I find myself daily wanting new things when old ones break. My computer has been slow lately due to the lack of space on it, and my mind has been fixated on only one thought - how fast can I figure out how to get a new computer. I don't even consider the idea of clearing out memory, or investing in an external hard drive. I want the easiest fix, even if it's more expensive.
I think my mind may work that way spiritually. I find something wrong with me, and I want the Lord to rip it out of me and replace it with a brand new part. I want the quick fix that removes the virus and programs the latest edition software that is working at optimum speed. I'm not interested in taking the time to meticulously take something apart, find the problem, and slowly rebuild while accounting for the weak area.
God reprogrammed us once - when we gave ourselves to Him. He makes us new when we believe in Him and replaces the old. From that point on we "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" with Him (Philippians 2:12). To continue with the computer analogy, He doesn't keep giving us new hard drives...He already equipped us with a brand new one that is fully-empowered and very specific to us. So when we run across kinks later, He doesn't ditch what He's given us, He works with us to perfect what is there. He gave me new life, so when I "break" it, He doesn't throw out the life He gave me, He painstakingly picks up the pieces, putting them back together - reformatting me so that I "work" again.
All this to say, it matters when I let viruses in...it matters when I sin. There are consequences. This new body and soul that He gave me when I accepted Him are not invincible to the troubles of this world - to Satan and sin. Sin and its consequences will put dents into my new frame, and may even penetrate and try to reprogram me. And sometimes, it will succeed.
But the Lord is faithful. I have to be patient and realize that God is not going to throw me out every time a virus invades, or I let down my firewall (now I'm just being way too nerdy). God is going to take me apart, piece by piece, help me find where the damage was done, and then slowly put me back together in a different order to counteract that damage.
My experiences, dings, and dents don't disappear, then. God doesn't wipe them away. He uses them to create new software that is more developped - wiser, maybe. New programs are created that are not susceptible to as much, and they are created around the damages, and even in spite of them.
I just have to be patient. But it's worth it, I think...well, I hope, and I believe. It just takes time.
I've already been recreated once, and that was enough. Now that I'm recreated, I just need to be refined. Refinement is harder, and it hurts more, but I think God will show me in time that it's worth it.
Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
God is teaching me some things lately. I don't think it's bad to wander...for a time. We need experiences to learn. We need new settings to attempt new things. We need change to develop. C.S. Lewis describes this phenomenon as "finding your face." He illustrates it in his fictional story, Til We Have Faces. His idea is that we aren't who we are until we have "found our face" - until we find and know our identity. Then we can live as we were meant to live, and be the person we were meant to be.
I believe that finding face means finding a spot to grow - not a physical spot, necessarily, but a place in Christ. We are, after all, made in His image. We are His body. What part am I, then? What part are you? That is the place to find. And in that place do we begin growth. We're not growing up, however, we're growing down. Roots.
After finding our place in the body of Christ, I believe we then dig in for the long haul, and begin the slow process of penetrating the soil and reaching downward and outward. Downward, of course, into the depths of Christ. Outward, then, is reaching for the other plants or believers planted firmly in Christ alongside you. This process continues until we cannot be moved by any outside force, and until we have connected and intertwined with the believers around us.
My initial thought is of horror. Firmly planted? I can't do that...my heart will burst. I have a friend who says all the time that she goes where the wind blows. I relate completely. My heart cries freedom, and I envy the herds of wild horses that run free and passionate, and move at will. But who created me? Who made me free-spirited and passionate and on fire? The Lord, of course - the one in whom I am now firmly planted, or beginning to plant myself would be a more accurate discription. He knows my heart and soul; He created them. He made me the way I am. When I "find my face," I am not really finding anything new, I am merely realizing how He has already made me, and where my place is in His body, in His plan.
I'm beginning to see that if I will firmly plant myself in Him, and dig my roots in deep, then when He moves, I'll move with Him...I won't be left behind because my roots will hold me fast.
I'm tired of wandering, but I'm not tired of adventure. I am ready, though, to relinquish my wanderlust for the desire to grow deep in Christ. I'm ready for Him to take me where He goes. I have a feeling His adventures are better than the ones I've dreamed up.
