This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of "Consecrated in the Chaos." I remember writing this chapter as I pieced together the words. There was something about writing this story on paper even though I had shared it a thousand times. I hope you enjoy...
"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NIV
"You are blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you." Matthew 5:4 TPT
There was a little boy at the age of 4 or 5 who had been molested by a family member repeatedly. He spent the first part of his life medicating from the pain of those experiences with drugs, alcohol, and other sexual encounters. He spent the next part of His life in ministry healing others somehow hoping that the God of heaven, would heal him. After 33 years of bondage, broken relationships, so much loss, and so much pain on the inside, he came to the end of his ministry, his marriage, and himself. It seemed he had lost his family and all the other promises of God. Life itself was in shambles and the destruction was devastating. I (yes, the story is about my life) truly was broken. I spent many hours contemplating all the regret of my life as I cried, wept, and truly mourned for the first time. I had never found true comfort before in this area of my life. It was in that moment, broken in the arms of my Heavenly Father, my dad, that I was experiencing comfort, real comfort. It was then that I began to find the pathway to true healing, right in my Father's embrace. I could not have had the experience of my Father's arms around me until I came to Him to experience His arms around me. I know it sounds funny but isn't it true?
Ask Him, Seek Him, and Knock...
It is such a simple idea that challenges the pride of man. I can experience a full and rich history with God, but I can only have it if I go to Him to experience a full and rich history with God. Jesus put it in such profound and simple words,
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened". Matthew 7:7, 8 NIV
This scripture emphatically tells us that if we ask, it will be given to us. But this really does challenge our belief system. It tests our trust in the word of God. Do we believe it? Would you die for these words because YOU know they are the word of God? Would I be willing to watch my family martyred for the words Jesus said in Matthew 7? I think most people today would tend to say this is not a scripture worth dying over, and there are many others with so much more value. But I think, as seen many times throughout history, the scriptures that have caused the most confusion and division usually are the ones we must seek to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. He longs to teach us everything! And be careful not to use the excuse or exempt yourself by saying, "More spiritual men than I cannot agree on the meaning, so I just stay away from it". That is the point I am making: it's the point of Matthew 7:7-8 and the issue of living out Matthew 5:4. Ask, seek, and knock. Everyone who asks receives. Everyone who knocks the door is open to. Everyone! Do we believe this emphatically? I used to say I believed this scripture, but I never could figure out the discrepancy between "my unanswered prayers" and "God's faithful word". I rested somewhere between, "I'm fallen man" and "God is perfect and Holy" so, maybe one day in eternity I would see the truth of this passage. What disillusionment! What cowardice! Why didn't I press in? Why wouldn't I knock until? Why didn't I receive? I quit asking, believing, hoping, trusting, and leaning. Oh Jesus forgive me my lack of understanding of who you are!
This passage is a promise for NOW, RIGHT NOW! It is a covenant made between God and man! Yet we are so prideful, vain, and self-centered that the only way we relate to this scripture is in a self-centric view. Jesus is the center of all things, and when we place ourselves into His existence and purpose then we can understand how to remain in the covenant of Matthew 7. We will talk more about that in the next chapter. Every follower of Jesus Christ has been given an invitation for today to ask and receive, to seek Him and find Him, and to knock and have the doors opened to us. Yet so many live a lifetime without ever even scratching the surface of God's heart. It is unfathomable because in Jesus' divine nature, He made it simple. It is a pearl hidden in the humility of just asking!
