Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
It’s been a long night’s journey into day and my feet are growing weary from the travel. Just on the horizon a fire grows brighter, but I’ve traveled so long in darkness that my body recoils from the light. As much as the flesh draws back, though, the heart pushes on closer to the rays of sunshine coming up over the land. This journey began long ago, long before my feet ever touched the ground, but this very day was known in all its splendor and detail to the One who pieced me together. The sun is now coming up.
The night was so long as I ran from sun’s outstretched rays. Around the world I went just to outrun that fire in the sky that consumes all darkness, revealing what is hidden and dragging out into the open that which is well concealed. Through turning my back on God, through the rape, through the drugs and alcohol, through the hatred and rage, through the violence and lawlessness that became normal life, watch me run. “This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
But running without rest leaves the soul tired and dry, cracked on the heels, blistered on the toes, and parched at the lips. The heart resents the consistently fast pace and the body wearies of the pounding. It all begins to fall apart.
There is no depth too deep that God’s arms cannot reach you.
There is just no depth too deep.
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.” What I could not understand was the mercy that was being offered to me. What I could not understand was the forgiveness being given to me. What I could not understand was how a King could take my punishment upon himself. What I could not understand was a love so unconditional that even the darkness within me was covered by the blood He shed. What I could not understand was that no matter how far or how fast I ran, the Light was still waiting to shine on the horizon of my heart.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to you.”
So the running stops, and in the wee hours of the morning, the light of the Almighty begins to pierce the bitter obscurity that had become my existence. One by one, my sin, my hurt, my brokenness, my rage, my violence, my irreverence, and my hatred began to take shape, their forms revealed slowly by the long-awaited day. Just as sunshine pours through the tiny window of an unlit prison cell, revealing the cobwebs and dust of a stagnant, stale life, so the Light began to illuminate my life, causing my eyes to squint and turn away, and my heart to break for all the atrocities it harbored for so long.
Africa surrounds me now, where the rays of the mighty fire dance on the mountains just over the waters of the deep blue.
I am the acacia tree that sways as the Spirit blows.
I am the lion who stretches out in the warm air.
I am the hospitality that was so generously given to God’s servants.
I am the colors woven into the old woman’s dress.
I am the church bell chiming to the people.
I am the drum beating to the sound of a new life.
I am the rock crying out in the silence.
I am the child lifting her hands up to her daddy to be held.
I am the broken man sitting in the cold prison cell.
I am the babe living with the fatal disease.
I am the prostitute weeping at the feet of the great Teacher.
I am the dirty kid begging in the streets for a piece of bread.
I am the guitar that belts out melodies of thanksgiving and
I am the voice that cannot sing loud enough.
I am the mountain that can be moved by His mere voice.
I am the imperfect broken vessel that is being used by the Perfect Creator,
and I am the immovable cold prison walls that do not give way.
I am a small reflection of the immeasurable grace
that was so easily poured out to me.
I am the tear that rolls down the cheek of the hardened criminal.
I am the hardened criminal.
I am the forgiveness offered to the rapist behind bars,
and I am the victim turned survivor of that very rape.
I am a picture of all that is wrong, and I am picture of all that is right.
Africa surrounds me and has enveloped my heart.The incredible sun now hangs just above the mountains that dump into the oceans where my sin is buried. The Light now touches all that was once hidden, the cobwebs are torn down, the dust is brushed off, and what was once stagnant and stale is being moved out, stirred up, and stretched beyond all comfort for the glory of God. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” So it has been a long night’s journey into day, and it will now be a long day’s journey Home.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I am remembering that before the chaos of life became the heartache of life, I was not so distracted as I am now. Before the crying of babies, and pain of a broken relationship, God would put words in my heart to write and speak, to give testimony of who He is and what He does. I am remembering that He created me, even me, with gifts to share of His goodness. I am remembering that He did not create me to hide in shame for great failures, but to write of His redemptive power. Somehow, I lost myself in all of this, in the hardships of life and what I thought I was supposed to be. Letting go and moving on is hard, painful, but not impossible. And so I am taking a step, reclaiming who You made me to be.
Here is my first step.
Song of Surrender
I remember the music clearly, though I cannot recall the melody. At one point, I knew the words to the song, though they escape me now. I remembered hearing how we are to make a new song unto the Lord, and I always thought that was just for those who were gifted in the arts. I remember thinking, “that’s not for me. I don’t have the gift of creativity or music.” But as the music played, with a melody that I knew, though I cannot remember it now, my heart began to make new song unto the Lord. And the melody that I once knew was transformed into the cry of my heart, as the Holy Spirit danced out the melody of me.
I felt it, the Spirit, tangible, thick in my hands, but somehow not heavy or oppressive. Like a web that will not come off the fingers or out of the hair, without the impending fear of getting bit by that which spun the web. Like a thickness that enveloped my body, like a wax that poured over me, to remain warm and moldable, with room to move and fresh air to breathe. Covering, but not smothering. Encasing, but not smoldering. It filled me up, then invited me to dance. It wrapped me up, then unraveled me. And the song that I once knew was not the song that I sang, but became the backdrop of a new song altogether. I sang a song of surrender.
My mouth, it mumbled at first, full of fear to form the words that danced all over my tongue. What if it came out wrong? What if my song made no sense or didn’t rhyme? What if it just didn’t sound right? But the words continued to dance, and my mouth began to form them for want of any other option. And it sang a song of surrender.
The surrender flowed, deeper and deeper, and the melody intermingled with the Spirit, and the very air that I breathe, and my voice became clear and loud. And I sang a song of surrender.
I surrender my fears, as I have so many. I surrender my need for control. I surrender my comfort, as it is a constant reminder of how little my faith truly is. I surrender my relationships, and those whom I love, as I know that You loved them first. I surrender my life to the plans of the Creator, to be used to carry out the Great Commission as He desires. I surrender my crowns, my desires, and my heart. I surrender the throne to the One who truly belongs on it. I sang a song of surrender.
As I sang and my voice rang clearer, the weaknesses that were handed over became glory to the Christ. The Spirit draped itself over areas that were once my burdens to carry and my back became straighter and taller. I felt the Christ come under my arm, His strength holding me up higher than I’ve ever stood. The tears came pouring down, as I saw all that was ugly lifted from my back and placed on His, His smile unwavering and His strength unfailing. I turned my head in shame, paralyzed by my pride, and His hand gently touched my cheek, turning me to face Him fully.
Don’t be afraid, child. I’m with you now, as I always was.
Let’s finish this together.
And I sang a song of surrender.