I haven't written in a while...been busy thinking. I do that a lot. My thoughts have been disjointed at best, but they've been there nonetheless - whirling and twirling like a tornado, ripping a pathway through my mind, grabbing from where it will, and leaving nothing but dust.
It took my first three years of college to "grow up" and really figure out who I am in the Lord. Now that I'm here, I'm getting ready to have to leave...to make more changes. So what happens now? More growing up? Or maybe just growing better.
As children we have growing pains. Growing hurts - physically, emotionally, sometimes spiritually. Especially as children when we are growing so much. As we age, however, the growing process lessens its intensity and becomes more gradual. Instead of adding a couple inches a year, maybe just a single wrinkle forms on the face. It's less painful, but better...we've learned how to grow, and it's a natural process that we are accustomed to, rather than just beginning to figure it out.
We resist this process of growing up all our lives, until we figure out how it works. We don't want to be old or taller until we realize that everyone grows old and taller...and until we see our friends growing old or taller. Then we're ready. We don't want to be the last ones to reach the monkey bars on the playground.
Change is one of my favorite things, now. It's why fall is my favorite season...the leaves die, shedding all the old growth off of the trees, the trees rough it out during the winter months, braving the cold wind in preparation for new growth - for beautiful change. And that change brings life. The wonderful process starts with losing leaves, though...a step that seems to take a step backward.
Growing is beautiful. To grow and change is hard and wonderful and necessary. To grow is to die and be reborn, over and over. To grow is to redeem and be redeemed. If that's the case, I can't wait to grow and keep growing, to change and keep changing, in order to retain life.
"And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts" (2 Kings 3:16-17).
Three armies were perishing of thirst, and the LORD interposed. Although He sent neither cloud nor rain, yet He supplied an abundance of water. He is not dependent upon ordinary methods but can surprise His people with novelties of wisdom and power. Thus are we made to see more of God than ordinary processes could have revealed. Although the LORD may not appear for us in the way we expect, or desire, or suppose, yet He will in some way or other provide for us. It is a great blessing for us to be raised above looking to secondary causes so that we may gaze into the face of the great First Cause. Have we this day grace enough to make trenches into which the divine blessing may flow? Alas! We too often fail in the exhibition of true and practical faith. Let us this day be on the outlook for answers to prayer. As the child who went to a meeting to pray for rain took an umbrella with her, so let us truly and practically expect the LORD to bless us. Let us make the valley full of ditches and expect to see them."
Later that day, I went to a specialist at the Ear, Nose, and Throat center.
My left ear was the healthy one.
Twenty dollars later, my right ear was ready to go, stained purple from the medicine she put in.
We are all limited in our perceptions. The first doctor didn't have the knowledge to diagnose my problem. He knew what he needed to know; he listened to my symptoms and prescribed me medication accordingly. But he did not have the specialty to investigate my ear closely and see exactly what was wrong. He was going to get rid of the symptoms. The second doctor I saw wanted to get rid of the problem.
Many of us perceive "symptoms" well. Symptoms are the visible and/or perceivable aspects of our lives. I mean, some people don't perceive anything, but usually symptoms are easy to see.
It's always hard to see what's creating the symptoms - what's making us do the things we do, and be the things we are. It takes someone who's been there. It takes someone who is an expert in that area. Those are hard to find.
Until then, I'm going to try to keep my perceptions to a minimum. I think it's healthy to be observant. We need to know what's going on around us. I also think it's good to make perceptions, if you happen to be perceptive (which I am). But I think we should be careful to subscribe a prescription based on a perception of a symptom, rather than a knowledge of the problem.
God is really the only one who can identify the problem. Sometimes he shows us the problems, but most of the time we're left to unravel symptoms. All we have is what we see and perceive in light of what we know to be true. We have to trust God to guide us in our decisions we make based off of the perceptions and conclusions that we draw.
Until He shows us, I think we should leave the diagnosing up to Him and avoid putting purple dye in the wrong ear.
My senior year of high school, I decided that Jonah was my favorite book in the Bible...I said it was because I could relate to his rebellious nature. It's still my favorite book, I think, but not for the same reason. My prior reason was very self-focused; I liked reading the book because I could relate. Now I like the book because of how I see the character of God, and the message of the Gospel.
It is so good.
