If I Could Just

If I could just feel it.

If I could just be that.

If I could just go there.

If I could just change it.

If I could just fix it.

If I could just make it go away.

Always waiting for something, always looking for something, always asking for something, aren’t we? And yet the secret is this, we find time and time again: the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Yes, you heard me, it’s not. I know this, and deep down, so do you.

If you got that thing you’ve always wanted and if you were that person you’ve always thought you should be there would still be a hole because you are not perfect, neither am I, and we aren’t promised tomorrow. These longings that we have ultimately meet their end in a land that we have yet glimpsed.

Heaven is the other side… and there, we will find our green grass and so much more.

Until then, I don’t have much of a solution for the “If I could just” syndrome. All I can say is that He is enough, and I am enough because He is in me. You are enough because He is in you.

Being consumed with what we think life should be or could be can be crippling… so crippling that it can prevent us from actually living. I encourage you to simply trust God with yourself and your life. Live in His presence today, not in your worries, concerns, and desires.

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Just Thinking

The funny thing about mission trips is you always go thinking you’re doing someone a favor. It’s impressive isn’t? That we would take seven days of our time, raise our own support, risk having to pay from our own account if we don’t meet our goal…

and we, leave so much behind, don’t we?

and we, give up so much… don’t we?

          Or do we?

Imagine a week without picking up your phone to see if you have a missed call or a text message… Always looking down, then back up, then down again…                      Then getting frustrated because you really do wish you could live without your phone. But you can’t. That’s not how life works here.

And that’s ok. I don’t think cellphones are bad, and I don’t think Twitter is bad, or Facebook, or make up, or really any of the things, any of those things that we leave behind when we go.

But you know what’s good? Leaving behind all the ducks that are in a row and not looking back to see if they stay that way. It feels good to let go. And sometimes the only way to let go… is to go. And I’m not saying that’s a reason to go on a mission trip.

…but it just happens. Every time. We learn not to cling so tight to life. Jesus told us not to do that, anyways, right?

Jesus said that those who cling to their life will lose it, and those who lose their life, will find it.

It seems we’ve become too good at building, too good at gaining, too good at clinging, too good at earning, and I was just thinking that we really should start to wonder what it looks like to lose,

 

 

 

if we ever want to find.

 “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Jim Elliot (martyr)


The Face of Redemption

It is not the magnitude of our sin that is so detestable, but our inability to acknowledge it at all. We all know it’s there… so why do most, if not all, get so offended when it’s pointed out? Well, the answer is quite obvious: when someone points, we have to look. And deep down every man knows it is his most painful experience to realize his sin. It is both terrifying and beautiful, all at once, because in that moment we know we are encountering the Lion and the Lamb.

I have found that the days when I knew He was drawing me in and still denied Him glory are my most regretted days. Why? It wasn’t because my actions, my sins, were so terrible. I’d known that same sin for years… it was nothing new to me. But, for some reason, it’s only the last months, the last weeks (before surrendering to Him) that I cringe at when He reminds me of where He brought me from. “Why so hated, why do those few days stick out so much?” I finally asked the Holy Spirit. He was not silent for long. His reply? Perhaps my heart can bear the “worst of sin,” from long ago, because I did not commit it while looking Christ in the eyes.  On the contrary, my heart cannot bear the most recent, and to some extent “smallest,” because it was committed while looking Christ in the eyes. For in those days my heart knew that the lover of my soul was seeking me out… to know, and still deny… that’s truly what is, and should be, detestable: to be so prideful, so blatantly selfish, that even the presence of the living God cannot bring you to your knees.

 And so, we tend to be afraid of remembering the sorrow of repentance, but the sorrow of repentance should serve as a fuel for The Redeemed. For when we look at those moments, or a moment, straight in the eyes… we find Him whispering, “Mark WELL the paths by which you came” (Jeremiah 31:21). We should remember all those places He carried us from. For though we should not be dictated by our past, we also shouldn’t deny its depth in regards to where we stand now.

 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;

Do not be discouraged, for you will not suffer disgrace;

For you will forget the shame of your youth,

And the disgrace of your widowhood you will remember no more.

For your Maker is your husband,

The Lord of hosts is his name;

The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,

The God of the whole earth he is called,

For the Lord has called you

Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,

Like the wife of a man’s youth when she is cast off,

Says your God.

For a brief moment I abandoned you,

But with great compassion I will gather you.

In overflowing wrath for a moment

I hid my face from you,

But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,

Says the Lord, YOUR Redeemer.” Isaiah 54