Monday, 30 September 2013

Be Strong...and Wait

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
And this is what takes real strength and real heart: waiting. Waiting to understand. Waiting to be made like Jesus.

God spoke to me today; spoke right into my noisy head, in the middle of things happening and people talking. He asked me if I could trust Him with my life. And the obvious answer is yes, of course. He's God, after all, and most days I'm not even sure who I am. But it's not so simple. Sometimes I want to trust Him, but I can't quite make it into actually resting my heart and letting Him do His work without me whining and crying and pounding the door down with wondering if He's sure this is the right way and how long He's going to take. I know the truth: that I don't even know what I want, let alone what's right, and God knows both, and He cares about both. But a lot of the time, the truth feels cold and very far away, and I am filled with fears and tired tears and caught in that sharp place in between reality and feeling. But for today, He has given me enough faith to trust Him. It's good to have it, and I will spend it waiting. 

Make no mistake: this is the hard work of following Jesus; harder than all the things we think we need to do to earn Him praise.

Someday, I will give him all that is in my heart because I see and understand, but that day won't come without today's waiting in the dim cold of my not-knowing. Beautiful, inscrutable God, I wait for You. Accept this, my sometimes-empty heart.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


The woman came and knelt before Him. "Lord, help me!" she said. (Matthew 15:25)
Father, I have humbled myself under Your hand. I have waited for You.

I have neither strength enough to overcome myself nor grace enough to rise above my circumstances nor love enough to order my heart nor faith enough to see things as You do. Have mercy on my stumbling, then, and use my failure for some good. Falling, I fall into Your hands.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Faith is Willingness to Wait

O Lord, the value of Your truth and Your way is that it's more than just pretty words. Right now, I feel like I'm hanging on to words and ideas that I can't connect to my reality with any power. 

Shall I rage against You or against those who carry out Your will for me? Let me lean in to You. Control me, Father, when my heart throws temper tantrums. When I am sighing, groaning, crying, screaming inside - give me the strength to overcome my own feelings. Give me grace - great, wide, sweeping grace to sit still - still, while I am dying to get up and run and hit and yell.

Teach me how to respond to my restless self, and to those who try my patience sore. Teach me Your good way when I can't imagine one, and give me rich grace to wait.
Faith is willingness to wait. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)
I confess my lack. Help me, Jesus!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Where Can I Flee?

O God, I long to run away, far away. But it's You I'd be running from, and there's no use. Where can I flee from Your presence? Hide me! Make a way through my Red Sea, because You are the same God that led Moses into an impossible spot, and then took responsibility for him and for your people. Remember, I am Yours - graven onto Jesus' hands.

Let Me Love Jesus

...the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(Revelation 5:8-14)
This is the beginning, and we are the firstfruits, the promise and the harbinger of that great day when all the universe and all of heaven will bow in unified worship to the God of Love. Lord, let me do it now, while it hurts, and I am tired, and my flesh kicks against me and hates to bow. Let me not rob You of this beginning - small, but precious in Your eyes. 

The awful truth is, I have a heart that loves me more than it loves the Christ. That is what makes it so hard to love others. Oh, I can love my own, because that serves me. But to love those who don't belong to me, who don't love me back the way I want them's just harder than I ever dreamed.

Our world dresses love up in pretty clothes; they would have us believe it's something warm and bright that you can fall right into and live happily ever after. Real love is hard and gritty, and it stomps all over you with its hob-nail boots. It shakes you out and turns you upside down and makes you want to run home crying, and it takes everything in you to desire it anyway.

The way up is down. The way to the light is through the dark. And the only way to really live is to lay yourself down and, and tomorrow, and all over again the next day...
Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” (Matthew 26:67-68)
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:33-34)
Father, I can't always feel that what You say is true, and I can't always see the beauty in Your way, but Jesus who sits at Your right hand was spat upon, and I have tasted that You are Good, and I will hold tight to You. Jesus was spat upon - ! How can I not trust such a God? 

I will remember that dark is light to You, and first is last. I will believe that it is light that blinds me, not darkness. I will believe, when I feel most alone, that You are near. I will believe, not just in tomorrow's provision - but that today's emptiness is a fullness of a better kind. My view is too small. There are many things I cannot see, but You know them all, and I will hold on to You. The worst that You can give must be better than the best I would work out for myself.

