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What then?

“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18)

What then?  Hmmmmmmm….

What then?

Paul, I do not think I can answer such a simple question.

But my pulse is rising and my eyes are welling up,

because your humanity, your hunger, your imprisonment, your joy demands that I give an answer!

I’m nervous, Paul.  I don’t want to pretend!  I don’t want your suffering to be a myth or fable. I don’t want you to be less human. Or….

What then?    What can I say?

Paul I have never been treated like you…

“We are afflicted in every way…” (1Cor 4:8)

Much less have I had the need to answer your question in circumstances such as yours.

“…I have learned the secret…” (Php 4:12)

Sigh.

Paul, I have no idea what it means to be you, yet you are the embodiment of a disciple.

“…be imitators of me.” (1Cor 4:16)

You are my possibility.

You are my potential.

You are my judgment.

What then?   What then!?!

Paul you are really asking “Who are you?!?”

I’m a ………

I’m…….

I …

I’m not sure.

I’m one person living with two identities.  I lay claim to my birthright as a son of God.  But I’m Esau, a soup lover.

“that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau,

who sold his birthright for

a single meal.”

(Heb 12:16)

O God I suffer from the most acute form of schizophrenia! Your life, Paul, is reality.

Oh Paul!  I live in a fantasy and delusion!  I don’t want the correction of God!  I don’t want the learning!  I want………………………..I wan’t to cry.

I just want to cry.

I get so comfortable.  I justify every last bit of it.  I am in control.  I buy.  I consume.  I plan.  I budget.  I predict.  I arrange.  I complain.  I criticize.

And there you are my model…my objective…my identity…

sitting there…imprisoned..

and all you can think about in the dark, in the cold, in the stench, in solitude, in death is…

“Is Christ being proclaimed?”

“Is Christ being proclaimed?”

“Is Christ being proclaimed?”

“Is Christ being proclaimed?”

You embarrass me.

Thank you.

God for Jesus’ sake work mightily in me to will and act according to your good pleasure.

Be pleased God to make me less an intimation and more an imitation.