What follows is from chapter 17 of the book Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness by C. Baxter Kruger. I was given the book by the pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship (part of "Grace Communion International"), but I found a moment ago that I could download the whole book in pdf format. (It might work for you to get it at this link.) I'm planning on hearing Doug Johanssen preach there tomorrow at 10:00 AM.
There are some dear ones that Toni and I have loved and cared about down through the years who I would love to share this with. Maybe there are people you'd like to share it with too.
I'm still working through the theological and biblical basis of all this, but what follows just seems to resonate with truth.
Chapter 17 - "Finding Rest" from the book Across All Worlds
"To find rest for your soul, look with Jesus into his Father’s eyes. Accept yourself as the Father’s beloved child. Acknowledge that the Father Himself is proud of you. In the freedom of His pride, acknowledge that you are blind. Face the fact that something within you is hesitant to believe. Confess that something within your own heart whispers, “No, it cannot be this simple. God cannot be this good. I could not be this wrong.” As the beautiful life of Jesus with his Father and Spirit exposes your hiding and pretending, your shallowness and fear, do not run. Do not shut down. Do not pretend. Stop and face the pain. Embrace the exposure, own it, take responsibility for it, and right there in the midst of the pain dare to look into the Father’s face. It is all about receiving the Father’s love. “Come unto Me” means nothing more than “receive my knowledge of my Father, believe in my Father’s love. Declare war on your own vision of god and his neglect, his indifference, his eagerness to judge. Listen to me, your brother. I know the Father’s heart.”
"Inside your mind and heart there are two different visions of God: the god you have created in the darkness, and the Father, Son, and Spirit. Which God do you believe in now, at this moment? Who is your God today? Stop and take a moment to think about your failures. Think of what you have done wrong, and all the of things that make you feel ashamed. Think of the whisper. Think of what you hope no one ever knows about you. Now, look at all of these things and see the Father’s compassion. Do you honestly think that Jesus’ Father is unaware of your secret list of personal disasters? Is He blind to your striving and hiding and pretending? Does He not see the religions we have created in our darkness? Do you believe that He has turned away from you, that He cannot bear to look upon such a mess? Jesus’ Father loves. He sees the mess and His heart never flinches. He loves you.
"The irony of the kingdom of the Father, Son, and Spirit is that it is in facing ourselves, in being honest about what we have done and not done, in staring our shame in the face and feeling the sheer sadness of it all, that we encounter the Father’s unflinching heart. How can this be? All these years you have believed you are not worthy, not good enough, too bad for His love. Now you hear that it is in being honest with your failures that you get new eyes to see His face. Evil twists forgiveness into an unforgiving god, but Jesus meets you in that fear with his Father’s love. “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick: I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
"Father, in the freedom of your endless love and in the safety of your embrace, I acknowledge to you that something happens to me and I get lost in the darkness. Instead of living in your joy, I get crippled inside. I change. Instead of receiving your love, my soul is disturbed. I become needy. I shut down and withdraw. I become selfcentered, angry and frustrated. In my pain I hurt those I love. I waste time and life. I am embarrassed. I am scared to look at myself. Forgive me for blaming others for my problems. Speak to my soul, Father. Tell me again that there is more to me than I know. Help me believe that my existence, my life, my future is part of yours. Help me see that facing my life and my hurt means liberation and fullness, not death. Jesus, give me your eyes. Help me to see myself as you do. Holy Spirit, bear witness to my soul that I belong to Jesus and his Father forever. Show me where and when and how I am not receiving Jesus’ Father’s love. Show me how my fear is attached to people and places, events and smells and things. Transform the triggers and associations of evil into sacraments of the Father’s love. Forgive me for what I have done and said, and for what I have not done and not said to your children."equalsharing.com