Thursday, September 4, 2014

"The Mustard Seed" Part 1

   The British author J. Sidlow Baxter recounts the story of an Australian young lady from the 19th century who progressively lost her limbs over the course of several years.  She lay in bed for the majority of her lifetime, unable to move about or do anything that most would consider necessary for happiness and fulfillment.  Early in the days of her calamity, however, she read the promise of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of John: "He that believeth on Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).  The girl took her Lord at His word.  "I believe in You, Lord.  So I trust You to somehow work in me to bring forth life to others, even from this bed of apparent languishing."

    Taken at His Word, the Lord Jesus took the young lady to places of glory, glory in His heart.  He filled her with His peace and joy.  He led her to ask a friend to devise an apparatus to be attached to her shoulder that could hold a calligrapher's pen.  He illuminated and strengthened her to learn how to move her body so as to write the most beautiful and Christ-filled letters.  He moved hundreds of people to visit the woman confined to an earthly bed, but liberated to soar in the Heavenlies by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus.  The people all came away blessed by the scene of Strength made perfect in weakness, of Vibrancy bursting forth from stillness, of Life proceeding from the appearance of death, and of Rivers of living water flowing from the seemingly driest of deserts.

    We may mistakenly conclude, "What great faith the young lady had!"  If she could speak to us, however, a word of correction would lovingly chide us.  "The source of the life I lived was not faith" she would tell us.  "It takes but a mustard seed of that to move mountains.  No, the source of my joy and fulfillment in the bed of languishing that became a bed of life was the faithfulness of our Savior and the truth of His promise."  Indeed, early in her trial, our Heavenly Father directed the girl's heart to Himself, and to the unconditional promise of her heart serving as the tributary of His love, life, and saving grace in Christ.  No circumstances, conditions, or situations can prevent the fulfillment of such assurance when we take the Lord Jesus at His Word.  "He that believeth on Me…"

    We can all imagine scenarios such as the one we presently consider, calamities that would seemingly overwhelm and swamp us with despair (or perhaps we even presently find ourselves in such a time).  Perhaps they might, but only if we could not find the modicum of that mustard seed in our hearts.  Could the Lord Jesus so reveal Himself unto and within us in such circumstance?  Is He that present, able, and willing to fill our hearts?  Has He already overcome death itself for the purpose of our resurrection as well as His own?  The answers are obvious, but our response, of course, is not so certain.  Would we possess and plant that mustard seed?  This is where the young lady most instructs us.  She recognized that her peace and faithfulness would proceed not from herself, but rather from the peace and faithfulness of Christ.  She looked away to Him by believing His simple promise.  The Lord Jesus then did what He always does in the hearts of those who trust Him.  He keeps His promises.  Because, as we often declare, no one has ever trusted in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and been disappointed for doing so.  And no one ever will…

"Thy Word is truth."
(John 17:17)
"Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds."
(Psalm 36:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
(Psalm 116:9)

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