I’m regaining my wits 7 days post-life-saving surgery. I recall lying in a hospital bed gazing at the clock on the wall, my brain stunned with pain, confusion, helplessness. Oh, and anesthesia plus opioids. Yet, somehow, I heard these words cut through the fog, enter my depths and change everything:
“You’re Mine! You’re mine! You’re Mine!”
It’s not the first time I’d heard those words spoken, nor was I the first one they’d been spoken to. God declared them to His people after their Egyptian deliverance when He’d plunked them down in a wilderness place for trust and dependency training.
I’d heard them spoken often when stepping into the morning trek to the milking parlor, gazing toward Montana skies filled with a few billion (God-named) stars. He wasn’t speaking to the stars, He was speaking to me. It grounded me. Gave me an identity anchor.
More recently, I’ve heard them spoken daily on my commute to the factory I now work in. It’s an ancient rhythm so ingrained that, no matter where my thoughts have drifted, when my tires bump across Cow Creek bridge on the border of Idaho’s Latah and Nez Perce counties, I remember to listen for them. It lifts me toward something eternal. It changes everything.
Today I read Psalm 68:28:
“Thy God hath sent forth strength for thee; stablish the thing, O God, that thou hast wrought in us.”
What’s wrought mean? It means to make systematically and habitually. (Reminds me of why I love the word “liturgy” so much.)
Here’s why these words change everything for me. My circumstances aren’t altered. I did nothing to deserve them. They simply come to me. Repeatedly. They declare who I am and to Whom I belong. They form my core identity.
7 thoughts on ““You’re Mine! You’re mine! You’re Mine!””
“You’re Mine! You’re mine! You’re Mine!”
Your words, Ron, have been repeating within me since you posted them.
They remind me to think upon how greatly the Savior loves us. Does Jesus love us because, as God, He’s just supposed to… like it’s part of His “job description”? Does Jesus love us because it’s what He’s supposed to do to please His Father?
As I think about your words, I realize that, not only does Jesus LOVE us, He is IN LOVE with us. I think about a love-struck boy carving a heart and initials in the trunk of a tree to give witness to all nature of his love, and being in love, with his girl. Then I read Isaiah 49:16:
“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
Indeed – into the most eternal, pure, and sinless thing there is, Jesus carved the name of the one He is in love with – to give witness to all eternity of His love for us.
I had a pastor who would say, ” There is something from this world that will be brought to Heaven. There is one set of scars that will not be erased in Heaven. There is one thing from this world that Jesus considers so precious that He has brought it with Him to Heaven… the nail prints in His hands and feet, and the sword piercing in His side (and I think also the stripes upon His back). We know this because, in His resurrected body, He showed them to His disciples.
Perhaps the nail print in His palm IS my name. There were 100 sheep… 99 were safe but 1 was lost. Another pastor would tell us, “Even if you were the only person in the world who needed salvation, Jesus would go to the cross to save just you. He is in love with you that much.”
When the accuser points us out to the Father and hisses, “But what about this one…” Jesus intercedes and simply shows His palms and says, “He’s Mine.”
John 14:21 – “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” When a matter of obedience arises, Jesus simply turns over His hands to show us His palms… “You’re Mine.” To the expanse of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for our salvation there is only one acceptable response: loving obedience.
When our promotion to Heaven arrives and we first step on that land, Jesus runs to greet us as the father ran to the prodigal son. We see the nail prints on His open palms as He pulls us into Himself with a forever-hug and we hear His words in our ears:
“You’re Mine! You’re mine! You’re Mine!”
“Nail prints!” What a beautiful picture of a covenant relationship of a Father with His Prodigals. Can’t wait for your visit so I can share more about the cost of those nail wounds that I gleaned from a buddy of C.H. Spurgeon. Thanks for your expanding insights, Robert!
As your posts sometimes do, Ron, they remind me of a song from the past…
I Am Thine, O Lord
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!
There are depths of love that I yet may know
Ere Thee face to face I see;
There are heights of joy that I yet may reach
Ere I rest in peace with Thee.
This is the most beautiful version I’ve heard – simply men’s and women’s voices in harmony:
“Nearer to Thy Precious Bleeding Side.” Reminds me of my current favorite poem by George Herbert entitled “The Bag.”
Ron, you pose, “What does “wrought” mean?”