Jonah, when you strip everything down, is all about sin and grace. People sin. God shows mercy and grace. Every time. Even if you're the people of Ninevah - historically speaking, some of the worst and immoral people of their time, even in non-Jewish eyes. And even if you're Jonah, and you know better, and still sin.
Not only did Jonah know better, but he was a renowned prophet. Renowned. That means he had a history of hearing Truth from the Lord, speaking that Truth to people, and then watching it come true...time and time again. This is the guy that ran away from God.
A couple of things that I've learned:
1. There will always be a ship to Tarshish.
Jonah knew what was right; he knew he had to go and warn the people of Ninevah. But that was hard. The people of Ninevah were cruel and might hurt him. And there was an easy and ready way out - the ship to Tarshish. What is my ship to Tarshish? It may look a little different every time, but as well as you know yourself, Satan knows you better...and he will recognize patterns of weakness in your life, and send a ship your way. I need to know that ship when I see it, and run from it. I don't want to be standing on the dock when it shows up.
2. His grace is the only important thing...ever.
This is a little harder for me to explain. I'll start with a word-picture that Beau Hughes used in his sermon and expand upon it a little. Picture an orchestra - a world-class orchestra with every instrument imaginable. And the conductor knows what he's doing...he's been doing it for years. In fact, he put together this orchestra from the beginning, and he knows exactly who is in it. He knows how well they play - individually and together. He knows their strengths and weaknesses and has organized them accordingly. He is good at directing his orchestra, and he has the full piece of music in front of him. He doesn't even have to look at it; he knows it so well.
Sometimes members of the orchestra make mistakes; that happens. Nobody plays perfectly every time. But they try every time. And the conductor directs them knowing that they make mistakes sometimes...like I said before, he knows their weaknesses. He knows that when it's time for the strings to come in, he has to emphasize that point or else they'll miss their cue. He knows that the trumpets tend to get carried away if he doesn't warn them before they need to cut off. Sometimes the clarinets get distracted by the deep sounds of the bassoons, but the conductor knows this and asks the bassoons to lower their sound, and sometimes moves the clarinets to another section.
The conductor knows everything. He knows, and he works out the music despite the problems, using each section's strengths and abilities. He doesn't expect perfection.
He does, however, expect everyone to follow the music that he has composed. When the saxophone strays from the music and starts off on a solo that wasn't scripted, the conductor is not happy. Here, the conductor must take action. You see, the saxophone is trying to be the conductor - trying to write in his own part. But the saxophone is just a saxophone, and not the conductor. He must either go back to playing his part and reading the music the conductor has written, or leave the orchestra. There can only be one conductor.
God is the same way...He doesn't expect us to be perfect. In fact, He knew we would never be perfect, and so sent Jesus as propitiation for our sins. He does look at our hearts, however, and if we're not following His way, trying to read His music, He must take action.
Jonah stopped playing the right song. He ran to the ship to Tarshish, and started belting out a solo - one that would be the biggest mistake of his life. He tried to rewrite the music.
Why did he try to rewrite the music? This is the key part.
Jonah 2:4 says, "...That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. "
Jonah started writing his own music because he knew that God was gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Jonah wanted judgement. God always desires mercy. Always. And God has been and is so faithful to show mercy and grace, that Jonah refused to obey God, knowing that God would come through and show the wickedest people of his time love and grace.
What a beautiful realization and understanding of our God. I may not always hit every note, but He knows....and He helps me along. He gives me that extra cue, and moves me to a section where I can only see Him. And if I start to get a little arrogant, and bust out into my own solo, He'll stop the music and draw my eyes back to Him, back to the music that He has written.
"I know that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
I'm not very good at playing clarinet. Oh but He knows.
My former roommate and dear friend Abby Perry said this in her latest post, and I don't think I can say it any better. I am so glad that He is nothing like us. And I am experiencing so much joy in the fact that He has made us a little like Him, and that He wants to bring us to His side in the end.
Every day, in that light, is being saved by an incredible Redeemer who wants to redeem us to be like Him in this world. He lets us be like Him.
What a privilege. What a joy.
I have a beach ball in my room.
During my cleaning escapades, I found a sad, deflated, never-been-used beach ball. I had one of my friends blow it up just for fun - one of those whims that I get sometimes.
I think I'm going to leave it inflated. It adds some color and life to my room, and reminds me of summer. It makes me smile and think about playing, and joy, and happiness.
