in the midst of my escaping

I’ve been listening to this song by Young Oceans, called The Gates. It makes me uncomfortable because in the middle, if I sing all the words, I am a liar. The music sounds more confident than I feel, but the words betray a heart that feels so many other things.

I wanna wake and feel Your glory
I wanna speak in tongues of angels for You Lord
I wanna sing a song eternal
I wanna trample on the curses of the earth
I wanna call upon Your healing
I wanna see the sick and weary be made new
I wanna swim inside the blessings
I wanna swim inside the blessings of the Lord

It’s all the things I want to want, but I’m too weak or frail or scared or lazy or tired or selfish. Or I am all those things.

The beauty of Christmas – Christ coming to earth – came wrapped inside wrapping inside wrapping inside wrapping this year. It came slow like the full nine months of labor pains, much deeper than I’ve ever anticipated this season before.

And when I shake with sobs in bed or pray for water hotter than my tears in the shower, I need Emmanuel. I need the truth of “God with us” on earth. When I wish I was 13 years old again or when I go to sleep to be hidden, I need Emmanuel.

I’m not proud of wanting to escape. But when life is hard, you just dream of it being easier I guess. Easier commute to work, easier free time, easier time management, easier professional life, easier marriage, easier living, easier. Not lazy, just better. I’m not proud of wanting easier.

Maybe that’s why I love liturgy so much. It makes me say the words I do not feel. And that’s why Scripture memory is a life vest these days. Even if those are the only words I repeat, the only ones I sing… even if I don’t feel them completely, I know there is a gift wrapped inside a gift wrapped inside a gift that is more inside than any thief of joy.

God with us. He is here, even when I am not wanting Him. He is here, when I want to be elsewhere. God with us, pursuing us in love.

Did You say, ‘seek, you will surely find’?
I am searching, Lord turn Your eyes to mine
But I’m weary, pacing at these gates
Jesus come, come now, don’t delay

Like a child, ever faithful may I be
This I ask, God of mercy hear my plea
I have wandered with a soul impure
For this scorn, Father, send a cure

Last week, I memorized from John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…”

It’s one of those verses that’s hard to say, but I stumble through. I speak and trust God will grant the belief I need to be moved by these words. He is good and true and He is holding me up in the midst of my escaping.


 

Find all the writings on grief at this link and join with us as we mourn in hope.

why faith is both simple and hard

Faith is both simple and hard.

Faith is simple because it is believing – believing the ground won’t fall out before your next step and believing the sun will dawn on this day. We believe a lot of things without much struggle, even things that shouldn’t be so easy. We trust governments and money and weather men when they give us assurances and possessions and forecasts – we believe in them and make plans around this wily, presuming confidence.

Faith is simple because it is believing… and if we can believe in governments and money and weather men, shouldn’t it be simple to believe in the power that holds even those together?

One of my favorite thoughts to think grows out of this little gem in Colossians, speaking of Christ:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

All things hold together in Christ. Not a single ruler – tyrannical or gracious or otherwise – breathes a breath without being held together by Christ. Not a mountain or valley or cave keeps its form without Christ constraining its particles. Not a single atom inside the vast universe is itself held together apart from Christ. All things.

Shouldn’t it be simple to believe in this kind of power? Oh, but faith is also hard.

The believing part is simple – I can believe the ground won’t give out beneath me before my next step. Simple. But, believing the ground won’t give out doesn’t mean I have to ever take a step.

I can sit on my front porch and believe the front door is unlocked and there are homemade cookies on the table inside without ever living like I believe that is true. I can comment about how easy I believe the door is to open and how delicious I believe the cookies are to eat – all from the pontificating position of my deck chair without ever opening the door to taste the cookies.

And that’s why faith is hard.

That’s why, I think, there are a lot of Christians sitting on the front porch of faith “believing” without ever experiencing the life their belief promises.

Today, friend, reach for the handle that you believe is there and turn it like you believe it’s open. If you are afraid at what you will find, maybe you don’t really believe after all.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

misplaced humility

Maybe we just have things turned around (wouldn’t be the first time for the human race). Maybe we’ve shelved things in the wrong place and now it’s hard to find what we’re looking for.
Maybe it’s like when you are making a recipe and you know you bought cumin, but you’ve torn apart the whole kitchen and still can’t find it. Then… after admitting defeat and cranking a can of Progresso soup open in disgust, you see little Tommy flying a plane around the kitchen with little cumin as its pilot.

Maybe that’s what we’ve done with humility.

“What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be.
A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.

Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert–himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt – the Divine Reason. . . .

The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it’s practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . .

The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . .

We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”

G.K. ChestertonOrthodoxy [Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1957], pp. 31-32

Powerful insight once again from G.K.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (b. 29 May 1874 – d....