AS I SAW IT – COL. 2:6-7

Copyright Joel Helenbolt

When you look at the drawing in my last post, you might wonder what it has to do with Colossians 2:6-7. A dead tree with something coming out of it, by a lake in a forest, with a partly cloudy sky? What does that have to do with following Christ? Let me tell you.

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”       -Colossians 2:6-7

I actually came up with a lot of ideas of how I wanted to draw this verse, and I’m not talented enough to draw some of my ideas, but they all involved a tree interacting with water, to coincide with verse 7, telling us to let our “roots grow down into Him,” and promising us that if we allow that to happen, we will “overflow with thankfulness.”

Notice the spring emerging from the center of the tree, and this one spring creating a lake thousands of times greater than that spring. This is to show the unimaginable blessings of Christ. He has the ability to bless us, and satisfy us, to levels we’ve never imagined – He is able to create a lake out of the tiny spring overflowing from our lives. But first we must die to sin, as this tree appears to be dead, and live in Christ, as stated in Romans 6:11 (as well as many other places):

“So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”

The overarching theme of this drawing is as a Christian, you must be all in, letting your “roots grow down into Him,” and once you do that, He can create a spring of blessings through you, using you in ways you’d never imagined. (I, for example, never thought I’d be a writer!) You may be seen as a worthless, dead stump to the rest of the world, yet through your death can come new life, and the blessings of living faithfully.

But take note – Christianity doesn’t have a wading pool. You can’t be half in, continuing to live as you please as long as you go to church on Sunday and pray every so often. Christianity is a cliff jump. You’re either all in,despite the unseen in the water below you, or you’re sitting at the top of the cliff, afraid to take the risk of losing yourself in the plunge.

AS I SEE IT – COLOSSIANS 2:6-7

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”       -Colossians 2:6-7

Colossians 2:6-7 Copyright Joel Helenbolt

DAY 6 – FORGETTING OUR PREDICTIONS

I get awakened at 6:00 am. Megan and Elizabeth are praying for a waiter they met. I pray for him with the Word of God.

I put some music on, shut my eyes, and begin to pray and meditate on the LORD. As I relax I get a picture or image that I can faintly see – it’s a picture of a starry night sky. I start weeping again, as I hear the Father’s excitement as He creates the heavens and the Earth for man’s pleasure. Images of nature continue to flash through my mind and there’s Jesus excited to show His creation to mankind. The tragedy is that man appreciates, but is never satisfied. I feel the Father’s heart grieved that man instead finds pleasure in things that are defiled and detestable. I weep and cry out to the Father, saying His creation is enough for me!

9:00 a.m. and I pray with Nathan and Jonathan. Most of our prayers are proclamations and requests on the Word of God and I feel that’s the strongest type. We ask for boldness and repent of doubt. I love prayer meetings that are led by the Spirit! It’s good to praise His holy name together!

I go out refreshed and as I go through the day I realize that the reality I fall upon is the one I’ve been living the last six days. The one fully intending to obey God till the end, it’s as if that reality has been set as my default. I’m glad and never want to turn back.

I go to Simon’s talk at the Tusmore Church at 2pm.  He’s brilliant; full of life. Near the end we split off into small groups and I ask if I could have 10 minutes to share tomorrow morning.

Joel R. seems immediately concerned. Simon is approving but Joel wants me to run it through our pastor Steve. I slap myself as I’ve totally forgot to seek the approval of my elders and authorities, as I had planned to do before I came.

After the talk Pastor, Simon and I chat about tomorrow. I earnestly desire nothing more than to obey God and this means submitting to authority. I ask Steve not to say yes out of a sense of obligation, but he already knows that I am convinced that God’s will be done, regardless of what that looks like.

Out in the hall I realize that the old me would have been severely discouraged, believing that His plans were crumbling at the seams. Talking to Allie she gives me a letter for you Patrick and in my mind and heart I am completely at peace.

When I’m home I laugh as I see the situation from an eternal perspective regardless of the response. Yes or no God’s will is not hindered. At this point I feel as if it will be a yes.