In a previous post I talked about shedding my "summer skin" and moving on - the old is gone, the new has come. But just because that summer skin is gone, and everything that was with it, doesn't mean that it was never there in the first place. Things don't disappear around here; God is not a magician. Things are renewed, restored, remade, redeemed....He is a Redeemer.
My beach ball reminds me of that - that my "summer" has been redeemed. It hasn't been erased, it hasn't been forgotten. It has been reborn...and the things that lacked joy, have it now in a new form.
The things behind me are still there, but they have been redeemed and recreated into memorials, memories, and hopes. And now they make me smile.
See what He has done for you. Go get yourself a beach ball :).
I've been thinking a lot about God for the past year or so....about who He is, how we interact with Him, how we see Him, and how He sees us. These thoughts were spurred on by watching people around me, and seeing how so many people live life so differently. In particular, how so many Christians live and enact their faith differently day-to-day.
I love hearing people talk about how they see God, because they often see Him differently than I do....everyone has a unique perspective. Everyone I meet seems to love Him in a new way that I haven't seen before. It's like my brother and I - we both love our parents, but we show them in different ways, and we live out our relationships with them differently. I don't know what Ben would do if he was confined to showing love by grocery shopping with my Mom, and by cooking with my Dad.
Ben and I are in the same family, but our identities and roles in that family are different, and look different. We would never expect them to look the same, and to ask us to do that would be unreasonable and unrealistic.
In expressing our love differently for one another, we experience freedom. I am at liberty to love my family in the ways I do it best. I am at liberty to be myself within my family, and not try to be my brother, or anyone else, for that matter.
This does not mean that I should not sacrifice; freedom does not mean no limitations. The beauty of being at liberty to love is that it's a choice. My expression of that love is not limited by others or myself.
I am required to love; I have freedom in how I do it.
Love has variations, I have liberty in experiencing and expressing that love, and God is like a disco ball.
This is only metaphorically speaking, and this is just the way that my mind has tried to grasp a God that no one can explain, and few understand. In my feeble attempts to understand God, the best way that I can verbalize my thoughts is by describing a disco ball.
A disco ball is the same material all the way through in that it doesn't change. The material that it is made of is consistent. A disco ball is a disco ball is a disco ball. Just like God is God is God, and He never changes.
A disco ball also has many "faces." God has many characteristics. Loving, just, merciful, righteous anger, omnitience, sovereign, gracious, etc. The disco ball shows all of its faces all of the time. God, in the same way, exemplifies all of His characteristics all of the time. There is never a time when He is not something that He is. As humans, we are limited, and often love sometimes, show anger sometimes, mercy other times, etc. God, when He is loving me, is hating sin and the devil. When He showed mercy to us as sinners, He poured out His wrath and justice on Jesus at the cross. God is always everything that He is. He cannot not be God.
When I stand in front of a disco ball, I am limited in my vision, and can only see some of the faces directly on the disco ball. But I CAN see the effect that all of the faces of the disco ball have on the room (all the colors and spots, etc.). You may be standing on the other side of the room, and seeing different faces on the disco ball, but you see the effect on the room as well.
Everyone in the room will see different sides and faces of the disco ball, but we're not looking at different disco balls, just different aspects of it. Our different positions limit our vision and understanding. We all see it reflecting in the room, though, and then when we talk about our different sides that we see, we start to better understand how all the reflections are being made the way they are. We're sharing our pictures of the disco ball....or of God.
God's character allows for us to share our love at liberty, because He has so many different expressions of His character. His relationship to each of us is unique, so we should thrive in our variety of expressions of love.
Thrive in the liberty of love and disco :).
The Bewildering Call of God
’. . . and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.’ . . . But they understood none of these things . . . —Luke 18:31, 34
God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken. His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God’s. But what seemed to be failure from man’s standpoint was a triumph from God’s standpoint, because God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose.
This bewildering call of God comes into our lives as well. The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea— no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes. Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires. The things that happen do not happen by chance— they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.
If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, "I wonder why God allowed this or that?" And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.
Summer '08 has kept me on my toes. Spending an entire night in the ER with a friend I barely knew who busted his head open. We know each other now. Training for and running/biking a Duathlon. A huge challenge and hurdle for me. I can't wait for more. A new job doing graphic design.....my dream. This summer has been different, but good.
