selfishness stares me right in the face with an undeserved contentment on her own.
i break eye contact and stuff my face back between pages. this only lasts so long and my mind jumps from one "what-if" to the next while my stomach ties itself like a shoelace, double-knotted.
i read the same paragraph for the fourth time, retaining none of it. finally i exhale and the book lies facedown on the cushion and i close the soul-windows and allow my soul to be searched by the only One capable.
selfishness is. but it is not master.
selflessness is. greater reality. promise.
if surrender. if the heart is willing to be broken and anchor it's hope in unshakable rock rather than drifty sand below sometimes- storm-tossed seas.
rock. qualities and realities that don't change or move or depend on anything else to maintain their integrity.
sand. always uncertain, tentative, contingent on performance and competition and comfort. and the wind and the moon and the creatures that manipulate it's resting place.
selfishness is. but she holds no power that she isn't given.
selflessness is. and holds all power. all authority. even death has no voice where the selfless stand confident, willing to know shallow pain for deep joy and temporary discomfort for forever rest.
jesus, unshakable rock, be my rest, my confidence, my willingness to feel pain - to feel it deeply - but to know joy infinitely deeper.
Friday, November 25, 2016
"in Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence"
a few weeks ago ali recommended a group study of ephesians
and because i was too deep in 3 other books [not in the bible, lest you think that i'm trying to make myself sound so honorable]
at the time i didn't step in with the 3-4 that kept a steady dialogue going
but later, now
i remember walking those streets in early december exactly 10 years ago
2000-year-old columns and structures that tell only whispered stories of what the prosperous city used to be
but i remember hearing of the darkness that lived there, where the early church held on so faithfully to this new news of hope and purpose and messiah,
i remember the stadium that created space for gladiators and lions and all of the helpless victims
i remember talk of secret tunnels that led from library to brothel so the men of the city could indulge at whim without public knowledge
and i read here
that Christ came to create a new unified humanity out of the two volatile people groups
that He made it possible for mankind to approach God with freedom and confidence
until that moment of reconciling two humanities, of reconciling Creator with created
there was no access to such relationship
pain and suffering and death and confusion and loneliness landed heavily where they originated with no outlet for the burden and fear and distress
and it would have been fitting, appropriate, deserved
"like the rest, we were by nature deserving of great wrath. but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ"
all of the mercy, the punishment entirely deserved but withheld, all of the grace
a good God, a kind and selfless outlet for all of the pain within which sinful humanity lives
He carries the hurt and confusion and fear and offers a burden that is light on the shoulders,
hopeful to the spirit
and joy-filled, evident in the eyes
His presence, immanence, companionship, and burden-carrying are the greatest gifts
thank you, Jesus, for making a way where there was no way and where burden was forever our lot in life