6:00 p.m. and a heavy tiredness comes over me. I head to bed and fall asleep meditating on the LORD, and am awakened at 7:00 for dinner. I am unspeakably drowsy. I check my email and Joel has the verdict. Both he and Pastor Steve feel it is inappropriate for me to speak tomorrow. I blink at the email and feel absolutely no anger, remorse, despair, none of that.

My belief remains unshaken and I’m excited as to how God will accomplish His will in the following days.

I feel a tug on my heart to drive to Tusmore Church and seek the LORD there. I get there at 7:40 and walk around in the chilly night until I step outside the front sign.

“Where you belong.”

I stare at the sign and disagree. ‘Where I Belong’ by Switchfoot blares on my earphones as I look up to the crescent moon.

The night is beautiful and I feel like the only one on Earth. As I stare into the moon I know in my very core this place is not my home – I don’t belong to this Earth. I’ll never belong anywhere until Jesus takes me home.

I feel drawn to the park and I begin to make my way into the darkness. I wish the streetlights were off so I could see the stars better. I trudge through Tusmore and I feel Jesus meet me near the bridge. I say hi and I look across the creek to a wide open field.

I make my way to the center of the field, take my jacket off and lay on it as I look up to the beautiful night. I soon realize that the scene is what I saw that morning. God asks me if I like it.

“It‘s beautiful,” I reply.

As I stare into the wide expanse and wonder how high up the heavens are God teaches me a few things. Walking with God is like being washed downstream by a current. My plans are irrelevant; the current goes where it will, the destination is certain, but the road is not.

As Soren Kierkegaard says, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

God’s plans for your life and mine have not all of a sudden changed Patrick; God doesn’t change. It’s up to me now to adjust and make sure I realign myself with where God is going. We’ll get there – have faith.

I thank God for the amazing show He put on for me and head home. I feel a new directive in my heart as I get home for this journal.

I’m not sure what the focus was before, but I believe these letters need to show you the journey with God. The relationship that we are called to have with the Living God. I hope when you or people read these letters they see through me, you, and circumstances to see God. This must be the focus of everything and it will be for my letters moving forward.

Patrick, all that God wants is obedience and that is what I am to do every day. At this moment obedience for me is keeping silent tomorrow. Have faith! God remains faithful, merciful, gracious, and just. Always be adjusting.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

First off, sorry this one took so long! It was finals week this last week, and I had to make sure I’d graduate! Hopefully I’ll keep a bit more consistent from here on out!

On to Day 6!

The main characteristic I noticed in this post is the maturity growing within Terence as he goes through this journey where he has to put all his trust in Christ alone. The early posts, it’s quite evident that Terence believes he knows exactly what God is going to do with his relationship with Patrick, and he seems as if he can’t wait to get the credit for it, excited and expecting God to pat him on the back.

Now we see a new Terence.

Terence as of Day 6 isn’t worried of what will come next in his obedience to Christ; he is simply living life obediently to Christ! I thought this was most easily seen in Terence’s reaction to the news he wouldn’t be sharing at church as he was hoping. Terence now realizes that God is in control, and will guide him and Patrick to the place they need to be led. Terence has forgotten his own agenda, and embraced the unknown agenda of the LORD!

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

This quote really cuts to the core of human nature. We will always be creatures who are trying to predict our next step, hoping God will confirm our prediction. Pretty quickly, however, we learn that we have no idea what we’re doing. God quickly gives us an unexpected turn. And another, and another, and eventually we are clueless as to how we arrived at our current situation.

And in our confusion, we look back.

We look back and see the beautiful trail left by following God’s unexpected turns along the path towards His will. We look back and think, “Wow. If I hadn’t done this one, seemingly insignificant thing in my life, I’d be a completely different person right now.”

When you reach the point of looking back, praise God and admire the trail He created! Praise Him that He is the potter and we are only the clay! The creator of the Universe loves us enough to guide us to exactly the place He planned for us! If that isn’t love, I’ll never understand what is.

Thank God we are terrible psychics!

Joel