Last night I was privileged to attend a John Mayer concert. First of two concerts this summer, and it was fantastic. Spectacular. I feel almost as though many of his lyrics spoke to my memories as well as my hope for the future.
"just keep me where the light is."
"Good love is on the way/I've been lonely but I know, I'll be ok/Good love is on the way"
"Why is it not my time?/What is there more to learn?/Shed this skin I've been tripping in/Never to quite return"
There were more, but I'm trying to be brief. Dave Matthews is August 15, and I can't wait.
I realized last night at the concert, that Jesus can be found everywhere. Even there. Even in a stadium with shirtless John Mayer standing up on stage, singing his heart out about the love and life that's in his heart, not realizing the Truth in his words.
I'll be looking for Jesus at Dave Matthews too. We should look for Jesus everywhere.
"On the night you left I came over
And we peeled the freckles from our shoulders
Our brand new coats so flushed and pink
And I knew your heart I couldn't win
Cause the seasons change was a conduit
And we left our love in our summer skin"
It's like in high school when your parents wouldn't let you go to that party, but you wanted to go so badly. Then Monday rolls around and you hear about the cops busting it. You sigh in relief that you weren't there, and decide that you had never really wanted to go anyways. That's a weak victory. Of course you would have gone.
God does the same thing. He knows when we're not strong, and so He helps us by changing circumstances a little. We may be peeved for a little while, but hindsight cures us of our resentment. It's the weak victory that I'm thankful for, because it's the weak victory that makes me realize God is more in control than I think He is.
"In my weakness, He is strong."
The prophet Jeremiah is a striking example of the biblical paradox that surrender means victory, that in losing our life we find it. (BM)
These two quotes come from Brennan Manning's book, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. Mmm....just the title causes the corners of my mouth to uncontrollably turn up in a smile. These are hard truths. I'm living and learning them.
I'm listening to the song Two Step, by Dave Matthews right now. The lyrics contrast with these quotes, and yet they seem to coincide. I've been thinking about these song lyrics now for a while.....waiting for some inspiring thought to string together in my mind and form a revelation of some sort that will end up here for you to see. Still waiting....
Say, my love, I came to you
With best intentions
You laid down and gave to me just what
Love, you drive me to distraction
Hey my love do you believe that we
Might last a thousand years
Or more if not for this?
Our flesh and blood it ties
You and me right up
Tie me down
Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
Were climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue,
These things we cannot change
Hey, my love, you came to me like
Wine comes to this mouth
Grown tired of water all the time
You quench my heart and you
Quench my mind
Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain
Were climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue,
The things we cannot
...Things we cannot change
I don't know how to help right now except to pray.
So please pray.
Here is a link to a documentary about the situation:
2. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. (Oswald Chambers)
I'm wrestling with these right now.
I'm mainly reconciling the idea that it's good to make a good impression and be well-liked, with the idea that my principles and beliefs should stand firm no matter what. There is also the factor of being sensitive to others to consider.
I'm also dwelling on the fact that I currently reside in a society that is unjust, and yet my life is held to a higher standard, and I must operate justly within the confines of an unjust system.
"Don't lose the dreams inside your head, they'll only be there til you're dead, dream..."
(Dave Matthews Band)
I've been thinking a lot about dreams lately - the ones I have for my life, the ones other people have for me, and the ones I know God has planned. I'm learning that as I grow up and mature, all of these dreams begin to resonate with one another, and I begin to find direction. It doesn't matter that I don't know where I'm going to end up, at least I have some sort of way to turn and follow (Isaiah 30:21 says, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the Way; walk in it.'").
I firmly believe in purpose. Humans have all sorts of purposes in their lives. To me, purpose seems to compliment identity. My purpose as a daughter is to honor my parents. My purpose as a sister is to love my brother. My purpose as a roommate is to live in community and be a caretaker of my house. My purpose as a student is to study and learn to the best of my ability to obtain a degree. My purpose as an Aggie is to represent A&M and carry on the tradition. And the list could go on and on.
