Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Undone

" To read His message in all the moments, in the waiting moments, the dark moments, the moments before the blooming, I'll need to read His passion on the page; wear the lens of the Word, to read His writing in the world. Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world." 
Ann Voskamp



         Often it is in the moments of waiting, the moments of deep sadness, the times before the mountains are moved, sometimes understanding that they may never be moved-these moments- when I feel most like I am coming undone- when God is able to speak most clearly to my heart. Perhaps its the fact that I am so undone that I finally give up the striving, that illusion of being able and in control of life, and it is in this place that I finally know that whatever heart change, soul stirring and spirit waking that happens can only be the result of a miracle, something other than myself, not the result of anything I've done. It is here that I, mostly I think, understand Grace.
            These are hit-the-floor kind of moments where I am crying in a puddle of tears and acknowledge that I am too weak, too tired, too scared or frustrated to walk this path I've been given. It is here He reminds me "My grace is sufficient...My power is made perfect in weakness".
In those moments when I don't understand why we keep hitting brick walls when it comes to diagnoses and healing, family quarrels and heart matters, those moments when I just want to throw my hands up and say, "I am finished!!" Jesus reminds me that He said it first in those final moments on the cross when His hands were nailed but it was really His passion that kept him there. He didn't say these words in the way I mean them-in a selfish, fitful moment of frustration-He said them with love, unselfish, true love, because He is Love, and with a surrendering of all He is, to give Hope to all of me (even the selfish, quitting me). He said, "It is finished" for us, this whole broken world, because we are known by Him and also, so that we could know Him.
            I've heard this Cross Truth for years, most of my life really, but it all becomes a bit rehearsed until my heart comes undone. Just like if you say a word a hundred times, really fast, all in a row, it suddenly doesn't make sense to your brain and the meaning can become numb to your brain in the same way your tongue becomes numb while swirling it out; the understanding of what is happening in the Greatest Story ever told can kind of become commonplace, a little too familiar, or maybe even foreign, something alien.  It doesn't evoke emotion or a movement of the heart. Well, at least for my world-hardened, sleepy heart.
            I first questioned how hard my heart was to His Word, to His Life Story, only after my youngest (when she was about three? maybe four...) first heard of the Crucifixion at Easter one year. The simple account brought her to tears, many times, and we had conversations over many days about how Jesus died. I tried to remind her that Jesus is ALIVE! He rose from the grave! But she would have none of the celebration until she first mourned His death. It wasn't familiar to her, and her heart broke. And when she was finally able to rejoice in His resurrection, her heart was even more joyful than I could have imagined.
            I do not want to live hardened to the truth, the hard truths and the joyful truths, of His Word. I am learning that C.S. Lewis hit it right on (of course he did) when he said, "Relying on God has to begin all over again everyday as if nothing had yet been done." And yet even as I begin again each morning, as I lean close, rely on and trust in this God Who is so much more than I could ever know or imagine, my heart is beginning to wake, to stir.


I am learning that the only way for me to "do the next thing”, to get up off that floor after I have spent time grieving, to live the life I've been gifted with, is to first be in His Word, to know it, to let my heart be rent by the reality of His death and then to rejoice in the resurrected victory of His life. To use His Word as a "lens" to see the rest of the world around me, to see my life as whole instead of just wholly broken.
            In the world today, looking through this "lens", is often seen as nonsense, an upside down kind of living. Lose your life to keep it? The meek will be rich? Strength found in quietness and trust? Rejoice in trial? This isn't how we are programmed to live today. It all seems a bit far-fetched, over the top, too much. I want an answer that tells me how I can gain victory through something I can do, some credit I deserve, and definitely not by losing anything, or by being meek or sick or (and my hubby can corroborate this point) by being quiet.
But when I read the Truth that pours from the pages, when I read it as it is, a love story between the Creator and His Creation, something within me stirs.

            Matthew Henry said,
" Whatever we are deprived of, we have our immortal souls, those jewels of more worth than all the world, continued to us; even those that kill the body cannot hurt them."

            Yes. That part of me, the "immortal soul" part of me, is stirred. The part that is seeking something that is more than the riches that can be stolen or burned or taxed. The part of me that is looking for love and approval that is unconditional, when every human I've ever met has, rightly, had limitations and conditions. The part of me that seeks health and wholeness. The part of me that seeks lasting joy, pleasure and peace, when no place or thing in this world on it's own gives me reason to believe that these things could ever be found apart from the God of the Bible. The part of me that knows there is something more than just this breath of a life, that just the fact that I can wonder about an afterlife leads to the reasoning that there must be one.
            Looking at these hard things through the  "lens" of His Word does not diminish their pain or disappointment, does not take away the heart-ache that often comes with them, but it does offer a changed perspective. And so with this lens, the craziest thing happens. These brick walls, they crumble, and suddenly I see these moments not as only the hardest things, but also as the things that have kept me most alive, which are growing me into my truest self, the things which have really awakened my soul and stirred my heart. "Wearing the lens of the Word" causes me to see the world around me, to see myself, to see these undoing moments in a different light. In His Light. And it is only in His Light that our souls, those "jewel(s) of more worth than all the world" can rightly shine.



"Come, soul, wake up: thou are not now about to read the newspaper; thou art not now perusing the pages of a human poet to be dazzled by his flashing poetry; thou art coming very near to God, who sits in the Word like a crowned monarch in his halls. Wake up, my glory; wake up all that is within me. Though just now I may not be praising and glorifying God, I am about to consider that which should lead me to do so, and therefore it is an act of devotion. So be on the stir, my soul: be on the stir, and bow not sleepily before the awful throne of the Eternal."
C. H. Spurgeon


To Stir your heart: 
Psalm 18:28-Micah 7:8-Matthew 17:20-Matthew 26:39-2 Corinthians 12:9-10-John 19:30-Romans 5:6-John 18-John 19-John 20-Matthew 18:34-Matthew 10:39-Matthew 5:5-Isaiah 30:15
James 1:2-Matthew 6:19-24-John 3:16