To me, “wrought” triggers back to an early shop class where one of the assignments was a “wrought iron” project, and your question sent me on an interesting journey to discover “wrought”…
Wrought iron has not been made commercially for half a century, and today the term is commonly (and incorrectly) used as just a name for old style decorative iron work. Easier, and quicker to make, modern, cook-book, factory steel has replaced smith-crafted wrought iron in the world.
Real wrought iron, back in the early days of the Iron Age was made by first gathering iron bearing ore. Interestingly, the exotic ores with naturally high iron content like hematite and magnetite can be fussy and temperamental to work with. Often the best wrought iron comes from simple “rusty” rocks – old smiths often warn, “Never pre-judge the quality of your ore based on it’s content of natural iron”. The ore is roasted in fire to drive out internal moisture and weaken it to be crushable. The ore is also washed to remove loose contamination.
The roasted, crushed, and washed ore is mixed with charcoal and fed into the top of a tall clay furnace and burned for several hours, often with the help of a bellows to keep a breathing of air upon the fire to keep the burn very hot. The heat and carbon-rich environment of the furnace will make carbon monoxide, which pulls the oxides out of the ore and exits out the flue as carbon dioxide and leaves behind pure metallic iron.
Very hot – but not too hot. Here is the skill of the smith… if the fire becomes too hot the iron will absorb the carbon, melt and run out the bottom of the furnace as cast iron. Cast iron has a place, but it’s not what the smith wants. Cast iron is hard but brittle – it cannot be shaped with heat and hammer. It can only be used in the shape it was cast, and it’s only strength is in compression.
The smith judges his ore and mixes in the right amount of charcoal. He works the bellows to breathe air upon the coals. He hovers over the furnace constantly adjusting the air and adding ore and charcoal to keep the furnace very hot – but not too hot.
When all has been done correctly, tiny beads of semi-molten metal form and gather together into the bloom, a spongy mass of pure iron encrusted with slag – the ashes of its former life. While still red hot from the furnace, a hammer is brought to remove the slag from the bloom. And here the skill of the smith is again crucial… the bloom at this initial stage is somewhat fragile and could easily crumble into small useless pieces with the wrong blows. Carefully, the smith works the hammer to knock off the pieces of slag and compresses the bloom into a compacted and solid mass.
All of the visible slag is now removed, but more sweat and labor lays before the smith. The bloom goes back into the fire and brought out for the real work of the hammer. There are still hidden remnants of slag within the metal. Over and over, the smith reheats the bloom and works it with the forging hammer – as the hammer compresses the bloom, the hidden impurities will be expelled. Additionally, the beads of pure iron are literally being welded together into a solid mass with each blow of the hammer and the metallic grain structure becoming more dense and refined.
When the smith is done, he has created wrought, or “worked”, iron. There is no other metal like it. It can be fashioned into any shape the smith desires by simply re-applying heat and hammer. It will not work-harden, or become brittle, and resist the work of the smith but always yield to the hammer. Because of its purity, it is very slow to rust. Because of its unique micro-laminated construction it is difficult to break – but if you can, it reveals the grain structure of a green sapling. Being pure iron, it will hold a magnet – but strangely, unlike ordinary iron, it will not be magnetized.
What is the Father’s spiritual lesson for us?
We might assume that the naturally gifted people – the hematites and magnetites of the world who have an abundance of natural talents – would be the Father’s first choice for any of His “really important” positions. Adam was formed from the dust of the earth. The Hebrew for “man” and “Adam” comes from the word for red or ruddy. David was called “ruddy”. God chooses the ruddy and overlooked, or “ordinary rusty rocks” of the earth to gather up for His work.
Once gathered, we first must pass through the fire, become broken and washed.
“Whew!” We exclaim, “That was life chaining… I must have arrived at the rarified heights of spiritual maturity by now!”
There is long suffering in the lengthy heat of the furnace. But it is the place of metamorphosis – from caterpillar to butterfly, from “ordinary rusty rocks” to beads of pure iron. The furnace seems too hot and the time too long – but it is all being skillfully watched over by the smith… very hot, but not too hot; long but not too long.
23 Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words. 24 Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he [continually] turn and harrow the ground? 25 Does he not level its surface And sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area? 26 For his God instructs and teaches him properly. 27 For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club. 28 [Grain for] bread is crushed, Indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever. Because the wheel of [his] cart and his horses [eventually] damage [it,] He does not thresh it longer. 29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts, [Who] has made [His] counsel wonderful and [His] wisdom great.
