Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Time to Sow

There is something dark and long-clawed in me, something that hungers to return hurt for hurt; something that kicks and bites and scratches when I would love, and will have vengeance instead of healing for my wounds. It is not separate, but part of me, and yet I loathe it and would be free. It brings confusion, and leaves me blind and blaming, angry at the one who hurts me, and most of all at the God who lets me hurt. How can He leave me here to bear alone the weight of my hurt heart, of being, of disappointment? He, who knows my weak spots and all my old, old wounds?

Self-preservation, hate, anger, malice, envy - these grow alongside my real desire to love, to worship God, to communicate his kindness and compassion.
An enemy did this... (Matthew 13:28)
But Jesus died, and I will have Him. How can His love not overcome hate? How can He who bled to death and rose again fail to heal me?

Fight hate and spite and awful self in me, O God! Overcome all in me that refuses love. Deliver me from the body of this death!

Jesus told the story of the sower who went out to plant. Across the fields he went, scattering his precious seed. Some fell on stony ground, and some on thorny ground, and some on hard ground, and some in prepared ground. Like that sower, I have gone out, scattering what is precious mine into dark earth. I know, as he must have known, the falling and the loss and the seeming waste among rocks and thorns and trodden ground. Did he feel, as I do, his helplessness to make a single seed grow? Did he go out the next day and look for shoots, and wonder foolishly, as I do, whether he would see the harvest?

Father, I want to trust what You are doing. I want to learn from You how to give up myself without just giving up. You know how I am trying to hold nothing back, and yet when there is a chance to live with open hands, I am all snatching and grabbing and fearful hanging-on. I confess that I can't love the way You ask me to. I don't know what to do, and even when I do, I don't have the power to do it and mean it. I know You hate fake. 

God, You can transform me! Look at my emptiness and fill me with Jesus-love. It is so exhausting to give everything I've got and keep coming up with the same not-enough. Give me courage to go forward - to keep on dropping my precious seeds into the dark, like Jesus' sower. Let me have long patience for your fruit, patience to wait for You to work in ways that I cannot. Teach me to love past hurt. Remind me who You are, and that You love me, and that I am Yours, and You mine.
Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it... (James 5:7)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Where Feet May Fail

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

This year, I don't want to just live. I want to become something. Something like this:

God doesn't promise that we won't fail. He doesn't promise that He won't take us places we can't manage. He only promises that He won't fail. He'll use it all for our good. The fear, and the squirming confusion, and even the failure.

I have been weary and afraid for a long time, but at last I feel again, a little, the ocean pull; the call to deeper water. I am afraid, but I will call upon Jesus' name. I want to live with blood-red courage. I want to see what the great Artist will do with all the broken pieces of my life. I want to be what He has made me. I want to worship God and display His beauty as I was meant to.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. (Romans 11:36)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Trust Him At All Times

Who among the gods
is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8) 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

One Thing Remains

May your unfailing love be my comfort... (Psalm 119:76)

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)
 A New Thing - from The Rabbit Room

2013 kicked my butt, and I was glad to see it to the door. No matter what the new year brings, my hope is that I will bring something different. I hope, I pray that I will be made more like my Father, who is full of mercy and loves without expecting anything back. In the beginning of this last long, dark year, I would have been happy with any change - my situation or my heart - anything that would bring me back to solid ground, anything that would let me be kind, joyful, thankful. Now only an inside change will suffice. New circumstances can not make this long road worth it. I must have my heart changed. I must have the strength, the peculiar grace to be kind, joyful, thankful in any circumstance. I will not be satisfied with less than the power to love past my weary, twisted self. I must have the strength to bear gladly.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:11-14)
In this place bereft of mercy, I must learn to come often before Him who is compassionate and true - The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6) - and having received, take and spread out the costly beauty of mercy where it may be snatched and discarded, and I misunderstood. I must be willing to give what costs without expecting anything back.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them... (Isaiah 63:9) 
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)
Father, let me live Your way - open handed and open hearted - receiving from You so I can give what costs without expecting anything back. Let me learn this people's suffering, and understand what traps them. Let me feel the weight of what binds them, and bear me up. Carry me and give me love that can withstand the strain of not being loved in return. This grace You can give, and I will seek it from Your hand. I will lie at Your door like Lazarus. Even the crumbs from Your table must be better than my mustered resolve, which twists and buckles under the heavy weight of loneliness, fear, indignation. You can make me more. I will have all that You have promised to those who love you!
I will not let you go unless you bless me. (Genesis 32:26)
Redeem my brokenness and my warping, Father. Gather up all my pieces and put me back together. Make me able to give again. Remember the promises You give to Your sons and daughters. Wipe away my selfish tears, and let me work gladly for Your glory. Replace self-pity with mercy, and fear with love. Teach me to guard and not grasp. Show me where joy is found. Let me face this year with passion and patience and red hot courage. You have these gifts to give, and You are the One who has taught me to desire them.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from human oppression,
that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine on your servant
and teach me your decrees. (Psalm 119:132-135)
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. (Psalm 119:37)