Sunday, March 20, 2011

A refuge

Nostalgia creeps on me when I am overwhelmed. I curl, and cuddle in the warmth of protected memory, and yesterday took me to New Zealand. I'd been asked to share my story a bit, and that curious tale of transformation rolled onto my tongue as a cordial is consumed, and my brittle vessel drank life as oil to leather. I worked through my shift, fussed and fluttered about, and landed back in New Zealand.

I recalled with a painful intensity, the outstretched allure in taking one's life. Mounting cares surround and taunt, and having no lift, they pile until they suffocate and whelm. My heart bunched and slid as slipping sod, and I took to the floor while I thought on this a spell. It became strangely familiar to wish for an end to this all, and with an unfurled spirit, I laid out my cares.

At times like these it seems my only posture is a huddle, and it is here that I burrow deepest for refuge. Refuge. Shelter. Security. Peace. Do you have this?

I realized I was transported to New Zealand yesterday because it was then that my cares had so compounded that my spirit broke, and my soul was first restored. My friend had taken his life just before my departure, and my plan was to do the same if I didn't uncover the answers to my soul. The intensity of his newly exhausted life, my questions, and the vastness of a completely unknown land precipated all that lead me to my Refuge.

It seemed as if I'd been trying to park my soul in every other created thing, and only -- always, to alternately intensify my need, exacerbate my misery, and falsely pacify my need for something greater--something not of this world. This is common to man, as our hearts are consistent only in their deceptions, and their deluded assertions insist that this next thing will satisfy; a tweaked circumstance, a handsome man, the adoration of the masses, the gaze of passerby's -- you fill in the gaps with your hearts desires, and remind yourself of the time your wishes were granted, and all your thirsts were quenched.

Have you recalled that time? It never has been, and will never be while your search is of this earth. We've been given an eye to see what's beyond this all, but the sight herein is granted only by faith. Nothing of this world has ever, or will ever lastingly quell the insatiably bottomless pit of your heart. Again, our eternal souls were made for more, and their habitation and refuge are to be found in an eternal God.

My heart smiled upon this truth as I again began lifting each care unto Him. I thought of how faulty every other structure is in securing an eternal soul, and as I sat crouched, I contemplated the glory that is housed in the heart that has peace with God.

Who can stand before God? Five moments of silence magnify the riots that rage within us, and I propose that if we were to listen to the treasonous utterances of our crooked vessels, we'd be horrified to consider actually standing before a holy God. Tell me, is there not lust, hatred, greed, pride, and wickedness enough to press you down? Do these things not demand of you your vitality, vigor, life, and peace, and give -- in exchange, an unsatisfied desire for more, a guilt that never flees, and a base pattern of existence that would bring shame to the most proud? I pray that it would, and that this kindness would bring you low to take you high. There is another way, and wisdom says that "her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace" (Prov. 3:17). I do not tout religion, for her trappings are just as the bridle of sin, but I show you a better way; a way unfettered and free.

No one can stand before His Maker without a covering for His sins, and I ask you all this day, wherein do you find that refuge?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary ’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God's grace,
[Marvelous grace, infinite grace.]

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God's grace.
[Marvelous grace, infinite grace.]

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross."
Oh blessed refuge, this mercy seat
for from its station I find relief --

And carry no more, my sin and shame,
but rest them on His finished claims.

My sins they swallow, whelm, and gale,
but Christ He rose, and tore the veil.

My entrance now is set and sure,
and leaves my cowering here no more.

His love it draws, and restrains my heart;
it straightens every crooked part,

and since now only my dim eyes see
the mercy of His majesty,

I am drawn and betwixt no two,
for His goodness He has shown anew.
"A debtor to mercy alone,
of covenant mercy I sing,
nor fear with Thy righteousness on,
my person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
with me can have nothing to do,
my Savior's obedience and blood
hide all my transgressions from view." Anon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In His Control

I've made it thirty minutes in my study, and the anxiety-laden post is replaced now with the converse answer of His Spirit's presence. "All Creatures of our God and King" just finished, and now "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" is playing, and as that blessed bird of prey is suspended and dangled in the thermals of the day, so is my soul, when filled with His Spirit. "He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark" (Ps. 91:4).


A most precious gift; equally supplied, unable to be denied, and ever so swift in stride. My thoughts have wisked through this - and grace, and I am perched somewhere - clinging to evaporating particles I'd hoped to redeem. More time will not be given, and so I cry with Moses "teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). I scratch down these words when I need to be studying syntax, haven't returned phone calls from last week, and straddle mental situations beckoning what I've not offered to give. How did my Lord deal with people, passing days, manipulation; those touching only the fringe of His garment? His food was to do the will of the Father and to accomplish His work, and considering He never sinned, I am perplexed at how I am to emulate His example. I vacillate, and end so often in pleasing people -- which was not as my Lord would do... Oh for grace to please my Lord, and Him alone.