The Promise of Holy Travail

“To all there is an appointed time,
even a time for every purpose under the heavens…”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Just as there are seasons and appointed times for all things under heaven, so also in the body of Christ on earth there must be times and seasons. Some are the consequences of sin and the chastisement for idolatry, which we bring upon ourselves; others are the fiery trials of the world, through which we must pass from faith to faith. For the belligerent, there is the prolonged wilderness of unbelief from which only the children escape; for the faithful, there is the valley of the shadow of death, with the promised land awaiting those who pass through it by obeying the Lord their Shepherd.

“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved?
I awakened you under the apple tree; there your mother travailed with you;
there she travailed; she bore you.”
(Song of Solomon 8:4)

The delight and joy of new life is born through travail; the knowing of God is the reward of surrender; His wisdom is obtained in admitting to know nothing; the comfort of the Lord is the discovery of the contrite; the friendship of the Lord is the secret of the obedient; the road to pure fellowship is paved with rejection; the love of the Father is found in the hatred of the self-life; and liberty is the victory of His lowliest servants.

These are the marks of the friends of Jesus; those who humble themselves in the fear of the Lord unto the working of His mighty hand, which lifts them up to dwell in the wonder of His glory, “to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.” (Ps 27:4-5)
The wicked for whom there is no peace are those which fall short of such a walk and set their course for the winds of earthly fortune and ease.

For the froward is an abomination to the Lord,
but His secret is with the righteous.
(Proverbs 3:32)

In this day, when that which claims to be of God is clearly profane in the sight of the righteous, and that which is holy and without mixture is scarcely to be found; there still can be no manifestation of the manifold wisdom of God through His body unless all the members of His schismed assembly will accept the healing He offers them – along with its cost to their own carnal desires and agendas.
This is not a day to expect that any of us will partake a functioning body without great repentance and travail on our own part; humility, meekness, surrender to God’s will, and an allowance for the shining of His Light to expose every wicked and unclean thing within ourselves. The old must pass away, the new must be allowed to break forth.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
(John 12:24-26)

It is time for the household of the Lord to come before the Lord in HIS house; it is time for the double-minded to forsake what lays behind them, hoping towards the promised glory, as they by God’s power walk from faith to faith ever more abounding. The body is the expression of Christ Jesus through its members; therefore the state of each of its members affects the whole body, knowingly or unknowingly. The longing for a “glory” which we ourselves can comprehend must be cast out, and it must be replaced with the jealous longing of God Himself in our hearts for that which only HE can comprehend; which He reveals by the Spirit in His word – the piercing, consuming sword of the Spirit of His mouth.

That which has passed through water and overflows up unto Life everlasting must also become a source for rivers of Living Water, flowing outward to testify of that Life. O, for a holy fire to fall, for a purge of the stubble to come quickly! But who will seek every good gift which the Spirit of Life has in store for the equipping of the saints? Who will settle for nothing less than to know the Lord as He desires to be made known? And who now knows the peace which comes from walking humbly in the fear of the Lord?

Let all seek the Lord while He may be found! For He who suffered at our hands to redeem us SHALL see the fruit of the travail of His soul, and He SHALL be fully satisfied (Isa 53:11). So let us make sure that we do not fall short of being found as those fruits of His travail; His Spirit groaning within us also, that the manifold wisdom of God may be revealed through His people.

– Brendan

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