Monday, 21 January 2013

Without Running Away

I think I may be falling in love with Jason Gray.

I’ve spent some days looking
For a length of rope
And a place to hang it
From the end of my hope
But where I thought hope had ended
I always find a little bit more

It’s not like I’m trying
To be optimistic
If the truth be told
I’d rather dismiss it
And be free of the burden
Of the living that hoping requires

To bring my heart
To every day
And run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

Jesus is speaking
But it’s so hard to hear
When disciples with swords
Are cutting off ears
Broken and bleeding
I’m waiting for healing to come

But wounded’s a part
That I’ve learned to play well
Though the wound may run deeper
Than I know how to tell
Where pain’s an addiction
That keeps me buried alive
But when it’s all that I know
I’m afraid to leave it behind

And bring my heart
To every day
And run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

My heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not lifted up
But calm and quiet is my soul
Like a child with its mother is my soul

After a while in the dark
Your eyes will adjust
In the shadows you’ll find
The hand you can trust
And the still small voice
That calls like the rising sun

And bring your heart
To every day
Run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away
You must run the risk of fearlessly loving
Without running away

Sunday, 20 January 2013

My Hope

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,
On whom in affliction I call;
My comfort by day and my song in the night,
My hope, my salvation, my all.
Where dost Thou, dear Shepherd, resort with Thy sheep
To feed them in pastures of love?
Say, why in the valley of death should I weep,
Or alone in this wilderness rove?
He looks, and ten thousand of angels rejoice,
And myriads now wait for His word;
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice,
Re-echoes the praise of the Lord.
Dear Shepherd, I hear, and will follow Thy call,
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice;
Protect and defend me, for Thou art my all,
And in Thee I will ever rejoice.
He fills eternity. Universes bow before Him. He loves. He came. He gathers our tears into a bottle. He wastes nothing. He will not break even a bruised reed. He restores. He redeems...all that seems lost and wrecked. Let us lift our hands and hearts to Him - Shepherd, Redeemer, high and holy God. He reigns and He cares. Oh, for the day when all will bow before Him!


When You said, “Seek My face,”My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)
And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalm 17:15)
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:30)
...and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, Lord, are among these people; that You, Lord, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. (Numbers 14:14)
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness. (Job 33:26)
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)
Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
“Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)
And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him. (Isaiah 8:17)
Something has broken in me...something that has been almost all this past year in breaking - but at last, I have seen His face, that One who breaks and heals again. Worship has returned to my heart. I am tired and I wait still for His healing, but He is mine again, and oh, I am glad. My heart feels weary but free. I will be satisfied in the Christ.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Every Broken Piece Is Gathered

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:9-10)
Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. (Job 13:15)
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25)

It's from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus

And what's lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise

From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted
(from Nothing is Wasted, by Jason Gray)
We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.
Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is.”
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year)
“The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.”
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Learning to Give In

I spend weekends in a house that has recently gained two small children, one an infant and the other a strong-willed two-year-old whose English name is David. David has recently moved from the US to Korea and, although he is a darling little boy and pretty well-behaved, he reacts sometimes to his world gone topsy-turvy. Like all of us, he gets angry and throws tantrums. When this happens, his mother takes him in another room and speaks sternly to him. We all know when David has let go of his own way and will be coming back to join us because when he is ready to agree with his mother, he very firmly and loudly says, "내", a Korean word that means "Yes" or "You're right" or "Okay". He says it with resignation and conviction both, like a soldier saluting. No matter how hard he has been crying or yelling or kicking his feet, he realizes that his will has to bend, and he bends it bravely. After he has agreed with his mother, there is no more crying or yelling. He moves on. Sometimes I admire David's courage and discipline. I am not always as self-controlled as he is.

2012 slammed me to the wall. It brought me to my knees. It shook me out and turned me upside down. I still  feel like a stranger to myself. And yet, at last, something within is letting go, and sometimes I hear my furious heart giving in and saying "Yes." Just like little two-year-old David. What a relief it is. How much harder this is to learn at 37 than it is at two. I long to just give in, as he does, and move on.

God, help me to bend!

I don't know why I have suddenly (it seems sudden - or has my heart deceived me yet again?) become so fearful. When did I stop knowing that God loves me and always chooses best for me? When did I stop being satisfied with Him?

I want this year to be different. I want Jesus to have the first place in my heart again. I want to be willing to lose all things if I can just have Him. I want to learn how to give in without giving up. I want to gather up my whole messy, scattered and battered heart and lay it at Jesus' feet...and leave it there. I want to learn how to want what He wants. I want to learn how to walk with Him. I want hope. I want to take joy in what gives God joy, instead of always scrambling after my own version. This is going to take more than just a "Yes." But that's where I start. I am going to need a fundamental shift in my self - one that I can't manage on my own. I don't even know how to get such a change, except to ask.

God, You are the only one who can change me. I want to be different. You know I have tried, but I am overcome by self-will and self-love and self-pity every time. I want to share Your priorities and Your eyes. I want a heart that gives in when You say so.
During harvest time, three of the thirty chief men came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord.“Far be it from me, O Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. (2 Samuel 23:13-18)
Everything too deeply precious belongs to You, Father. Help me, like this David, to let go; to pour out all that my heart treasures before You. The water poured out, it looked like a tragic waste. It always looks that way, but there is nothing wasted before You. You gave Your precious, perfect Son to be beaten and insulted and ignored. You saw them reject him. You saw the slapping and the whipping and the twisted crown. You heard the contempt in their voices. You saw the nails pierce his flesh.You heard him cry from the cross. You saw them gambling for his clothes. You allowed him to be separated from You and left alone. You know what it costs to be a human and love like God. Have mercy on me, but make me able to go forward. Let me not waste on self what You have bought with blood. Better to pour it on the ground!