Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All Creation turns to the sun, and with hands upraised and open, my heart is given back to its Maker. The swirling questions have come rolling out in unbroken praise, and at once the mind is renewed, remade and whole. The minors had become majors, and as a pen of horses fights for the lead, so my heart has violently vied for its knowing. The brewing has eclipsed into showers of glory and the love of God shed abroad again in this little rusty pot. Does the creature long for much more than to love and be loved? I say not, and in every experience of rejection and unrequited love, the soul withers into a corner of comfortable capacities and deals out its hand in domesticated doses. Nothing of God's wild glory in humanity is to be pinched or tamed into manageable compartments because of our fear. I believe, friends, that God is calling us into His radical labor of love, where the cost is our all, and the reward is to be spent for Him. Listen to the peals of harmonious thunder and the quakes of His unfailing love.
He is a God who showed Himself beautifully, again, on a freckled and buoyant face, the heir of laughter and love refined. He shows Himself in the heart's dance when souls unite, and sorrows smile together, upholding, uplifting, and understanding the other. Thank you, God, holy One, Yahweh.

Yahweh, holy is Your name

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Variations of the Canon" is being played by George Winston, a fire is roaring downstairs and my cold feet are tapping with the fervency I wish to communicate. So much beauty, and so much sorrow in this world! Adorning the halls of the grandest homes can lie hallow hearts and troubled minds, while true wealth is bound up in the broken-hearted for the Lord is near to Him... I wish to think on this, for I've been reading "Little Women" and my very soul has been curled up on Marmee's lap wishing I might wind up all my unraveled years of dissipation, and live them all again. Such is life, and I've one to live, and with much more resolve than before. I've marveled at this tale for several reasons, but mostly for how these young gals are much like you or I, and they speak to issues of the heart. Woven throughout are allusions to "Pilgrim's Progress" and the weight upon Christian's shoulders. Indeed, we each have a weight to bear, and oft it changes, but still it is a load. We grow weary of it, curse it, and try any other way to get from under its weight, forgetting that the burden becomes much lighter after carrying it awhile. The sweet mother in the tale is continually reminding her girls of this, and of the joys of obedience, and the promise awaiting them in Celestial city. They also think of their 'castles in the sky' and find great hope and solace in dreaming their grandest imaginings, for such is how we've been made. Dream big friends, and pick up your bundles--tally ho, onward we go, up to the great yonder! When we see His face...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Night heaviness is being replaced by morning joy, and that brittle veneer lying atop my heart is melting. A great soul thaw is occurring, and its runoff filling all those gaping holes in which I'd been falling. Graciously alive, He is making His word which was sown in the night. The days have just begun in their march for greater progress, and with them the sun's rays are warming and waking all strained parts grown dormant in the cold.
I speak figuratively as much as literally, but at times it seems it is almost impossible or entirely impractical to try to separate the natural unfolding in Creation from that of my soul.
I missed the sunrise this morning, but when I woke, the sun was as bright as the air was refined, and I drank them both in great gulps before scuttling along to church. Psalm 119 was again our frame, and verse 17 began, "Deal bountifully with Your servant..." In grace and mercy, we must be tended to bountifully for we are spiritually destitute, dead, broken and unable to do the very thing of which the psalmist asks, "that I may live and keep Your word." We desire to do right, but who knows that to be enough for the doing of the good? No resolve reaches the purity of our heavenly pedigree. It is the invisible string fastened from the believer's heart to the Father's bosom that must be always tightened. Our understanding must be quickened, and this by His word; "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law..." If we behold not, wonderful things from Him who is glorious, our eyes will fix themselves on something else and we will forget Him. "I am a stranger in the earth, do not hide your commandments from me." The soul, when allowed to consider this life, fearfully wanders to the eternal notions of what might be. He who has found the eternal God as His habitation wants only to be with Him, and mourns dreadfully at how cloudy is his vision and how dim are his eyes.
I spent the afternoon with one whose heart beats with similar cadence to my own, and we worshiped as we rolled along and beheld a most glorious sunset. It began in citrus splashes over the icy canvas, and like the Word which is savored long, its hues only deepened and intensified as time marched along. It seemed to me to be painted with glass or liquid and brilliant metal. The little one who calls me Meh-wi, pronounced it purple, and the other little doll made all sorts of admiring comments. Again, the day is pouring forth its speech as the night watch begins, and in every heart on this earth eternity beckons, and the good God who gave Himself for the sins of the whole world calls them to Himself.

