If obedience didn’t strain, could it really offer gain?

Okay, I’m back from my blogging sabbatical. Though my time away has been, for me, extraordinarily intense, I will not attempt to describe what made my heart too dry for blogging. Rather, in my gratitude for the ways I have learned to cope as well as blossom in this season of stretching-without-end, let me share one of the points of beauty I’ve received along the way.

Obedience can be a scary thing. For me, the scary part is that obedience is hard and God offers no excuse for the fact. Sometimes He asks the very hardest things of us when we are already in the midst of the hardest situations we could imagine. This does not seem right. Most days it does not even seem possible.

Yet, if we think of obedience as our hearts working out agreement with God, we cannot be surprised at its uncomfortable elements, its self-wearing-down results. We should expect to find the elements of an excellent work-out firmly implanted in its very nature.

Is obedience not designed to stretch us where we are inflexible so that we may become fully flexible? Would devotion not take us into realms that are un-mastered so that we might master them? Should my soul and flesh not be torn down more and more that my spirit might reign over them?

In short, if obedience did not introduce strain into our lives and hearts, could it truly afford us lasting gain?

Life with God is a waltz between Mystery and Delight

Has God ever done something small enough
for mankind to fully see?
I ask you to think about His greatness and
take a moment to wonder
how we could have grown so familiar with
One whom we can gain no measure of
nor remove even one unit of mystery from.
Consider this, and take a pause to let it sink
into a deeper place than you usually let your heart
occupy–
Anything that bears the Name of our Mighty, Earth-Shaking Creator
we can only absorb in portions.
Like the servings given to us,
one at a time, when we attend a grand feast
are those things which God prepares
for those who move
and breathe upon His earth.
His abundance always exceeds what we could
legitimately sample,
and yet God does not limit the selection.
Rather, He begs us to let all this excess that we cannot manipulate in some way
point us beyond ourselves
and what works for us
to the One for whom we were meant to work
and ever bring delight.

I have a burden to be unburdened, Lord!

Have you ever felt like you had too much too do and you’re already impatient with yourself for what is not done? I know that the feeling is not so unusual in this crazy world of amp’ed up schedules and overburdened lives, but what I’m specifically talking about is an overburdened heart.

Can you identify with that? I know I can. It seems like my heart has been overburdened since birth. There have been so many things to contend with, so much to learn to understand. So much I’ve wanted to change and un-root from within me.

That’s a lot to have on one’s emotional to-do list. But I haven’t seen it that way; rather, I’ve considered it all to be necessary and so I’ve plunged in and tried to make a 24 hour workplace of my heart.

It will come as no surprise to you that I’m exhausted. But, to me all I can tell myself is that I can’t afford to be tired. If I slow down everything will just take longer and may, if I’m not careful, never get resolved at all.

I can’t live with that. I need to know that I’m making my way speedily along to healing. I need to know that the pain is quickly being overtaken by gain.

But while my desires for healing–like yours–are good, I think I need to pay attention for a moment to why I get derailed in this journey. I don’t think it is that I want too much. I think it is that I want too much from the wrong source. When I’m rushing along in this fierce pursuit of healing I’m not being still enough to be healed.

It’s like I think God’s forgotten that I’m broken. It is that I think He needs instruction on how to care. But isn’t this thinking pattern something that needs to be healed as well? Shouldn’t I hope for the day when I can be at ease in the knowledge that He is “it”?

I want that to be my reality. When doubts scream at me and try to tell me that I can be a better God than He, may I shut them up. May I tell them, tell Him I don’t want to be. I wasn’t made to be satisfied with such independence; rather, I was meant to be connected. Therefore, I want someone else to care for me so I can become who I was made to be.

Yes, I need lessons, Lord. So, would You help me sit and receive them?

 

Weakness introduces Strength in a most attractive way

Could this God

be enough for you?

Will “yes,” bring

more disappointment

than hope at its end?

Is there reward in seeking

more than you could

gain by yourself?

 

Sometimes I wonder.

Sometimes I want to believe

Just the whispers of

My weakened self,

Not the silence

of His Grace.

 

He is at horizon

Beckoning me

To come see His

Son rise.

But I quickly

look away.

 

“Me?”

I ask

with

quaking

voice.

“Have You

seen me lately?

I am here because

I can’t get up.

I don’t think You

Realize how impossible

It is to meet You like this.”

 

Then He begins to speak:

“I am not mistaken

When I call your name;

I know that you are weak —

Don’t forget that it was I who

Have made you this way.

I understand you’re afraid —

let Me remind you why

you don’t need to be.

I don’t want you

to miss this,

So I insist:

Come!

Yes, even as you are;

And if you find that you still cannot,

My child, take as your own My strength.”

Loving God Must Be Nothing Less Than Knowing Pain

Out of greatest loss, the purest gains do spring up. To be committed to know no other thing than Christ, is to have the advantage of knowing more than all these lesser things put together.

Christ knows our emptiness and our apathy towards life and Him, He would simply have us know this — which He then accomplishes through some of the most fiery trials we have come to know.

But, what are the benefits that so motivate this God of love to approach us through such difficult means? They are meeting God, they are knowing God for the One Who transcends all earthly majesty and comfort; they are seeing the emptiness inside too deep to be bridged by mortal effort, but only by divine love.

This is what makes our mortal experience worth completing — God is working in us, on behalf of our greatest happiness, to bring us nearer to His side; to seek for His face, which cleanses our hearts from all God-less pursuits that begin and end in vanity.

Can we deign to thank God for less, to request that He would do less for us, so that we might not be so bound up in Him? Such would be a vain and rebellious limitation on our God. We should grieve His Spirit and hold Him afar off from us.

No, that we would rather He shake us than leave us alone, that He would approach us in our misery, then deny us in our bliss. Nothing less can be knowing God, loving Him with all our hearts.