Saturday 3 August 2013

Yes I Am 27 - A Woman and a Man Tell It

Yes I Am by Norman Grubb
Chapter 27

Here are two letters which show the same thing. They show the difference which realizing who we are makes in our thinking and acting. They make it plain that even committed, consecrated servants of Christ may be living with a conscious inner gap between themselves and Him. When the storm blows, that Christian finds himself at one end of the boat sinking, while Christ is asleep at the other - and he has to call on Him to awake and save him! What a difference when the Christian realizes that there is no difference - that Christ is on the boat in him, as him - and when the sea gets rough, he rebukes the storm as He.

The first letter comes from a friend of many years, Cally Gordon, now a widow with her five children in their early twenties and upward. She has been involved in the Lord’s work for many years, and we’ve had many meetings and conversations together. She was with us in our Wisconsin Conference, and then in the home of Dr. John and Linda Bunting, in Louisville, Kentucky, which is really a family home to us in our Union Life fellowship, and where a number of us gather for our annual family fellowship. She writes:

To say the least, my time with you all meant a transformation in my thoughts. Suddenly everything I had read, heard and talked with you about in the past twenty years seemed to "jell" and becomes a reality. It became me! It was almost like a miracle! And ever since, I’ve experienced something within - which for so many years was more intermittent, but which now has become continuous, and which also has become a definite part of my consciousness - or really, which has become me. It’s like a long voyage (learning is), and finally arriving at my destination. So in actuality (slowly arriving after all these years) the new "me" is really Christ as me. I know it, I live it, and it’s a reality not just occasionally or after "down times," but all the time.

During these twenty-odd years, by talks, letters, et cetera, something real was actually transpiring in a tangible way, a new or increased consciousness was becoming me. But going to the Union Life Conference Center in Wisconsin (before going on to the Louisville conference) was God’s way for me to finally emerge from my cocoon and into the miracle of knowing who He is and who I am (that knowing within the deepest part of me); and the fetters of concern or worry of what is happening and why - the hurts of life, etc., which come to all of us - all began to fall off. I know the hurts will come, but I know what to do with them. (I knew before, but somehow there was a block somewhere in me which allowed them to remain in me, even though as a shadow.)

So now I live in the center of me. I live from the real me, and not in the appearance of things which come and go. I cannot convey to you (or can I?) the true sheer joy of arriving home, finding in truth and in reality Him as me. In the past, the knowledge in my head was frequently forgotten for a time, with the illusion that all the painful experiences were the reality. Even though I’d try not to believe this, nevertheless the pains of the hurts caused me, for a moment, to forget that knowledge. I had learned about Reality v. illusion. Apparently God has a time for all of us to know, to reach that destination within our being where it’s not only settled, but there is nothing else but Him to us. Everything now is God. (Of course it always was, but I concentrated on appearances too much.) Circumstances, events, people, actions, everything is He, and my spirit is quiet and one with Him, and that is fixed, not only in my saying it, but because I honestly know it.

What a glorious life it really is, to finally arrive home in Him - that’s where I live now, and it works! So many years of struggle and pain, but that was God’s way for me and it was good. I now live in that center. The wind, rain and storms may come and probably will - but I’m not the old me who will be blown about with the pain of them, because I’m fixed forever.

I just had to ramble on, as I knew that you would want to know that these days clinched it all for me. God’s time - for me - for that miracle of all miracles, the Knowledge, the Knowing, the Reality (Is there any way to aptly describe it?), the glorious Constant Consciousness of that mystery "Jesus as me." What a relief. I’ve come to Rest!

The second letter is from a stockbroker, Robert Chamberlain. He writes:

On February 20, 1973, at the age of 21, I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart. Twelve days later, in a charismatic church, I indicated my desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So I was taken to the prayer room along with a few others and we all received instructions about how to "receive." Shortly after several people had laid their hands on me and began praying, I experienced what charismatics frequently label as "the baptism with signs accompanying."

Two years later, in January 1975, I was involved in the biggest decision of my life. At this point I recognized that up to that time in my life I had not experienced what Norman Grubb refers to as the "second crisis." But I was unfamiliar with his books at that time. I merely knew before that I did not do God’s will, but now I realized that I could not do God’s will. What a predicament! I prayed. I read. I searched for an answer.