[Isa 28:23-29 NASB]
In Isaiah 28, God says, ‘Trust My hand. Do you notice that I have given the farmer wisdom? The farmer knows not to endlessly plow and harrow the ground. The farmer knows that dill is scattered but wheat is planted in rows. Each seed is threshed according to it type: dill with a rod and grain under the cart wheel. And, crushed no longer than is needed for the seed to release its chaff, lest the precious seed become damaged. My counsel is wonderful, and My wisdom great.’
“Whew!” We exclaim, “I survived the passing through the fire, the crushing, the washing, and, just now the heat of the furnace… I must have achieved ‘magna cum laude’ in spiritual grad school!”
Then comes the smith’s hammer. Most of the ashes of our former life are easily knocked off with each calculated blow. But others, the last remnants, will only be worked out with repeated heating and forging of the hammer. But during this time is when we become more compacted and solid, our grain structure refined and strengthened, and the fiber of Godly character more established.
“Whew! Father, I am humble and silent before You… You are just and true and right in all Your ways. Your grace is sufficient for me.”
At this point the smith now has a rod of usable wrought iron and his choices for its future purpose is wide open – from intricate art to complex tool. Often, because of wrought iron’s excellent ability to join completely to another, this rod will be bundled with others, and with fire and hammer again, welded into a larger piece.
The “wrought” person is seen as an out-dated oddity to the world… bends without breaking, hard but yields humbly to God, iron on the outside but wood-grained on the inside, and slow to rust but rather ages with patina.
The “wrought” person is strangely unaffected by the influence of the world – though among magnets, refuses to be magnetized.
Thanks, Ron, for sharing the seeds of Jesus’ words to you to meditate on!
Oh Wow! You just turned the word “wrought” into a gem! Thank you for your deep contemplation and story telling to sharpen my iron. You’ve enabled me to love the beauty of God’s ;liturgical work in our lives. Stellar picture crafting Robert!
“… and that you, being rooted and grounded in love… may be able to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge.” -Ephesians 3:17-19
12 October, 2019
Fifty seven years ago, to the day, an unusually severe storm ripped through the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Fifty people died, power line towers were ripped from their foundations, and in some places no one really knows what the highest wind speed was because the storm destroyed the weather equipment and then the hastily abandoned outposts. People called it the “Columbus Day Storm of ’62”. There’s even a Wiki page for it.
I was barely 5 at the time and still remember being scared out of my wits. Even though it was the middle of the night, the lightning was so continuous that as I peered under the ancient roll-up shade and over the sill, I saw the small clearing and bending trees surrounding our house light up brighter than daylight with a wrath-of -God brilliance that stung my eyes.
After the lightning, the dark and wind came. Never-before-recorded wind. Us kids were put to bed on the floor in the center of the old house. The roof shuddered in the turbulence as the wind punched down from the tree tops, walls groaned, and rusty nails creaked in their hold against the storm.
It was now pitch black except for one candle (That rickety rural power grid always gave up at the first breeze!) and we were surrounded in the darkness by the gun shots of snapping branches, the booming of trunks twisting in half, and the thundering of trees blowing over and crashing into the ground.
For all the years afterward, as I would scout through the woods of my childhood, I would occasionally come across a huge trunk on the ground attached to a flat disk of upended roots, like a 20, 30, or 40 foot tombstone marking the grave of a fallen giant. I would place a hand on the fallen and give a nod in respect, and wonder: “Were you one of those I heard that night that made me shudder?”
…Grounded but not rooted
The neighbor boy, Bruce, and I were inseparable brothers. One time Bruce’s dad gave us the job of removing some old fence posts. We quickly discovered them old timers knew something about setting fence posts. Then we were shown how much easier it was with just a loop of chain around the post and a farm jack lifting straight up.
…Rooted but not grounded
In the summers we used to go from Washington back to Iowa to visit my dad’s family. One time my uncle gave me a job of digging up an old stump. Thinking of the many “tombstones” I had seen from the Columbus Day storm, I figured I knew a few things about what tree roots were like, so I dug, chopped, and hacked a little trench around the perimeter of the stump and proudly announced that I would soon have that old stump yarded out. My uncle came over and just laughed, “All you have cut are the brace roots… you’re not even close to touching the tap root yet!”
