Thursday, May 8, 2014

Choosing Peace and Not Neglect (And a Glorious Understanding of Life Eternal)

In the Christian life, I am convinced there is something that ties us all together, despite our unique callings, sufferings, and life choices: When the Spirit draws us near, we cannot resist the call -- whether at 3 in the morning at a Waffle House, late in the evening circled around a community of other Christ-followers, or alone in your quiet house, sipping coffee as the light pours in like honey. When He pricks our hearts, He can fill us with emotion; dread or joy bubbles up -- a numbing or a hurt, an intense serenity or resilience can well up in the most trying of circumstances. Sometimes it comes in waves or showers of blessing, restoration, hope... hours pouring over His Word or long, drawn-out evenings spent in prayer. Sometimes He whispers so quietly we barely notice it at all, except for a few small moments we stop to take a couple of deep breaths. No matter how He draws us near or why, the Holy Spirit has a way of wooing us, reminding us of our first love, and tending to our hurt, even if we don't see God's purpose in sight or trust ourselves in His hands. 

I'm beginning to see how God softens the hearts of man, and how He chooses to reveal Himself in moments we do not realize are "molding moments" -- slowly refining us according to His divine purpose and His promise to never leave us. Sometimes I will realize I've been sleep-walking through life, unaware of just how much I need His living water, until He wakes me up to comfort a friend in mourning or a friend expectantly waiting in the patience of faith. Suddenly, I am entirely aware of myself, aware that God is using me like an instrument in the lives of His children to wake them up too. He does the same for me in the lives of other people, and He calls us to Himself so we can pray, "Fall afresh on me. Come wake me from my sleep." There is something so compelling and victorious about a God who wakes us up and draws us near, allowing us to play a part in building for eternity -- as if we are flying high above ground, looking down at ourselves, because no soul has any right to claim where he or she shall be put. 

Lately, I have found myself fighting back as He wakes me from my sleep, time and time again, feeling the hurt and sting of my own abandonment to my first love. I feel the heaviness of living intentionally, because it is unnatural to recognize prayer and faith at the core of my being. If you've been reading this blog for some time, you know (however obscurely) that this is a year of healing for me, and in many ways, I am shocked at how true it is -- in more ways than I ever dared to imagine. 

But recently, I have tried the pause button on this whole healing process. I don't know if it's from exhaustion or fear of what I'll discover, but I somehow convinced (and deceived) myself into thinking that real rest follows this neglect -- neglect of all the hard things, neglect of Christ, wooing me back to Himself. A counselor friend once told me that a healing journey is a lot like re-breaking a leg -- "Some people are more content to hobble around in their pain on a bad leg than to go through the painful process of re-breaking, which is necessary for the leg to truly heal properly," she said. The process of restoration involves letting in the hurt and feeling the weight of that brokenness more profoundly than you would ever want to, but it's well worth it in the end. We cope as best as we can with our brokenness, and this -- perhaps the most -- is what continues to break my heart. 

But God does not leave us in our brokenness. Take heart, if you are reading this, and you are waiting for the patience of faith. Here is a passage from My Utmost for His Highest (May 8th) that the Spirit pressed on my heart this morning, to woo me and to wake another dear friend: 

"Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says -- 'I cannot stand any more.' God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands..."

The devotion continues to map out the true reason we cannot resist the Holy Spirit, and a clearer picture of life eternal, for "God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours. 'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee.' The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time."

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"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24