The truth for most of us in the body of Christ today is NOT that we do not know the scripture, but rather, we have chosen NOT to believe what Jesus says. It is easier to displace our theology than to place hope in the King of all Kings. Do you know the test of a heart that is no longer asking or hoping in God or the signs of a heart offended with God? Boredom, let down, confusion, separation, and frustration with unanswered questions are all signs of a heart that no longer is asking God for help. Maybe your response is the same as mine, defensive. You see my first response usually would be along the lines of, “I have spent my whole life asking God for things, you do not know what is going on in my heart". Defensiveness is the self-preservation of an offended heart. It is our nature to defend our stance, but it is not what we were made to do. Openness, oneness, and companionship is what God intended for us. Yet just like Adam in the garden, we spend more energy hiding, experiencing shame, and harboring guilt rather than merely asking, seeking, and knocking. I write from experience, I have been in the canyon of disbelief, agreeing with God's word but not believing it. You see Jesus says,
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened". (Matthew 7:7, 8 NIV)
I can honestly say I have heard this scripture preached in so many unbiblical ways that it is sickening to my heart. Many people today hear this scripture, and it conjures the thoughts, "I tried that before" or "You can't just ask God and He will answer". As I reminisce about the things we have been told we can apply this to, or not apply this to, I am saddened. The crazy thing is that none of the prosperity, people, things, or bigger influence will ever have lasting longevity, yet it is still what humanity seeks after. The truth is, it is so basic, so elementary that there has been an assault on the words of Christ in this passage and others like it. There is an invitation Jesus offers us first. Then, if we choose to accept, the invitation becomes a promise. So, what is the invitation? Ask, seek, and knock. Dialogue with the King, seek the Holy Spirit, and knock at the Father's door. You will receive, be given to, and find an open door. Anybody looking for an open door to the God of heaven and earth? Anyone need access to the throne room of Jesus our King? It is available right this second. Ask, right now, seek, and knock. There are so many things that we say we talk to God about, but then we never even actually ask Him His thoughts, what He would do, or how He would do it. Millions talk about talking to God but then never talk to Him. I have learned today to just ask! When I need help, when I do not understand, when I am afraid, when I have a hard day; there is a grace to ask for help. Yet even with God's promise, this is still the last thing so many believers do: ask! He WILL answer. It is a life of asking, seeking, and knocking that produces an eternity of wisdom, open passages, and secret doorways. There is no boredom here: only an abundant life full in following a loving, living God.
If our hearts become so dependent on ourselves that we stop asking, seeking, or knocking, then it becomes impossible to mourn before a God who seems so distant and uninvolved in our lives. Jesus spoke the beatitudes in Matthew 5 and then explained the heart behind what he meant in the rest of chapter 5, 6, and 7. He was like an artist painting a picture on a canvas and then filling it in with all its colors and fine details making up the beauty of this masterpiece. Our Father in heaven is a good Father and will comfort us as we bring our hearts, our thoughts, and our emotions before Him. This is prayer. Prayer actually means having conversation with God. Yet it is so easy to not talk to Him. It is so vital in this global movement of prayer that we actually pray! In our society today, it is difficult to grab hold of the idea of longevity and loyalty in the midst of deep heartache and pain. Our goal as a culture can be seen in our ability to medicate and numb our spirits so that we can easily swallow the lie Satan feeds. What is the lie? He wants you to believe that God does not see you, know you, or much less love you. We have to come to Him in our heartache and talk to Him, listen to Him speak, do what He says, loving Him with our whole hearts. It is in this abiding and beholding Jesus through the brokenness that we can be confident of His affections for us and His deep love. As we enjoy the love of God in the midst of pain, He gives us confidence to put all our strength and hope on the strong shoulders of Jesus. This is the beauty of God: the little boy or girl that had been broken or shattered into pieces, is a pure, whole, faithful son or daughter of the Most Holy God through the blood of Christ.
