h1

“i’m hanging on. You’re all that’s left to hold on to…” -u2

January 25, 2008

(written on February 6, 2007)
God has me digging deep into the Major and Minor Prohets of the Old Testament these days. (yes, i was a Bible drill geek as a kid. and i did very well in competition i might add. i cheated once, and have felt dirty ever since. God’s grace is a beautiful thing.) when it started, i had no idea why i was reading so much old testament stuff. i mean, surely in all i’ve been going through the last few months, i should be finding comfort and encouragement and “it’s all going work out fine”s somewhere in the new testament. i should be reading things like “more than conquerors” and “all things work for the good…” and “perfect love drives out fear”. instead, i keep finding myself reading harder things. sad things. things that are not made up of colors like pink and yellow and orange and purple. the things i’ve been reading lately are black and deep red and grey and dark dark blue. things that include a lot of tears. so here are these people suffering. dying. and in midst of it all, there is their God. and it seems to me that there is a reoccurring theme. of course, His indignation is more than obvious, but the word “return” keeps coming up. Return, restore, rescue. He keeps begging His people to simply return to Him. beg Him for rescue and He will restore them. 
and then, more and more, i am being drawn into the Hagiographa, the writings of the old testament. Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Job, and of course the Psalms and Proverbs. and, without going into every minute detail that will bore you all to death, God has been taking me by hand on a very new journey than i’ve been on before. one of more clarity than i’ve been able to take up to this point in my life. i’m on a constant search for God’s practical faithfulness. and that has taken discipline. believe me, more than anything i want to actually SEE God’s faithfulness these days. and if i were to simply go my way waiting to get slapped in the face by it, i would feel consistently uninterrupted in my daily activities. so, i’ve had to seek it out. trust that God has proven Himself faithful to me in big and small ways in the past and trust that He is the same God now as He was then. so that means He is being faithful in my life today. right now. so what does that look like these days? not what i sometimes want it to look like, that’s for sure. but God was faithful to his children throughout the Bible. nothing but faithful. and He is faithful in the lives of the people around me. and He is faithful in my own life. “Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His UNFAILING love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” in the middle of Lamentations is this passage. this little hidden group of verses that give hope to God’s people. the word “lamentation” itself literally means “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. weeping, wailing, crying, sobbing, moaning, grieving, mourning.” it’s a whole book, guys. and it’s called that. it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the book is about. i was hesitant to read it, and still have no idea what gave me the courage. i don’t always end up “feeling good” these days when i put my Bible down at the end of reading it. i close it with further knowledge that something else could happen tomorrow. something bigger than yesterday. my text doesn’t say “it’s alright. the worst is over. time for good things!” it doesn’t say the opposite either, but it has been showing me that people suffered. people really suffered. some because of their unfaithfulness to their God, but some, too, because of their faithfulness to God. but in all of it, there is one consistency. God. His unfailing love and compassion for His people. Hosea is a book written to express the harlotry of Israel. and yet, in the middle of His heartbreak, God says this, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth You in FAITHFULNESS, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” 
Last night, someone God has, in His faithfulness, placed in my life recently sent me an unsolicited text message. (i love it when God does this) it very simply said “You’re heavy on my heart tonight, dee dee. Praying for you. Ps 80.” people who head the prompting of the Spirit excite me and encourage me! and i realized something, not because of this text, but because of my reaction to it. first, i was so excited about it and uplifted. then, almost immediately i was stricken with terror. fear. the same fear that i battle everyday. what was next? what rug is about to be pulled out from under me that God would send in warriors to fight for me beforehand. i immediately turned my Bible to Psalm 80 and gulped it down, looking for refuge in a hopefully encouraging passage. for some reason, it threw me further into my fear. it’s a chapter begging God to save. i fell on my face, begging mercy. what would i need saving from next? 
praise God for the truth that He has instilled in my heart along the way! that’s when the “perfect love casts out fear” comes in. that’s simply not how God works. it’s simply not who He is. it’s not who He has ever been to me, and it’s not who He is now. it was a lie. it was all a lie. knowing that revealed quite a few things about me and about the tactics the enemy is using to fight me. God doesn’t work in my life through fear, but through love. “He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” so i dug further into psalm 80. and read different versions of it. and God wrote this psalm on my heart last night. i haven’t written, musically, in months. many months. the last time i wrote was in october for a few hours in the practice rooms at belmont university one sunday afternoon. i haven’t even played in months. and it’s been hard, but i haven’t had it pour out of me the last few months like it used to, either. and last night, this psalm took on its own melody, its own chorus, its own verses and bridge. and i didn’t even write it! some dude name asaph did. and it was sung from my heart to God’s. and the chorus sang out loud and clear, “Restore me, O God; make Your face shine upon me, that i may be saved. Your smile will be my salvation.” and He sang over me. and He quieted me with His love. and He was and has been and is mighty to save. and i fell on my face again, begging mercy. only, this time, i fell on my face into His chest rather than fell on my face on the floor at the foot of His throne. He has called me to approach His throne in confidence, reflecting His glory. He has not called me to crawl into His throneroom in the dirt on the floor on my face and cower in His presence. faithful. my God is faithful. everything that He is can be enveloped in that one word. He is faithful in His wrath, in His might, in His compassion, in His love… in every attribute we find in His character, He is and always will be faithful to it. and in His beauty, God! His beauty! and i dwell there. and i reflect that. and He is faithful to complete the work He has started in me. that means He is always actively a part of who i am and who i am becoming. 
so this is who God showed Himself to be to me last night. and this is who He will continue to be. because He is nothing, if not faithful. we must remember who He has been. and tell each other who He has been and who He is being. we each reflect God in such different ways. we must share that with each other.

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