Why should I keep at this when it’s so hard?!

I feel tired. Worn down. Empty of anything to give. My words on God’s activity in me once sounded so grand, even eloquent. Now, what I wish I could tell, I can’t. This has turned into a longer journey than I thought it would be. One with few get-up-and-shout-in-celebration moments along the way. There are wonderful moments all along the way–don’t get me wrong–but they often spontaneously arrest me as spots of beauty and hope amidst an otherwise ambiguous journey.

These days those spots God nestles in my life seem less and less the substance of things seen. They are deep workings of God’s Spirit in my heart. The surprising thing, to me, is that what cannot be seen with the physical eyes can often be difficult to speak of as well. This makes these wonderful moments feel like a bit of a handicap when I consider them after they’ve passed. They worked well in connecting me with God, but they seem to do little in connecting me with others. Who will understand me with stories like these? I find myself asking.

It’s not just that what I would have to share is so crazy, but that no one talks about the things that I would like to say. I get the feeling, sometimes, that no one really goes that deep, and they would prefer that I didn’t either. I try my best to comply in a way that puts the interests of others above my own, but so many dreams of highly meaningful relationships must die as I do this. That’s why I love to write–or am learning to love writing–because I realize it is the doorway to greater possibilities than I often find in normal conversation. Here, as I write, I get to share the perfusion of my soul and find others who identify with the words these things compel. What a blessing!

Lately I’ve been identifying with Mary (the mother of Jesus), concerning how she once hid away in her heart the many astounding things that she was a witness to from the point of Jesus’ entrance into her life to the climax of His mission at the cross. I imagine the quiet wonder she must have daily been infused with as she encountered the rare operations of the Holy Spirit upon her and upon her Son. How it must have plagued her heart to not be able to share so many of the amazing things God was doing with the family, friends and townspeople that she would have grown up with! Her soul was blossoming all the time, while her friendships probably wilted–not for lack of care, but for lack of deepening identification.

I think there is a special kind of pain known to the disciples of Christ who go through many trials in His name. There are so many who sit on the sidelines and suppose that people so near to Jesus should not have to go through such horrific or continuous tests. Or else they wonder at why a person should make such a big thing of walking with God–as though it were an all-encompassing thing. They recommend a break from such things, a chance to get ones thoughts and life in order. What they really mean is find out how to escape the very things that God’s using in your life to mold you into the image of Christ. They attempt to encourage a sufferer to remove ones presence from the gifts God gives.

This discourages me. I wish there could be more encouragement available to those of us who walk through difficult seasons with our Lord. I wish there were more understanding, more rejoicing with us in the monumental things God works out of monumental pains. But so often there is either quietness or rejection to meet our attempts to share what goes on between us and God. Thus, my following Christ has become a quiet thing–something I pour my heart and soul into, but mostly in the context of private interactions with the Lord.

I want to give Him everything I have–even when I don’t always fully understand what He will do with it. This is something I wouldn’t take leave of or give up. I just don’t understand why so many of the side-benefits that used to go with this relationship have faded as my intimacy with God has deepened. I guess somethings don’t go with us when we commit ourselves to running after God. For one thing, we’re not plodding along in a covered wagon that pulls along all our belongings behind us. Some of us have left that behind to be able to walk and keep pace with God in a much more unhindered fashion. We have wanted nothing between Him and us. I guess it’s just that sometimes we forget…that comes with a price.

I don’t know how God can possibly change me enough to make me congruent with everything that He stands for. I’ve done all that I can do in giving my life over to Him and asking Him to do what He wants with it. Now, I must wait. I cannot accomplish the change that remains for Him to make: the change that transforms me into a person who delights in His will in all things and wants what He wants as though it was the only thing worthy of concidering. That is a great work; when I surrender, I do not perfect that. I simply invite God to begin the work that will deliver me to that end. I’ve never seen it in full, but I’ve seen some pretty fantastic glimpses! I don’t know how, but He will change me to match the experiences of my life that He’s allowed to change.

I’ve found, so far, that where God raises the stakes, He raises my expectation and perception of Him–and that’s worth everything He takes me through to get there. I will take this journey. I shall consider myself blessed to be given the honor of being raised to such glories in Christ. I will consider God as One bestowing blessing on me and not a curse. I will ignore my feelings to the extent that I will not let them rule how I see God. This is not easy. God will have to do it in me. But, I believe if He got me on this path, He can furnish the means for me to walk in it and trust Him all along the way. He knows each new doubt I face and how to bring it down, to bow before His majesty. I want Him to do it and He wants to do it more. Hallelujah!

 

Though I long to run away, it will not be from You that I go

Oh, the journey! It breaks my heart and it mends it. It proves to me that God is there and His ways are for me even with all the evil in my story. I didn’t belong in His great scheme, so He came and invaded mine. And, oh, where would I be if He didn’t? Every day He gives me notice of my need for Him and His willingness to be the Governor of every mystery about me that enfolds (and would forever ensnare me except for Christ).

I could not handle my life without Him. I am not meant to be a burden-bearer, but to be yoked to the One who carries for me what would destroy me if left on my shoulders alone. I can be broken, but please, let it be my Lord who does what is necessary rather than my Enemy who offers to me not a single gain!

I want so much, but how often the wrong thing! I know hunger, cravings and lack, but given the choice I will not take the gift that is for me, I will insist on the illfitting temptation, the opportunity that was never meant to bear my name. All good things my God has engraved my name upon with His finger, but I reject them all in their perfect packaging for something more familiar — an unmarked grave that I can mark with my own hands and fill with my self-willed destiny.

What a pity that I do not trust God! I prefer to live in ignorance of truth that I might attempt to carve out my own. Yet, what a surprise that all Truth resides with Him who bears its name; I find my boundaries when I try to build my own foundations as I go against all the rules.

But no matter what trial or trevail of the soul seems to take over me, from this my whole testimony does not waver:

On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

It is not about what I do, or what can be said of me — it is about Him and what I and others can say about Him because of what He has done for me and in me and through me despite my obvious weakness.