Friday, October 8, 2010

At the Pool of Sent

The story of Jesus healing the blind man in John chapter 9 has some special significance to me. It is the story God used to confirm in my heart that He has called me to seminary. I am a firm believer that we are all called to live a lifestyle of ministry wherever we are at. Ministry is a natural overflow of the Holy Spirit living in us. That is why I cannot say with any complete certainty at this point that God has called me into vocational ministry. I can only say that His desire for my future is to go to seminary and immerse myself in the study of His word so that I might be fully equipped for whatever He leads me to. I was blind, but Christ made me see. I was bound in chains, but He set me free. I was mute, but He gave me a song to sing. And now we are on an incredible journey... a journey of sanctification and transformation from glory to glory. Falling at His feet in worship, dedicating my life to following and serving Him seems the only response.

Something that has particularly begun to strike me recently is this idea that my affliction, my moments of darkness, my days in the pit, these all become the conduit through which God's work flows into and through my life. These are all places where Christ meets me and touches me and heals me and teaches me and transforms me. And as painful as those times might be, I actually look back on them, not just with a sense of peace, but an honest joy! I can actually be thankful for the pits and the moments I fall, because they provide opportunity to build a deeper intimacy with my Savior and Redeemer. In the wilderness, I am refined so that I can reflect the full glory of God as I go about my daily life.

Here is where I stand: I believe sorrow and suffering in our lives is not accidental and that our afflictions are actually predestined. The pits and our pitfalls along the journey do not surprise God, but rather are a part of His plan to meet us and refine us. That is what the blind man washing in the pool of Saloam (which means Sent) means to me. It's not the pool of "sending" or "going to send" or "might send." It is the pool of SENT. It's predestined. Our pain, the cancer, the self injury, the divorce, the sexual abuse, the depression, the addiction, the insecurity, the intense season of doubt, the fear, the anxiety, the unplanned pregnancy... none of it is without purpose. Even before we knew Christ, we were chosen, Sent to one day go and proclaim His power and grace and goodness. We face affliction so that Christ can have the victory and set us free. Though we know not when, I believe it will happen, and we will rejoice over the pain we once faced. That, my dear friends, is HOPE.

Bound to be set free,

At the Pool of Sent

There was a time
When I was blind
And I never knew why.
Who sinned?
And what was the sin
That had denied me my vision?

And I was fine.
I learned to get by.
The darkness hid the tears I'd cry
On my knees as I wrestled
With that unvoiced question:

Then one Sabbath
I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin
And I heard them
A group of men
Asking my question.
"Who sinned
To cause this man's affliction?"
And I prepared for an answer
To reinforce the condemnation.
But instead
The Man said,
"No one."

And in response to our surprise,
He replied,
"This man lacks his sight
So that all might
See the glory of God's work in his life."
Then I felt His hands
Placing mud upon my eyes.
I'll never forget
When He said,
"Go now, and wash in the Pool of Sent."
Only later did I realize
What He really meant
To say.

That my affliction
Had been predestined.
I had been chosen
To meet the Son of God
And experience His touch
Right there in the pit.
Before I even knew Him
I was Sent
To proclaim His faithfulness,
His power, and His goodness.
This pain
Which no one could explain
A conduit
Of God's grace
And glory.
It has shaped me,
The day I could finally see
The Man who stood before me,
And I believed.
Now I live
To worship at His feet.
That all might see
God's work displayed in me.
The fight was for His victory.
I was bound so He could set me free.
My suffering,
The stage for Glory.

Stephanie M. Frakes
(October 8, 2010)

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