Repost: From The Journal

[[I don’t usually do this, but thus follows the most beautiful blog post I’ve read in a while. This comes directly from the wonderfully talented Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like.
Original post here
Jon’s site here. ]]

Below is what I wrote in my journal a few years ago after reading Matthew 11:
28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you
 rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and 
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke 
is easy and my burden is light.”

I am not asking you to
 complete yourself and then come to me.

I am asking you to come to me.
 Broken and burdened, infested with the most hideous lies about me and 
my nature. Covered in perpetual sin that you just can’t seem to shake.
 Because I don’t see that.
I see Christ. I see the blood of my son all
 over you.

I know you think you need to work through your doubt
 before you come to me. But that’s not true. I can’t wait that long for 
you to come. And how ridiculous is that lie? That you have to figure me 
out, know me and trust in me without fail before you can come to me and
 get to know me. I do have gifts for you. Big crazy gifts, but the
 biggest of all is my presence.

That’s what I am inviting you 
in to. My presence. That’s a gift I am inviting you into. My presence.
 That’s a gift I am going to give you every second for every hour of
 every day for the rest of eternity. Come to me. Come be in my presence.

It’s so crazy to think you have to perfectly accept that gift before
 you can stand in that gift. I’m just saying, “Come stand in it. Bask in
 it.”

Come stand in it filthy and let me cleanse you.

Come stand in it broken and let me heal you.

Come stand in it drunk on doubt and fear and let me renew a spirit of confidence and trust in you.

Just come stand in it.

Come stand in it covered with lies and misconceptions about who I am and who you are and let me reveal the truth.

Come stand in it worried and stressed and trembling and let me cover you with a peace that transcends all understanding.

Come, just come.

Come 
stand in it with a past you can’t fix and a future you can’t look at 
without grimacing and I will comfort you in this very moment.

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Seen and Unseen

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I don’t know why I’m here.

I mean, I understand my purpose on Earth and existence in general (to love God and bring Him glory by loving his people and drawing them into relationship with him).

I just don’t know why I’m here. Here, in this city; here now.

Every so often I find myself content with the situation and feel successful and good at what what I do.

And then a picture, a recollection, a word from friends far off and the adventures that they’re having and the impact they’re making…

And then regret and envy wrap icy fingers around my heart and s q u e e z e until it starts leaking from my eyes and nose.

And I wonder why I’m here. Why here, why now, why not with that ministry, that missionary, helping those people, using my gifts and passion to preach the gospel and enable its preaching?

I feel like I’m puttering in a sandbox of vanity and meaninglessness while so many others around me are making an eternal difference, today.

There aren’t answers to my questions – or at least, not that I’ve heard. I’m asking, waiting, listening, wrestling, demanding, weeping, wondering.

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s reason at all or if I’m even in the right place at all. I’m just… here. Like a lump on a rock.

I would say that I feel forgotten. But it wasn’t three hours ago that I was reminded differently. 

“Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'”
– Genesis 16:13

El Roi, you see me and you do not forget. You remember and you act. And your timing is perfect. Thank you. Be here, be with me. I need you.

I don’t know why I’m here. But I do know who is with me. I have not been abandoned or forgotten.

Until these tearstains dry, until I hear the the reasons why, here I will remain. Waiting. Watching. Listening. Sitting in silence beside my Beloved.

And for now, for this moment tonight, that will be enough.

Although it’s hard and it’s heavy and it hurts, and so much in me wants to be doing something more, I know that I am seen and known and loved and I have been planted here.

God, help me to be content with the seen and unseen.

Homesickness/Jesus Swag

(Be forewarned: late nite posts might have the tendency to ramble and attempt magniloquence of prose that eventually flops like a dead fish. This one went a little longer than 300, so I trimmed it for a more pleasing view.)

 

There’s an odd mental transition that I’m sure everyone goes through as they enter their twenties. As home is no longer home. As the mechanics that turn the world begin to make sense, injustices and incongruities stand in stark, violent contrast against the backdrop of the world.

We were taught to play a game. To follow the rules. To play nice and share and not eat paste.

