Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let the low end drag.

Oosh. This being faithful thing is hard.

I'm weary.

And while there are good things in the future, there is no end in sight.

I don't think there ever is, though. We're not promised an easy ride. John 16:33 says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

It's really cool to think that in the end, we win! But it's hard to remember that in the middle of everything going not quite right.

And you know what I've learned? It's ok to let the low end drag - especially when you're worn down, when you can only shuffle instead of walk, when looking for light and hope is more disappointing than just resigning yourself to the murky twilight around you. Because our Father is a kind and gentle Daddy; He is strong enough to deal with our disappointment, our lapses in faith, our utter exhaustion.

And sometimes, it's only in our utter exhaustion that we can finally let Him do what He most wants: to tenderly lift our dirty, bruised, raggedy bodies, cradle them to His strong chest, and carry us a ways until we've rested enough to stand at His side again.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Out of the dust...

We recently finished the Wednesday night "Deeper" series at Calvary. It was a video (not my favorite thing) on Jonah (not my favorite book) about the interrupted life (not something I had a problem with). It turns out that I forgot about how much I hate video while the lady was talking, and I suddenly realized that Jonah and I had a lot in common.
Anyway, the last three months have been the best of my life with a side of growth and topped with learning to trust God. And this morning, two of the most recently significant passages of scripture came up again: one in a word search for "rest" and the other on a friend's Facebook profile.

Psalm 37:3-7
Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

God's control:
Job 38

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
"Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
"Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! 
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 
"On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? 
"Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, `Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop'? 
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? 
"It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment. 
"From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken. 
"Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep? 
"Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 
"Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. 
"Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home? 
"You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great! 
"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle? 
"Where is the way that the light is divided, Or the east wind scattered on the earth? 
"Who has cleft a channel for the flood, Or a way for the thunderbolt, To bring rain on a land without people, On a desert without a man in it, To satisfy the waste and desolate land And to make the seeds of grass to sprout? 
"Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? 
"From whose womb has come the ice? And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth? 
"Water becomes hard like stone, And the surface of the deep is imprisoned. 
"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion? 
"Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?
"Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth? 
"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you? 
"Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, `Here we are'? 
"Who has put wisdom in the innermost being Or given understanding to the mind? 
"Who can count the clouds by wisdom, Or tip the water jars of the heavens, When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick together? 
"Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair? 
"Who prepares for the raven its nourishment When its young cry to God And wander about without food?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Be like Peter. But only sorta.

Oswald's thought this morning was: What does it mean to walk with Jesus? (from the context of John 6:66-70)
To Peter, it meant Jesus offered salvation - "words of life."
But Oswald says it means a constant "certainty that I do not know."
Peter was almost right, but he talked too much - he should have stopped with, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

I would be far better off remembering my own temporality.

Dave and I were talking about this last night with a friend: the best way of living is keeping a loose grip on things. Know that we are brief, know that we are not in control and the things we have are gifts. And in that mindset, do not grasp them too firmly - be open to letting go.

I once heard someone say, "It's only when you have empty, open hands that you can be given gifts."