s life-giving word. During those days I
spent hours in the word. Letting it flow over me, sink into me, binding up my
wounds it gave me moment by moment strength. I would leave it open and not an hour
or two would go by that I didn’t need to read and gain new strength. I remember
crying again and again. It is too much, I can’t go on … and I would hear God
whisper … “Can you get through this hour?” My answer was, “With You I can.” And
I did again and again. He became my life and breath. The only thing that was
keeping me sane.
My self-sufficient self had met its match in this trouble and
I desperately needed God in order to keep on living. What I didn’t realize was
that I had always needed Him. Unfortunately my displaced confidence was in
living the Christian life well instead of simply living with Christ.
I needed the trouble to see my need. I needed the trouble to
see the beauty of the one who loves me beyond measure. I needed the trouble to
come to the end of myself and look more carefully at the God who made me. I
needed the trouble to understand that God saves us in the midst of trouble not
from it. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we get a pass on awful things
happening. We still live in a fallen world. The difference is we have a God who
is with us.
That was what I was missing. I was trying to measure up. I
was trying to be my own savior. God was there all along, waiting for me to
acknowledge His presence.
So what is my life like now? The trouble is still
surrounding us. God hasn’t fixed it all, but whatever life throws at me He will
be beside me. If the trouble deepens His arms will sustain me. The trouble has
not been able to pry him from my side.
So getting back to my question. What does a Christian do? …
Simply, they live in God’s presence. That changes who you are and what you do.
Thus we don’t strive to do good works so God is pleased with us, instead our
good works are a result of living in Christ. Being so absorbed with him and who
he is that our life takes a completely different direction.
There are no longer lists to accomplish, but a life to be
lived day by day, moment by moment in God’s presence.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who
live, but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live
by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians
Labels: Guest Blogger- Pickering