Now I enter the game as an independent player and I see how things ought to play out if everyone followed the rules – but our brokenness and wickedness cause each of the players to hoard for themselves. Which causes a finely-tuned system to break down and fall into disrepair as some parts of the system come crashing down on players who could easily be rescued by others, were they not too busy focusing on their own needs and desires.

The game is no longer a group effort with unified vision and purpose. It’s turned into a cutthroat free-for-all, where a roll of the dice determines whether a player is fated to luxury or poverty, extravagance or desperation. And the fate of the bankrupt of heart is often worse than the bankrupt of pocket.

The fall, the fall. My ears have been piqued to the groans of creation that cry out for the return of the coming King. Continue reading

That’s How You Know

Confessions of a blogger: I adore this song.

It’s adorable, bubbly and talks about how a woman loves to be valued and cherished (very good point!). I remember walking down the hall of my dorm singing it to myself sometime in January/February of this year and flipped the lyrics around to sing it about God – cheesey, I know, but I was feeling grumpy and sickish, so I just went with it.

And as I sung the line, “How does He know I love Him – how does He know He’s mine?” I felt super convicted about fruit in my life. It’s always an interesting check-in song for me and it happened to pop up on my iPod today. Usually I skip past the random seven-ish Disney songs I have on my iPod, but today I was on a long bus ride and figured, what the heck.

Surprisingly, I started engaging in the song with that same mindset of ‘what are things I can do to show God I love him,’ not out of obligation or legalism, but just out of adoration. I was intrigued and fascinated by the idea, and as I pondered the idea of simple ways to reflect love to God, God started to turn the song around and see it from the other perspective – “He’ll find his own way to tell you with the little things He’ll do/That’s how you know/That’s how you know He’s your love.”

There’s so much more to that song that I sat there on the 21 bus to work with the song on repeat as the lover of my soul wooed me through a Disney song. Not profoundly spiritual and I can’t come up with a theological defense for the whole thing, but it was one of the best commutes that I’ve had in a while.

I leave you with this thought:

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing
-Zephaniah 3:17

Rise, Sir Peter Wolfsbane

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C.S. Lewis is a genius. Just throwing that out there. When I get to heaven I want to play ultimate frisbee with him, J.R.R. Tolkein, Count Zinzendorf, and Mother Teresa. My buddy Clive Staples and Mother Teresa and I are going to tear it up. But J.R.R. might have to play on the other team because honestly, how cool would it be for Aslan to go up against Gandalf in a good-natured frisbee scrap?

Okay. Getting off topic now.

I watched The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe last night for about the hundredth time. And while watching it, as he tends to do, God pointed something out. Remember the scene where Peter is facing off against Maugrim by the river, defending his sisters? He’s outnumbered and the dark wolf is growling lies in his direction. Telling him that this situation is going to be the same as the last time they faced off. Nothing is going to change. He’s a weak little boy. Etcetera, etcetera.

And then Aslan comes in with his armies, pinning the other wolf – but leaving Peter to face Maugrim on his own.

That surprises me. So often when I’m under attack by the devil I want God to rush in with his armies and wipe out every foe for me. Or at least, that’s how I hope and pray.

And sometimes, that’s exactly what happens. Oftentimes, though, it seems like I’m on my own, staring down a snarling wolf with a sword I barely know how to use but pull out at every opportunity nonetheless. Wondering where God is when the wolf keeps snapping and snarling those lies at me.

When I watched the movie last night, God seemed to remind me that he’s right there, with his big massive paw on the neck of the other wolf and all his armies behind him. Waiting for me, watching me, rooting for me. Giving me the chance to learn to use that weapon while surrounded by safety.

And when the enemy leaps and impales himself on that weapon, God tells the little minion to run back to its master and tell him to fear me. Then He comes to me, brimming with love and pride, and says well done. This is the start of a new adventure, new authority, new battles that will be more difficult than the last.

But my commander-in-chief knows what he is doing. And I have all the armies behind me. So that little demon had better run and tell his master to fear me. I know whose I am. And I’m learning to use this sword more and more each day.

Can you hear His words, so powerful, so true, dripping with approval and affection?

Rise, Sir Peter Wolfsbane. Knight of Narnia.

Rise.