Today it’s raining. Finally. I have longed for a rainy day for many reasons, but mostly to feel “ok” to not be okay. As the rain falls outside, so do the tears of my heart on the inside.
I haven’t written in a long while. Here at least, that is. Slowly but surely I have been making headway, as the Lord leads, offline. Sometimes the words that come out have been difficult for me to read. “How is that so,” you might ask, seeing as how I am the one writing them. Well. Sometimes the road to the end of yourself is long and slow.
At times I’ve thought, “ok now. Now I have hit the bottom.” But no. God has a way of only allowing us to bear what He has equipped us to carry.
Also at times I have begged, “God please, I am already so low, so done, so crushed in spirit, there is no further place to go. Can you please, go ahead and empty the dump truck already.”
The truth is He could. But He loves me too much to do that. He knows me intimately well, He did create me after all. He knows that, left under a heap of rubble, in my pride I would attempt to dig myself out. There may be progress. A little here, a little there. But ultimately, I would rely on myself to get out.
You know, in a “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” kind of way. Muscle it out. Faith it away. But, once again, that is self reliance. Ugly.
“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave [and] go to a land that I will show you.”Genesis 12:1
Notice the direction? “Go.” In the full verse, God describes leaving behind all that is known. All. Everything.
God intentionally left out all the details. Why? Did He say to Himself, “this is going to be entertaining. Now I’ll just sit back and see how he figures this one out.” No, of course not. God knew what Abraham (at that time still Abram) did not. He knew the bumps, detours and setbacks that would occur ahead. But Abram didn’t.
Abram did know that he had a choice. To trust. Or not.
Can you even imagine what it was like to be in his sandals? Remember, he didn’t have the full context of the rest of the Old and New Testament. For those of us who have been studying God’s word for any length of time, we’ve been filled with SO much context, perspective and resolution. Which, by the way, is a wonderful thing. We know, as Evan Williams put it, that if you “cut the Bible anywhere, it bleeds.”
Unfortunately, this sometimes can hinder us from really getting into the context of a particular scripture, slowing down long enough to allow God to open our eyes to even deeper meaning. And this idea of “going to a land I will show you,” is one I have been meditating on for quite some time now.
Here is how it may have played out had I been the one talking with God.
G: “Get up and go.”
M: “Absolutely Lord! I have longed for this calling! Where to?”
G: “I’ll show you.”
M: (( waiting ))
G: “Well… Get going.”
M: “But you said you would show me.”
G: “You haven’t moved. I won’t force you.”
M: “How am I to know where to even begin?”
G: “Just start walking. You can trust me daughter.”
M: “Okay, sounds good. I know I can trust you. Which way?”
G: “Which way what child?”
M: “Which way should I start walking? …”
G: “That’s your choice.”
M: “My choice? But you just told me to ‘go.’ As in, You are leading…?”
G: “And then I said, ‘I’ll show you.’ As you go beloved.”
M: “What? Wait a minute. You said to ‘go.’ I was somewhat comfortable where I was. Not perfectly fine, but good enough. So I said I would go, and you said you would show me where, but you’ve given me no direction. No place to launch from. What if you want me to go right and I go left? Then I have already made the wrong choice, which is super typical of me. What if I do happen to pick ‘the right path’ only to find that it’s lead to a place I never thought I would end up, nor a place I ever wanted to go. Are you sure you know the desires of my heart? Or – worse… I go, in the direction ‘I thought I heard you say’ only to find out that I was chasing what I wanted all along and now I have wasted so much time and effort. You created me! You know how much I cannot stand inefficiency. It’s so wasteful. You know that – you’re the one that planted these things in me. These desires. And yes, now I’m sitting here, all in my head about the whole thing. Haven’t moved an inch. I’m already frustrated that I have wasted this much time pondering, well arguing really (if I’m honest), where you’re even taking me. I’m so broken. You’re never going to have me in an acceptable state to accomplish anything for you. I’m a hot mess. This is so like me. Analysis paralysis. I’m not sure what’s worse. When I sit and ponder all the ‘what if’s’ out in my head all while becoming overwhelmed with how to even start. OR – my other method of choice. Shoot, ready, aim. Overzealously I just start sprinting in the direction I ‘feel’ you leading. Unprepared. Only to hit the first road block and second guess everything. ‘Why didn’t I see this coming? Why am I like this?’ I am so lost.”
