Saturday, December 31, 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.
The book of Job is painfully healing.
You have a good man that has a bunch of really bad stuff happen to him.
You have a lot of close people around him that totally misunderstand him and his trial.
You get a lot of arguments, accusations, pain, suffering and emotional bleeding.
You get to hear the devil.
You get to hear Job and you get to hear God.
Job’s friends sound right but they are not.
Job makes sense and God doesn't.
In the end life moves on and more good things come.
A book of arguments about life…defiantly worth having when life kicks you in the teeth.
Anger --no peevish fit of temper, but just, generous, scalding indignation --passes (not necessarily at once) into embracing, exultant, re-welcoming love. That is how friends and lovers are truly reconciled. Hot wrath, hot love. Such anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it. The angers, not the measured remonstrances, of lovers are love's renewal. -C.S. Lewis, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
And now unto him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from
the dark valley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the
midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to him be power and
authority, for ever and ever. Amen.
-Martin Luther King
As the new year approaches I find myself clinging to the truth above.
I will be glad to see 2005 pass and for a new year to come.
I pray that I will walk with the wisdom gained from the shadows of the
I pray that I will chase daylight with renewed vision.
That the grip of disappointment will be broken through surrender.
That I will be able to apprehend what I was apprehended for in greater
That I will learn to bravely love in wisdom's light, again.
That I will dare to jump in the lion's pit even though I might lose
That I won't sleep in Delilah's lap and lose my vision.
I pray for the armor of light to protect me from myself.
I long for deeper meaning, fuller life and awakened passions, governed
by submission to His will.
I pray that this would be the year that Christ would be all in all.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long; he has walled me in so that I cannot escape...Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me...He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.
-Jeremiah the prophet.
I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul...Who are we that you make so much of us, that you give us so much attention, that you examine us every morning and test us every moment?...Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands...Your hands shaped and made me -- will you now destroy me?
I realize that voicing ones struggle with God seems to be more than some people are willing to bear. You can complain about life and especially people and we will eat it up but if you dig into the character of God, it seems to shake us. We don't want to face our fears. We tuck our questions and hesitancies into a nailed shut box and place them under a neat little corner of our faith under the stairs. Hoping that they will rot away in obscurity and not reveal their frightening faces. But like the crate in the movie Creep Show, sooner or later someone or something in life will open up the crate and then all hell breaks loose.
Even Jesus was forsaken.
Whatever that means theologically, it at least speaks volumes emotionally and spiritually.
But the comforting thing to me is, that Jesus had no problem voicing His complaint and accusation publicly. He shouted loud enough for others to hear and for the disciples to write it down.
'Read your complaint,' said the judge...'Enough', said the judge. And now for the first time I knew what I had been doing. While I was reading, it had, once and again, seemed strange to me that the reading took so long; for the book was a small one. Now I knew that I had been reading it over and over; perhaps a dozen times. I would have read it forever; quick as I could...if the judge had not stopped me...At last the judge spoke. 'Are you answered?' he said. 'Yes,' said I. The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered...I ended my first book with the words No answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face, questions die away. What other answer would suffice?-Queen Orual in C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.
So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish he will not give him a snake will he? If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! –Jesus
Luke adds, what father would give a scorpion to a son who asks for an egg.
Scorpions, snakes and stones…or…Bread, fish and eggs?
Ultimately my faith stands or falls on whether I can believe that what Jesus says here is true or not. What do I choose to believe? What will I choose to see?
Life has a way of stitching my mouth shut, hamstring my desire to hunt and can drain out my strength to beat on doors. I have cracked open enough hard hatched eggs to discover a stinging scorpion lunge out and sink its poisoned tail into my faith filled soul. I have wept for the bread of life and have often been served up a goulash of gravel. I've found the fangs of a serpent in the mouth of a fillet of salmon, more than once.
There have been so many situations that have appeared like they were going to kill me but in the end…they don't. I end up handling snakes, sitting with scorpions and gnashing gravel and not being slain. It is a mystery and a miracle to me.
The real serendipity-do-dah is when I actually begin to see that there is hidden manna in these dark moments. That a good gift might come in a really crappy, poorly wrapped box. I must confess sometimes I think God can't wrap a present at all. How many times have I sat there looking at some situation and said…what good is in this?
Where is the “how much more” stuff that Jesus was talking about?
In the end I am left making a choice to believe that my Father knows how to give good gifts and trust Him in the process of unwrapping the gift. It may take time and I might hurt in the process but I trust He will see each tear as a feeble prayer of faith in who He says He is.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Open handed, as vulnerable as a new born.
All within me wants to close my grip,
Turn my face, save myself.
Can’t replace the sand moving out from under my feet.
Life is changing, shifting, renewing,
Beyond my control.
I must simply embrace it, watch it, and feel it;
Let it move away into the unknown.
I stay, but the sand goes.
Bewildering, mesmerizing and frightful tingles.
Pulling me, drawing me, leaving me.
Ever shaping landscape of the soul,
Rising, falling, swirling and blowing.
Each new season is fresh but scented with pain.
The old is gone but still haunts the soul.
The waves are receding again,
And the sand has covered my footsteps.All is drifting away…again.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Jacob wrestled with God in the night.
He struggled alone.
He entered his grapple on the verge of returning to the promised land.
He fought for a blessing that he had so often in the past thought was found in people.
His wrestling would end in daybreak.
He prevailed but not until he was wounded first.
God changed his name.
He would not walk on the promise land the same, ever again.
He cried out to know God's name for himself.