Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

In Other Words. . . Pressed Into His Skin

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 09 September 2008

“For at least when we express our anger to God, our wrestling keeps our skin pressing into His. God is still present. When we honestly expose our inflammation, express our soreness, we are still staking our commitment to our relationship with Him.”
- Ann Voscamp, Holy Experience

Ann vividly illustrates
a thought that prompts the image of physical closeness with God. I like it. It’s a beautiful and intimate picture to hold on to when we are wrestling with soreness and anger. But the idea should also cause us to reflect on more than the human notion of physical feelings of closeness . . .

Hebrews Chapter 11 records the extraordinary feats of faith achieved by a number of Old Testament saints. These Old Testament saints pressed their skin into God’s, as Ann so vividly illustrates.

These were people who had to struggle. And their soreness and anger was without doubt expressed to God. Who else?! Their negative feelings were not expressed in the same way our culture has learned to “express” its upsetting and perplexing feelings. Sarah’s anger at Hagar was certainly not shared and re-shared and analyzed over coffee in weekly support groups meeting in tents. I just don’t think the Egyptian health care system covered these kind of mental health issues. No. These saints pressed into God as they wrested with their anger. And because they stayed with God, -- expressed both anger and commitment to Him -- their blessings were absolute, perfect and abundant.

Look at Noah.
Look at Abraham.
Look at Sarah.
Look at Jacob.
Look at Joseph.
Look at Moses.
Look at Gideon, Deborah, Barak (No, not that one. Definitely not that one. See Judges 4-5), Samson, Jepthah, David, Samuel, Hosea, Job . . .

The Bible is so full of examples of people whose wresting and inflammation and sadness and soreness kept their skin pressed into God’s – this is the essence of commitment. They accurately and factually staked their commitment to their relationship with the Living God!

According to Hebrews 12:1, there are so many that they are literally lying all around us.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. . . .
- Hebrews 12:11a

Why do you suppose the writer of Hebrews phrased it like that?

In context with the last half of the verse, it because we are suppose to learn from them, gain knowledge from their experience, follow their example, know that there is a huge number of “never-give-up” believers and that we are not alone.

“. . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
- Hebrews 12:1b

Can we compare our hardships and challenges and obstacles to theirs? Maybe. Maybe not. We face conflicts today – some huge and humanly insurmountable – some smaller but no less painful and agonizing. But, like these Bible-saints, we too can press into God until His plan is accomplished.

". . .our wrestling keeps our skin pressing into His. God is still present." What a beautiful and intimate picture to hold onto. Are you close enough to feel His skin? Can you sense His nearness?
- Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
and visit Ann at Holy Experience


Karen said...

"We can press into God until His plan is accomplished." I like that thought, it is so true. Thanks for sharing today.

Rachel said...

Spoken like a true Christian counselor!

When will people realize that the answers to their problems don't lie in man-made theories but the everlasting Word of God?

Excellent, excellent post!

Michelle Bentham said...

What a beautiful post. "Are you close enough to feel His skin?"

Love that. There is a song, "The More I Seek You" that your post reminds me of.... "I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand. Lay back against you and breathe, feel your heartbeat... This love is so deep its more than I can stand, I melt in your peace its overwhelming..."

I love that song, and am reminded by your precious words that the pressing in is its own reward.


Carol said...

Thanks for your sweet and heartfelt comment at The Cafe! ~Carol

Denise said...

Such wisdom, bless you.

Patricia@Typing One-Handed said...

"we too can press into God until His plan is accomplished."

How else can we live? I wish it was so easy to express to those with hearts hardened by the world. I want to cry for them when I think of how lonely an existence without God must be.

Ava Semerau said...

Sorry I'm just now getting around to reading this week's IOW - inlaws are in from the States and I've been the entertainment committee!

You have inspired me to re-read Hebrews in the context of this quote. Thanks for sharing the blessings.


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