During this time I read about such men of God as Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, Hudson Taylor, John Hyde, Rees Howells, and many more. I noticed that most of them spoke of an experience with God, apart from salvation, that drastically changed their lives. After they were saved - after they had done works for God such as starting missions, churches, schools, etc. - after all these things - something happened. They met God in a new way. They called it by various names, but they seemed to share a common experience. This is what I needed. This is what I sought - a deeper experience with God which would radically transform my life to be able to perform that impossible task which was set before me.

In my searching, I came across Norman Grubb’s book The Spontaneous You, and was greatly blessed. I discovered that Norman had a more recent book entitled Who Am I?, so I bought a copy and read it and underlined it, and read it again and again. I knew that this man had what I wanted, and he was trying to share it with me. I prayed the prayer that he recommended about acknowledging "Christ in me," but nothing happened. Still I persisted. I read more of his books and the books of others, mostly biographies of men of God. My hunger increased, and my yearning grew more intense. When would God answer my cry?

I began to have serious doubts about God and about myself. I came dangerously close to turning my back on God, my wife, everything. If God was real, why wouldn’t He answer my cry? If He wasn’t real, I wasn’t going to waste my life "playing church." I was really getting desperate.

On the evening of November 8, 1978, a Wednesday, I was troubled, as usual. I went into my study and shut the door behind me. I talked to God. I don’t remember what I said. I flipped through a few books I had on my shelf about men of God. I read Dwight Moody’s account of his "baptism in the Holy Spirit" again. I read Hudson Taylor’s account of his experience with God after he had been a missionary for many years. I read the book of Romans. In the fourth chapter of Romans I came across the story of Abraham. The following excerpts seemed to come alive to me.

As Paul wrote in Romans 4:3-13 (NIV): "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness... To the man who... trusts God,... his faith is credited as righteousness… Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised." Then Paul continued: "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith."

God had given Abraham a promise, I saw. By all human means, it would be impossible for Abraham to ever obtain that promise. Yet, Abraham believed. He didn’t understand. He just believed. And because he believed what God had said - even though the thing was impossible - he was righteous. He walked in the truth that God had declared. He assumed the role of the "Father of many nations" even though it was impossible for him and his wife to have a son.

Because Abraham believed God and walked in the truth, he was righteous. Did he feel righteous? Had he any outward signs of being righteous? I think not. He received circumcision much later. The inward reality existed long before the outward evidence appeared. But he was righteous as soon as he believed.

God was going to perform this impossible task in me and through me. I didn’t have to do it. God would do it. In fact, it was already done. Right from the beginning, I had always been what "I" couldn’t become. All I do is believe God's Word about me is true and that is pressing the Start button. How God turns the wheels to confirm it is up to His processes. 

God was telling me to believe. The task was impossible for me to perform. But I didn’t have to perform it. I had now come to the point where I could appropriate Galatians 2:20: "It’s Christ that lives in me." God was going to perform this impossible task in me and through me. I didn’t have to do it. God would do it. In fact, it was already done. Right from the beginning, I had always been what "I" couldn’t become. The truth of Galatians 2:20 became real to me. I now saw what Norman and the others came to see. I read on in Romans 4:18-23: "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations… He did not waver through unbelief,… but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."

Now, for the very first time, I could see what it was all about. I called to my wife and shared these things with her. I told her that this was what Norman Grubb had been talking about when he spoke of a second crisis. We reread a portion of Who Am I? - and Norman said that when you come to this point, you say a prayer acknowledging that it is Christ now living in you; not yourself any longer. I asked my wife, "What shall we do?" There was a long silence. I answered my own question, "I think we have to."

She replied, "We really don’t have any choice."

As we realized that Jesus wanted to take over our lives it seemed exciting, except for one fact: in order for Him to live in us, we had to die. That wasn’t so exciting. But we prayed the prayer, one at a time in our own words. I really believed. Before I prayed the prayer I expected that at some time - several years later maybe - I would receive a sign or seal of what God had done. But, immediately upon acknowledging that Christ was in me now, something happened. I received a seal upon my heart. No lightning. No choirs of angels. Nothing had changed. And yet, everything was different. It wasn’t just a profession by faith. Christ in me was me - is me! He was there all the time - I just hadn’t let Him "be" before. At this point I have a hard time trying to explain just what happened. But it happened to my wife, too. Everything is different now for both of us. There is a world of difference between life as we live it now and life as we lived it before.

I had many questions in my mind before this. Questions such as "Who am I? What am I? Who is God? What is life?" and many, many more. Before, these questions haunted me. Now it didn’t matter. What matters now is Christ in me. Everything else is O.K. The problems are still there - maybe more than before. But now it is O.K. Christ is still there too; and He’ll take care or them.

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