This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the heart of Ferenc Visky (Mr. Visky and his wife, both Romanian, write in a moving way about their life with the Lord despite heavy persecution), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
...he was taken up before their very eyes... (Acts 1:9)
...and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)
A few years ago, at the time of my enforced emeritus status, I was summoned by the Securitatè once more. I had 'sinned' against the state again. One of the interrogations happened to take place on Ascension Day. In the course of the cross-examination, this Christian holiday came up. The one who interrogated me had no idea as to the meaning of this day. He thought it was some kind of ceremonial hocus-pocus.
Unexpectedly, he was listening to what I said about this: 'Christ went to heaven to raise us above all misery and suffering that happens to us on earth and also to give us victory. He never promised to spare us suffering, fear, disease and death, but that He would raise us above it. These things do not control us, but through Christ, we control them. I am in the terrifying Securitatè building now, but I am here with Jesus and He is more powerful than anyone. It not only makes the interrogation bearable, but even a blessing. I live in a heavenly perspective here and anywhere. How small the Himalayas are when you look at it from above...' (a Chinese saying). My interrogator treated me humanely and tried to save me. I experienced a bit of heaven at the Securitatè, in the presence of Jesus.
Do not deny your troubles, but allow Jesus to raise you above them. You can have a glorious life while you are still on earth.
A moment of introspection: No, I am not talking about "new age" soul travel or an out-of-the-body experience. I am writing, aware of the presence of Jesus Christ--that same experience so aptly described by Ferenc Visky, above; he wrote that Christ went to heaven to raise us above all misery and suffering that happens to us on earth, and also to give us victory. Genesis 50:20 affirms, in our case, that what man has intended as evil toward us, God may redeem and bring us through, victoriously. Christ comes to be with us, to be Emmanuel, in our suffering, our fear, our diseases and death. There is a good song, whose lyrics say,
I Must Tell Jesus All of My Problems
VerseI must tell Jesus all of my trials;I cannot bear these burdens alone;In my distress He kindly will help me;He ever loves and cares for His own.
RefrainI must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!I cannot bear my burdens alone;I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
VerseI must tell Jesus all of my troubles;He is a kind, compassionate friend;If I but ask Him, He will deliver,Make of my troubles quickly an end.
God's word says that we are not to have anxiety about anything. In prayer, rather, we must tell Jesus all of our problems (Philippians 4:6-7 -  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.) Through Jesus, we have an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1): One who up-holds us in fearful times (Isaiah 41:10). In times like those described by our Romanian writer, we need a Savior, to carry us, to raise us up above the misery and suffering. A duo calling themselves "Secret Garden" originally composed a song included as a contemporary worship song in some churches, entitled "You Raise Me Up". Two stanzas of that song help to illuminate the gift of Christ in difficult situations such as suffering, fear, disease, and death. These stanzas appear, below:
You Raise Me UpWhen I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;When troubles come and my heart burdened be;Then I am still and wait here in the silence,Until you come and sit awhile with me. You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;I am strong when I am on your shoulders;You raise me up to more than I can be.
King David described the misery and suffering that happens to us on earth, when he wrote Psalm 40. Verses 1-4a summarize Christ's coming and our waiting. We do wait patiently, prayerfully, hopefully and confidently for His presence, even as King David said, "I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust..." As Christ said, He has "overcome the world." (John 16:33) We know that tribulation and suffering will come, yet our trust is in the Lord who has overcome the oppression of the world. We wait patiently, prayerfully, hopefully and confidently for Him to raise us up to sit with Him in the heavenlies. Through Christ, we control our own suffering as we maintain a heavenly perspective on the "suffering, fear, disease and death" in our lives. May we be found faithful until He comes again, with steadfast purpose (Acts 11:23) serving God, and allowing Christ to raise us up above the pain and suffering we might face along the way.