My purpose as a Christian is to know God and make Him known. Funny how our most important purpose seems the most ambiguous and hard to define. I'm learning that the point of our seemingly mysterious purpose is to focus on the purpose-Giver rather than the purpose itself. However, that purpose is important as well, because it is the Way we walk (see Isaiah 30:21 again. God whispers direction, but we walk in it.).
I'm watching people all around me drop their dreams (or purpose) for opportunities or blessings along the way. At first this seems legitimate; after all, isn't a good thing, a good thing? But what about your dreams? What about the things you hold in your heart, and maybe don't let anyone else see? The things that your body aches to see come to pass?
I'm learning that my age-old method of seeing one door close and waiting for a window to open may not be the right way. Dreams tend to unfold rather than open and close, so you only see part of it for a while. Sometimes I think it is good to close an open door in front of you to keep waiting for that other door that your heart tells you will open eventually.
Sometimes it is good to say no to what is in front of you, so that you can say yes to something later. Something better, maybe.
God is teaching me to let go of what's around me, search my heart for the dreams He has given me, and to cling to His promise of fulfilling His purpose for me. There are certain dreams I have that I know could have only come from Him, and He's teaching me to treasure them in my heart because they're from Him. And if I keep looking at Him, He'll either bring them to pass, or give me new dreams.
I'm just looking at Jesus, holding onto my dreams, and praying that He makes them His.
My writing progress seems to match my life right now. I can't really describe it, except that I feel like God has picked me up from one place in my life, and instead of being set down in a new place, I'm dangling in the air like one of those stuffed animals caught in the arm of a broken arcade. Don't get me wrong, it's exhilerating not knowing when I'm going to drop and be hurtled down to the collection slot; I can't wait to drop out and be taken by the next good thing that comes my way. At the same time it's hard to just sit up here, legs dangling.
The strange thing is, I'm not even holding on. My grip is loosened, and I'm at the whim and pleasure of a God that won't let me go until He's ready. Psalm 115:3 says, "Our God is in His heaven, He does whatever pleases Him." I've recited that verse a lot lately.
Another strange phenomenon is that I don't feel purposeless. In fact, I feel more purposed and satisfied now than ever before in my life. I feel disenchanted, in a way, to life and the things of this world, and my greatest awareness is Him, holding me up until He's ready to set me down in the place He wants for me.
That's one thing I've learned while dangling - that everything is nothing, and nothing is everything. He is all I need. The stuffed animals in the arcade machine have their friends while they're still in the machine, and they have a great kid to play with once their out, but while they're in the arm, they have nothing but the cold, plastic or metal arm. Okay, now I'm just being way too dramatic.
The difference here, is that I still technically have the things and people around me, I just don't see them as much. Or maybe I'm beginning to see them for what and who they really are - representations of another life, pictures of something bigger, and a taste of what's to come. Their purpose is to point us to Him, however, and never to replace Him.
To begin another metaphor, I feel as though I've left the dead of Winter, Spring has arrived and the seed in the ground is sprouting. But it hasn't broken through, yet. I do not know what will grow. All I have is hope.
On another level, we are all dangling in the arms of Jesus. We have been picked up out of the pit of sin and despair, and He is holding us until He can set us before His throne in Heaven. We can kick and scream and fight it, and maybe even fall back into the pit for a while, but He's going to pick us up again, and we'll be limp in His arms once again.
Maybe if we see this, we'll stop living like this life is the end, and we'll start living like it's only the beginning - full of hope. I long for my eyes to only see Jesus.
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
During one of the worship times, we sang the song "Better is One Day." I'll post some of the lyrics below.
"Better is one day in Your courts
Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
Than thousands elsewhere."
Simple lyrics, but as I was singing, I wondered if I could really sing it truthfully. "Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere." That's a pretty big Truth to claim. I started thinking about what that really means if I sing it truthfully.
It means that my lifetime means nothing to me in comparison to one day in His courts. It means that my heart is satisfied here, but longs for His house more. It means that given the opportunity, I would leave my place here in an instant to be by His side. That's hard to believe!
I stopped singing, and I prayed for my heart to line up with this statement. I just want to challenge you to do the same. Imagine a people who longed for Him so much that one day with Him was truly better than a thousand here on earth. How passionate and focused we would be on eternity and His throne!
My prayer is that we believe that one day in His courts IS better than thousands elsewhere. He is always better.