quite far away

Comfortably settled in front of the south-facing studio windows, listening to the whir of the lawn mower as Dick moves back and forth across the yard, late September afternoon sun-light pours in upon the pages of my novel. I’ve read this book a few times before. It’s like a visit with an old familiar friend, but I’m not really reading after all. Instead my thoughts travel across time and space to places I cannot go.

In one place quite far away a friend is facing surgery this week. I’m concerned for her because she is angry with God and doubts that his will is to heal her. She often talks about God, but is only interested in having him in her life on her own terms.

In another state, father away still, another friend struggles with a marriage so far removed from what she deserves I cannot imagine how she deals with the details. Her desire is to honor God in her life, but with a husband who expects her (and God) to overlook his repeated infidelity it doesn’t look too promising.

Closer to home, but far from my circle of influence, a lunch buddy works incessantly to earn God’s favor. We get together over Mexican food occasionally, and she recounts the activities of numerous church groups and Bible studies where her attendance earns her points toward another heavenly crown, or so she thinks.

In yet another place far,  far beyond the realm of my influence, another group of friends will meet together a couple of times this week under the umbrella of what they chose to call a church. So far they haven’t come to the understanding that a divided, bickering church is a sign to the world that Jesus is a fraud.

I lay my book across my lap and contemplate this thought: “There is a difference between being saved and walking in a covenant with God. Suddenly the words for the sixteenth “Quite Blessed” post come to me in whole scenario format. As I leave my novel and approach my keyboard to solidify my thoughts it occurs to me that the prep notes for this post were written years ago in the cafeteria of a high school in Fort Collins, Colorado.

It was the late ’70s, and we (me at least) were new to the whole Christian world. We were invited by a couple, who were both our friends and mentors, to attend church and Sunday School with them. They had been making the 45 minute drive to hear this particular teacher for a month or so and what they were learning was changing their walk with God in dramatic ways.

The study—The Abrahamic Covenant—was taken from the books of Genesis and the Galatians. We made the hour and a half round trip every week throughout the fall and winter, learning amazing truths from God’s Word and loving every minute of it. The study was being presented as something new—but it was, in fact, over 3,000 years old.

In Psalm 25:14 David wrote:

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning Amplified Bible (AMP)

His covenant is the very foundation of Christianity. Our God is a covenant-keeping God and the secret of a sweet, loving relationship with Him is this divine revelation to our hearts.

During those few weeks we came to understand the true significance of the verse in Galatians which says:

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise. Gala. 3:29

In the years between those early lessons and this afternoon we have experienced, first-hand, God’s willingness to reveal himself to those who walk in covenant with him. In most of my posts for the “Quite A Journey” series so far I have shared our eye-witness account of the benefits of entering into a covenant with God the Father, through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Son. Every blessing we have been given is a by-product of this covenant, because the power of heaven resides within it.

As my thoughts traveled to those “Christian” friends, whose lives are seemingly not quite so blessed, I am reminded of other teachings we have heard:

  • “If you are sick, there must be some sin in your life that you have failed to confess and beg forgiveness for.”
  • “God is glorified by poverty and self-abasement. Give all you have to the poor, only then can God bless you.”
  • “Because you have been divorced, you cannot serve God within the church as an elder, deacon or pastor.”
  • “God will give you accidents and illness to teach you a lesson.”

NO! Stop! Abraham is listed in the Biblical Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11) as the father of Nations. Yet we know there were lies and manipulations, stupid mistakes and at times outright unbelief in Abraham’s life. Those failures did not disqualify him from God’s promises. Why? Because in making a covenant with God Almighty, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Abraham submitted his will to God and received his inheritance.

In every covenant two wills die and one will of divine unity is created. There IS a difference between being saved and walking in a covenant with God, recognizing Him to be loyal, faithful, full of integrity, full of truth and grace—then submitting your will to His.

This afternoon, if time and space allowed, I would transport each of these dear friends back over the years to the cafeteria in Fort Collins where we first entered into our covenant with God, through Jesus finished work on the cross. I would beg each one to believe God, knowing it would be counted to them as righteousness; knowing that God watches over His Word to preform it.

I would say to each one, “You are an heir! Have you read the will? Because it seems to me that by not knowing the terms of your covenant you are quite far away from what your Father has promised to give you.”