G: (( silence ))
M: “Really? Now this. Silence. How kind.”
G: “I’m just letting you finish.”
M: “Finish what!?”
G: “Coming to the end of yourself.”
I get it.
You see my spirit is willing.
But this earthly tent that I dwell in
is so very weak.
Over the last year, I’ve been on a journey. A new chapter in this journey called life. T’is a season, as they all are. Though this has been one like none other. Crushing. Incapacitating at times. Brutal.
But also, beautiful.
My friend it’s these times in life, the ones that seem as though you’re unable to breathe, that should we choose to allow Him, God will use to transform us into who He created us to be.
If you hear nothing else from this, know that one simple truth.
Regardless of what you may think, or claim to “know”:
God created you in His image. You have the very thumbprint of the creator written in your DNA.
And that my friend, is worth living for.
And so, I will leave you with these parting thoughts. First, one from our former President. Another great Abraham.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside.
If we falter and lose our freedoms,
it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America
These days in our country are tough. Many words come to mind to describe just how many of us are feeling. Saddened puts it mildly.
And I’ll be honest, I have gone through waves of depression over the last several months. Like the waves of the sea, so have my emotions ebbed. One moment high on the ridge of a peaking wave, catching perspective as I look back at the shore. Only then to be blindsided by the next wave and brought low yet again.
I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the ocean, but I can tell you there are days that I can look at those white caps and say, “no thanks.” I don’t even want to engage because I already know the undercurrent that will take me down. And so the days have gone by as well. Some of which, many – again if I am painfully honest, I have awoken to feel at the pit of despair. “God, are you seeing this?! Lord Jesus, won’t you return already!?”
In the wake of a pandemic that is still plaguing us eight months later, many things have boiled to the surface of our lives. The things we once held closely have been scattered. The forced pause this virus has caused has been both good and bad. In the beginning, I know I was thankful for the mandated “be still.” I could use a little rest… So don’t mind if I do.
All the things that once forced me to run at warp speed had effectively been cancelled. Now what? All this open time, yet nowhere to be.
Reading a book, something once only allowed in that sliver of time before my eyelids grew too heavy to lift, was now a luxury of which I could afford. Reading while the sun was out, was this really ok? To sit outside in the early spring sun, allowing it to warm and darken my skin, something felt wrong. I felt like I was cheating. Stealing time. From whom I’m not really sure.
Walks… Oh, sweet walks. Walks together. Walks alone. Games. Card games. Board games. Frisbee, soccer and football. The creek, the mountains, the fields all around us. Adventures that were all along seated right under our noses, yet unseen due to the busyness of the way life used to be.
Fast-forward to August 2020. As I sit here today, our country is in turmoil. There is hurting and angst among brothers and sisters. In families, marriages, and friendships. Strangers who’ve never met have an animosity toward one another before seeking to understand where the other is coming from.
This of course is all spun up because for the most part we aren’t seeking to have a conversation. We aren’t, unfortunately, seeking to understand. Instead we have sought to be heard. It’s easier to re-tweet, post and share thoughts of which we subscribe before doing our due diligence to determine if we are spreading fact or propaganda.
I’m guilty too by the way. I’ll be the first to admit that.
So, may I just say a couple of things?
To my black and brown brothers and sisters: Your life matters. Without question. We all bleed red. And in the red blood, we all bear the image of our Creator written in our DNA. We’ve all come from the same gene pool.
May I just say that I mourn for the division that I see in our country. It pains me to see such hostility and violence. My heart is broken for humanity.
Yet I know One who is grieved more than I’ll ever comprehend. For this reason I hold hope. For He has promised to make all things new, and to work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
An encouragement my friends. Seek unity. Seek to communicate love. Seek to understand and not just be heard. Have the humility and willingness to not “win” an argument because the greater thing is peace. I’m not at all suggesting that we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe is right, and by all means seek to educate the uninformed. But we should do that with a humble heart. One that is grounded in love with the ultimate goal being restoration.
I know the One who is making all things new. The One who has begun a great work and will see it through to completion. (( Oh PRAISE God! ))