Friday, January 8, 2010

This morning has been quite surreal. My mom had a dream about a misplaced autistic child she had birthed and never known, and I woke to a sprinkling of snow, a wedding in the afternoon and Isaiah 1-5.
Last night as I drove home from the rehearsal dinner I checked my messages to find that my dear friend Anna had given her hand (and heart) to a man named Jeff. She loves Him, and loves God more still. She currently resides in Korea; congratulations my sweet friend! I am in a wedding this afternoon. There is such a flurry of matrimony, and as I sit still to listen to my Lord, I am taken by His goodness, and kindness to this hateful world. Isaiah was warning God's people of His coming judgment to them for their wicked and rebellious ways, and urging them to turn and repent. The message still stands, and hearts are as stiff towards His goodness as ever. So once was mine.
But on the subject of marriage, what kindness He has given in this unfaithful and inharmonious world. Companionship and the promise of fidelity if we keep our eyes fixed on Him who is faithful (by essence!). "Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil." (Prov. 4:25-27). The world sees marriage as binding and the loss of freedom, but it is not so! Marriage, like many other disciplines, is a path to freedom. It is saying yes to one person, and no to all the others. It is pouring all your passion into one, and finding a proper haven for your heart in this crooked world. Marriage is not the keeper of a soul though, only Jesus can ensure that. Yes, I do desire marriage if the Lord brings it, but if He keeps me single, by His grace my lips will praise Him. Tenderest affection to any who may read these words. The photos are of the chapel where the wedding is this afternoon. Congratulations Kate!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart." (Eccles. 7:2) Much thought has been given to this lately, and the backdrops have been Psalms 90 & 19. Naturally we chase delight, ease, and amusement to pacify our souls, hardly recognizing the unrelenting tug of our hearts and the satiation that never seems quite to come. We look to another man's life and see their scenario which seems to disclose perfect joy, and we squirm. I squirm. "For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow." (Ecc. 6:12). I look on at feasts everyday, and view them from afar with jaded eyes. My mind forgets that perma-smiles and glittery jewels come with a price tag I am not willing to pay. The excess fuels a lust and God is forgotten in the enjoyment of His gifts. I wish it be not so, but abundance and activity naturally defer contemplation and true understanding. To not enjoy God is a travesty, as well as enjoying the gifts more than the Giver.
The other morning I opened to Psalm 19 and was swept completely away in the glory of my Maker. "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." I closed my eyes, (as I recommend you do yours,) and I listened for the hearkening of the heavens to my opened heart. I stood up to get something, and the horizon had begun its fill of coral and cobalt hues, and with piercing wisps the trees were illumined. Oh yes, the heavens are declaring, and how seldom do we listen! "Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." Hope, light and faithfulness rise with the sun, as truth, beauty, and order fill the evening sky. Each day these silent evangelists declare the majesty of God, and set up for us soul pegs on which we might hang our hearts.
This renewal of my mind began a fury at beholding any and all futility allowed to exist in my life, and the Lord lead me on to Psalm 90. (Spend time in these, people; labor over them!)
I'd been thinking much of mountains, and repeating to myself all the reasons why they've captured my affections. I'd also been thinking much of my beloved Montana, and came to be surprised at the first line of Psalm 90. He writes, "Lord you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Spurgeon writes of this, "before those elder giants had struggled forth from nature's womb as her dread firstborn, the Lord was glorious and self-sufficient. Mountains to Him, though hoar with the snow of ages, are of an hour." Wow. Indeed, if He is from everlasting--of no beginning or end, certainly then, all things of this earth are hardly even marked with time. Also, the mountains were not called home, or the dwelling place of a people, but God is the very dwelling place--refuge--home, for the believer. His haven is also unlike anything of this earth for its foundation transcends time and it is not built with human hands. (Heb. 11:3, 11:16). Great consolation comes to the heart whose surety is secured in an unshakable and unchangeable God.
Moses wrote this after something like 38 years of wandering in the wilderness, and having been fed purely on the goodness and faithfulness of God. He'd seen a generation come and go in his sojournings, and had certainly had ample time for contemplation. He compares our lives to a watch (3 hours) in the night, or that a thousand years are as yesterday in the Lord's recollection. He compares man to the grass, which grows vigorous in the day, and withers at the night. He does not even liken man to the oak, but to simple, plentiful, perishing grass. Huh.
As Psalm 19 speaks of the sun and its circuit that is from one end of the heavens to the other exposing the day, Psalm 90 expands of the light of the Son that exposes the secret sins of man in the light of His awesome presence. You can hear his exhalation as he states that we "have finished our years like a sigh "[or a tale that is told]. And you can feel his exasperation as we consider, "what then? what to do?"
He implores, "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." Yes, Lord, teach us.