Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I've been giving this much thought, because, while I've always felt this to some extent, it seemed different before. Perhaps, at this point in my life I am satisfied with the relationships I already have, and I'm not looking for clumps more. Perhaps I've frittered away so much of life in socializing that I'm tired of it comprising such time -- maybe I'm getting old -- but one thing is sure: I'm not satisfying the desires of others, and I am quite frustrated.
I write this all because I really am desiring some feedback. I need not consolation if chastisement is due, and if anyone has some life to give me, I invite you to do so. I hope you are all well as summer makes her full approach in every corner of the northern hemisphere.
Monday, June 20, 2011
"I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord. " 2:19
"Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come in trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days." 3:5
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." 4:6
"and they have played the harlot, departing from their God" 4:12
"so the people without understanding are ruined." 4:14
"Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, and they do not know the Lord." 5:4
"I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." 5:15
"Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." 6:2-3.
"For your (MY) loyalty is like a morning cloud and like the dew which goes away early." 6:4
"and the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth. For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
"Yet they have not returned to the Lord their God, nor have they sought Him." 7:10
"and they do not cry to Me from their heart..." 7:14
"they turn, but not upward..." 7:16
"though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My Law, they are regarded as a strange thing." 8:12
"Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you." 10:12
"I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their laws; and I bend down and fed them." 11:4
"...My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled." 11: 8
"For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath." 11:9
"Therefore, return to your God observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually." 12:6
"Yet I have been the Lord you God since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied their heart became proud, therefore they forgot Me." 13:4-6
"Return, O Israel to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of you iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, "take away iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips." 14:2
"For in You the orphan finds mercy" 14:3
"I will love them freely" 14:4
"His shoots will sprout, and his beauty will be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. Those who live in his shadow will again raise grain, and they will blossom like the vine, His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon." 14:6
"Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoeveris discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." 14:9
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I am amazed at how quickly the mind forgets what it knows, and the heart forgets what it loves. Days slip and sulk in their folly until something triggers reality back to the spirit and a prodigious cascade of lost time spills out onto a sloppy canvas of celebration.
I shed tears at strange times. I am struck straight by the sad beauty of humanity, and a few days back as I walked the block, I encountered a lone woman retrieving the mail with her cat. Her hair was managed, and her clothing appropriate, but all over her countenance was silence speaking of spilled life, and confused loss in passing years. So much pain, so much loss, and now -- with a few houseplants, a rusty gate, preoccupied children and surly grand's, the woman holds in her heart those last morsels of what was, and trades the current reality for a daily spin through her memories, fearful of death and disgusted with life.
Joan Baez's song rolls again through my mind as I think of this life, and how wearying it is. There's simply no way around it. Squealing babies are born on the grief of pallbearers shirttails, as no time seems to elapse in the season switches, and the mourner's cries. Greatest joy is embroidered in the threadbare cloth of seaping sorrow, and it is only by grace that we might see the glory in any of it at all.
I got a little turned around on my walk after I saw the lone woman, and by the time I returned, my back was completely aflame. I laid down and cried. I wretched about for comfort and began to sputter and spit my needs to God. With a gracious response, the words of that mornings reading came: "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." Smeared requests lifted from my lips, and all those crowding cares were dismantled and seperately sent up to my Maker. The thought that the one who made me, and who upholds this wild world cares for me was almost too much.
I laid down that night to realize that the stacking cares had again surrounded me. I'd forgotten what had earlier soothed me, and I took to rooting through my memory for what had seemed so right. I remembered feeling like I had backed myself into a shelter, as if on my side -- lying down. The Presence enveloped me with a great yellow soothing, and I was drawn under a canopy, functioning as the world's umbrella. The fullness of the earlier verse appeared in my mind: "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time. . . Casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7.
The sweetest injection of joy and peace came to me as I slipped into night. That mighty hand of God, which provides grace to know, love, enjoy, perceive, understand, live, move and have my being -- that Mighty hand provides my place of rest. Granted, it is the most obvious place for the creature to be, but how oft are we otherwise, and inviting of His opposition? Dear ones, recall with me those sweet times at His feet, when you saw Him as He is, and you as you are, and that just, righteous, mighty, omnipotent hand led you into His presence, and thus into worship. Please, lay aside any encumbrance, and all the sins that so easily ensnare, and run with me this race marked for us. Only He can pull us down, and only He can raise us up.
I cannot speak of the benefits wrought to my soul, for they are the ineffable glories known to a dead heart made alive, but I will spend my days trying, and hope that some souls might furthered in this process as well. It really is a wonder that a Holy God could not only have, and execute a plan of Redemption, but also, as He exacts every detail in this restorative process, He takes the praise of a little sinful creature and transmits their sullied conscience with His Son's final cry, creating a raining crescendo, that falls unstoppably upon His Majesty. Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to thee...