Our Experience in Brokenness
So many of us share in these stories of encounters with God that define our history in the Lord. I have come to experience Jesus in a way that I had not before because of these experiences (the experiences I share in the book 😀). I still weep at times over the pain of the past, but I have come to understand that it is because of this wound, and many others, that I have seen the goodness of the Lord. I can say in confidence that my Father in heaven is good, and His loving kindness never fails. It is through tears, weeping, and pain that I have come to recognize the true distance between my deprived and broken heart and the chasm of fullness and freedom that is in my Heavenly Father. As my heart longs for "home" with Him, it is the space, the waiting, the longing, the wilderness of my soul that He sees and loves. It is how we live through our encounters that matter. How I have lived through the seasons of healing, the wilderness of my soul, God has used to place in me an overcoming spirit. Hebrews 12:2-3 is a life verse for me:
"Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up" Hebrews 12:2-3.
In most situations throughout my life, I tend to see things as a chance to overcome, persevere, and an opportunity to produce Godly character in my heart. These are the opportunities to allow His love to abound in me (Col. 1:9-11). It is not easy or convenient, but I "run with the great cloud of witnesses" in my heart’s view (Hebrews 12:1-2). Through just a few years of meditation on this scripture, the Holy Spirit has kept three words on my heart from this passage. These three important words are "cloud of witnesses". It is the ancient warriors of the past that we are building upon as they await an ongoing reward waiting to be collected. It is a type of residual if you will. It is their ancient past as well as our glorious future that entwines us as true family. I try to remember they watch awaiting for "our race" to be run with endurance, as to win, so that we all can receive the fullness of our reward. This is part of my motivation to overcome. We are not alone! We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
I used to read this scripture and think, "Cassidy, get it together! The mighty men of heaven are watching, expecting you to win." The expectation was always met with the harsh reality that I believed I could not win and would always fail in the eyes of my forefathers. Every time I would sin, I would think, "What a disappointment I must be". Today, as I continue to gaze into the beauty and fear of the Lord, I have caught a glimpse of the deep burning love and zeal my Heavenly Father has for me, as well as the great witnesses of the faith. They are not "booing" my performance, they are cheering me on. Standing, screaming, exhilarated, excited, hopeful, and determined that I can endure and win! Then there is the intense meaning of the rest of the scripture.
...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
Fixing my eyes on Jesus. This is the key; I believe more today than ever before. FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS! Every open door, hall, chamber waiting to be opened, the garden of our hearts, and the heart of our God all can be accessed easily as we merely fix our eyes on Jesus. My dad, Director and Pastor at Mosaic House of Prayer, says this great statement that applies here, "It's so simple, but it's not easy". Focus my gaze, my life, my desires, my questions on Jesus, and I have unlimited access to the will and heart of God! When we behold Him, we gaze upon Him, and we begin to see Him for who He really is and how He really feels, we become like Him. It is an amazing principle. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He has His eyes also fixed on you. Consider who He is, what He has done, and what He will do. Why? So we do not grow weary and lose heart. Lose heart in what?
Maybe the answer is connected back to Matthew 5:4 more than we know. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted". You see, we cannot win on our own. We are running a race that we do not even qualify for without Jesus. I am ill equipped, unprepared, and definitely not talented enough. Jesus endured the cross so we could experience the fullness of His death, resurrection, ascension, and His reigning at the right hand of the Father. He never intended for us to run without depending on Him, leaning on Him. It is Jesus that gives us the grace as we partner with Him, and we just put one foot in front of the other. We find Him as we are able to confess and repent of our independence, self-reliance, and every form of pride that keeps us resistant to the heart of God. As the circumstances of life come, we must not grow weary or lose heart. We have to continually ask for His help, crying out to Him, grieving over the loss of ourselves, and fixing our eyes on Him alone and not ourselves, the race, or the obstacles in the race.
With this thread of revelation in my spirit, I write from my own brokenness and Christ's strength. I tend to see life's circumstances, trials, and hardships as seasons that are for good. I see these testings and trials as seasons of preparation for a harvest of the fullness of the nature and character of God to come forth. As I write the words on this paper, only God knows the true extent of the sufferings and successes of my heart. I have not mastered these revelations. I am merely a sojourner after oil, seeking to acquire true intimacy with Jesus until I abide with Him face to face.