Saturday, October 22, 2011

Living in the Kingdom of God (part 1)

Hannah Hurnard, author of Hinds Feet on High Places, is one of my very favorite writers.  A former darling of the Christian community, she was somewhat quietly swept under the rug when it was discovered that she believed that God would save everyone eventually.  "High Places to Heresy" is the type of heading you'll find if you google her nowadays, and the book often referred to as poof she changed from orthodox to "gnostic and even occultic" beliefs later in life is The Inner Man.  (quote from Internet site: "In The Inner Man Hannah weaves together her new age teachings and Scripture with such beguiling skill that she, without debate, proves herself to be a sorceress of the first order. The witch at Endor did not display a fraction of Hannah’s spiritual treachery...How unfortunate that so many Christians are embracing Hannah’s "holiness through suffering" message and are deserting the unique Gospel of complete and free salvation.")  So, if this book made Christians so mad, of course I had to buy it!  I wanted to see for myself if Hannah believed people became animal spirits and other strange things that were claimed that this book taught.

My biggest shock when getting the book (out of print and difficult to buy, but I finally found it) was it was published in 1955.  (same year Hinds Feet was written)  So, any occultic beliefs expressed in this book were the same beliefs she had when she wrote her completely well received and beloved Hinds Feet on High Places.  Not so shockingly, I found nothing in the book offensive in anyway, but deeply spiritual and insightful. (and understandingly frightening for anyone who is uncomfortable thinking about the spiritual realm)  Now that I felt secure that Hannah didn't turn into a witch later in life, I bought several of her "off limits" books.  The one I will be quoting from here is Walking Among the Unseen, from the chapter "How to Live in the Kingdom of God". (a study of the beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-29)

1)"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
To be poor in spirit is to stop ruling ourselves and submit to Jesus.  The poor in spirit humble themselves, considering all they posses to be God's, trusting him to care for all their needs.  This is a life of dependence on God; a life of faith.

2) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted"
It is in times of sorrow and suffering when we call on the Comforter and draw nearer to God.  If we react to difficult situations with trust in God, they are turned into blessings. (trouble teaches us endurance which will bring maturity...James 1:4)  This is the cup of suffering Jesus gladly drank, but if we react to the cup with bitter resentment (the earthly and not heavenly reaction) it poisons the cup and makes it almost impossible to drink.

3) "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth"
Meek= mild, gentle, kind, forbearing.  The heavenly way of dealing with evildoers who wrong us is "resist not evil (with force) but whosoever shall smite thee on they right cheek, turn to him the other also."  It is not a principle which allows evildoers to get away with their ill-gotten gains, but rather of gentle and wise understanding of why they so acted, and willingness to give the right kind of help to them in their need, even if it means loss to ourselves.  And this wisdom and power to help them can only come by practicing meekness. (or humility)

Because this is getting a bit long, I'll finish up the rest of them in my next post.