A cow-lookin’-at-a-new-fence expression followed…
Tap root?… Brace root?… Uncle laughed again, “Those fir trees out where you’re from don’t have tap roots – they only have brace roots… wouldn’t be of use anyway as your hardpan soil is too shallow. Around here soil is deep and these oak trees have brace roots and a main tap root nearly the size of their trunk going straight down… they don’t fall over when the wind blows.”
It was several more hours out in the exhausting Iowa sun of digging, prying, and chopping before the tap root surrendered .
As I meditated on Paul’s choice of wording, “…you being rooted and grounded in love…” I pondered, “Why the seemingly redundant word picture of being rooted and being grounded?” I recalled from childhood my uncle’s humored laugh and his need to explain roots. Could “rooted” be tap root and “grounded” be brace roots? Perhaps Jesus is saying we have both the deep tap root and the wide foundation brace roots in Christ’s love to make us steadfast through storms and to receive revelation knowledge of His Love that is beyond understanding.
At the same time, I was also meditating on the last thought of your post:
You’re Mine! You’re Mine! You’re Mine!
Here’s why these words change everything for me… They declare who I am and to Whom I belong. They form my core identity.
Wow! That’s beautiful! That’s resting in the arms of Jesus… that’s being anchored to the Rock. It’s actually profound to me in its powerful simplicity and stops me in my tracks to take inventory whether I value, or take for granted, His love in my life. When all you need for your identity is the one truth of Jesus’ love for you; and, because of His love, be content and confident and unmoved in life… that’s being “rooted and grounded in love”! That kind of affirmation would thrill and bond the love of any romance.
I continued exploring the word “grounded”. It’s the same word Jesus used in the parable of the wise and foolish builder:
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. -Matthew 7:25
I don’t know about the construction methods used in The Carpenter’s day in order to anchor a house to rock, but today, I would suppose it involves tools, drilling, and setting anchors. However, sometimes God says tools must not be used:
If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. -Exodus 20:25
Man’s labor and tools upon an altar stone would profane it. The stone must be used as God provides it – man must not add his work to God’s rock. In Paul’s picture of roots, the Greek references say “rooted” and “grounded” are in the perfect passive tense – that is, the believer received the rooting and grounding as completed in the past with the results continuing to the present. God’s work in this is complete – the believer has been rooted and grounded in love and we continue through the present receiving the benefits.
A tree needs brace roots and a tap root to be unmovable in storms. But how could a tree have roots into solid rock? Hmmm… unless – if the rock was broken…. If there was a crack in the rock – if the rock had been pierced, then the tree could anchor its roots into the cleft of the rock.
Wow! That opened up a lot of scriptures and brought them together…
So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. – Exodus 33:22
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. – Isaiah 48:21
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. -I Corinthians 10:4
But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. – John 9:34
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [ie, blood] from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. -Hebrews 10:22
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. -Matthew 27:51
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, – Hebrews 10:19-20
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” – Luke 22:19
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God. -John 13:3
Jesus knew He had come from God and was returning to God. Jesus knew He was the Bread of Heaven… The Lamb of God… The Rock. But the purpose for the bread is to be broken to feed many… the purpose for the lamb is to be sacrificed for sin… the purpose for the rock is to be split to give living water and the cleft for an anchor.
Jesus came from God as a beautiful, perfect baby boy; but, he would return beaten, whipped, pierced, and tortured – His appearance marred more than any man (Isaiah 52:14). In glory, all things are healed and made new – but in the Savior these scars remain: His nail prints and His pierced side.
The Rock laid aside the authority of His divinity so He could become broken. The Rock would be pierced in His side to pour out water to wash the sinner, blood to sanctify, and a cleft in which to hide the redeemed when wrath passes by.
The Rock presents Himself to us broken… The Rock of God allowed Himself a cleft that the righteous are anchored to. He placed the righteous tree rooted and grounded into The Rock – anchored, steadfast, and unmoved by any storm.
Rooted and grounded in The Savior’s love… from your example, Ron, this is all I need to know who I am, to whom I belong; and, being loved by My Redeemer is all I need for an identity.
“… and that you, being rooted and grounded in love… may be able to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge.” -Ephesians 3:17-19
I think this ties in with your poem “The Bag”, Ron. If I understood your translation to the “poetically challenged”, George Herbert is speaking about when Jesus was pierced, the void in His fleshly body from where His blood and water were poured out to cleanse and sanctify the sinner, is now an available cavity, the cleft in The Rock in which He may tuck the redeemed next to His heart and carry them to His Father in heaven.