I don't know what I want. I only feel. Overcome my feeling, and give me faith worthy of You - enough faith to wait for Your goodness. I bow before You with my tired, hurt heart. You are the One with whom I have to do. Let me have the strength to love people the way You ask. Let me love Jesus more than myself. Let my dying birth praise...praise for the slain Lamb, that One who alone is Faithful and True - Jesus, in whose face they spat. He is worthy.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Sit Still

Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall. (Ruth 3:18) 
 I am learning how to let go, how to walk straight into the dark and let the fear crawl icy over me and lean into my Father, how to feel the pain and know there's more out there, and yet choose to go; and Jesus comes with me, and He is kind. I am still a worn-out child, alternately trusting and crying, but He never wavers and He is here in the dark with His wounds, and His hand is in mine. Ultimately, I believe that Jesus, the Wounded God, is trustworthy. I believe that this stripping and emptying will enrich, deepen, colour my life; that this lowness and smallness will give me enlarged borders. I believe, and He is every day proving Himself faithful. Father, it is good to learn You.
When we know Christ, we always know how things are going to go — always for our good and always for His glory... God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)
And when my heart screams and my blood races, I am learning, a little, to lean hard on Him: to wait for Him and hear His voice and to look for His goodness in the hurt. He is Good.
"Even Satan knew that none but God could touch Job, and when Satan was permitted to afflict him, Job was quite right in recognizing the Lord Himself as the doer of these things which He permitted to be done. Come joy or come sorrow, we may always take it from the hand of God." (Hudson Taylor)
There are no second causes, and God is always good.. I must learn how to accept all - all! - from my Father's careful hand. He is teaching me, little by little, how to trust His choice, and how to lean into Him and allow Him to control my reactions.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Do Not Weep!

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne... (Revelation 5:5-6)
Do not weep-! I've been doing a lot of that lately. But John says, "See." The triumphant lion is a slain lamb. The way up is down. Victory lies in defeat. Joy is cradled in the darkness. Death is swallowed up. Love wins by laying everything down.

I have not come the wrong way after all. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is a slain Lamb.

The Hard Thing

The hard thing about God is that you can't be sure what He will or won't do. You can be sure it will be good in the end, but you can't be sure it won't hurt horribly before then. God is kind - but the results of kindness can be scary too. Anyway, I know this is all a little-kid way to look at things, but that's how I'm looking at things these days. I do trust Him. I do want His way. I'm just small and weak and unreasonably scared of everything and unable to see more than a few feet in front of me.

My heart is full of whispered lies and I am weary and desperate for the truth: the truth that God loves to his own hurt; that He is for me; that no matter how much it looks like the Enemy is winning, he has already been defeated; that love will always win over hate; that kindness is more powerful than political force; that in Jesus I am precious, I am sought, I am loved; that God is always in control and always working for good.

Father, thank you for giving me good when I am too short-sighted to appreciate it. Thank you for waiting while I learn who You are. Thank you for loving me enough to give me the kind of good that You know will make me hurt and angry and full of bitterness and blame. I can't see beyond this, but I believe You. And when I can't believe, I will hold on to You. I will wait for Your end when all I can feel is hurt and hopeless. You have given me no promise but Yourself. You are the Beginning and the End. I have tasted Your goodness, and I hope in Your love. I rest my weary soul in You. I honor Your Name. Search my heart to the depths and see me sure of You beneath the tumult. You are worthy of my trust, even when my emotions claw it back and overcome me and I lose the peace of trusting You - still, You are worthy, and I will wait for You. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

He That Spared Not His Own Son

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
If I had written this verse, it would have run something more like this: He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, so why can`t you just be happy with that?

But God is more kind and more generous than my mixed-up mind is capable of imagining these days, and He doesn`t scold me for refusing to be content with what ought to satisfy me. Even now, when my child-heart is full of crying and selfishness, He is merciful and full of good gifts. I am so narrow-minded and dim. Still, He is Good and my cold, cold heart melts a little at His unexpected mercy and suddenly, I find something stiff and angry and entirely unreasonable in me bowing low before Him. Life has no guarantees, but He who gave His own Son, He is the guarantee. God hurting. God weeping. God bleeding. He cares for my hurting, weeping, bleeding heart. I have to remember this. I have to remember it again and again, and speak this truth into my own soul when it is weighed down by lies and the smoke of what seems.