Do you ever have one of those days where you seem a bit distant? You find yourself wanting to isolate and be left with the thoughts waiting to be processed in your heart and mind?
Today is a day like that for me.
When is the last time you remember feeling great excitement for something?
As a child when it came to spending the night with a friend, going camping and braving whatever the wilderness offered, that feeling you would get when riding horses (carefree), shooting guns, mud fights, night tag, Christmas mornings, vacations. It seemed so much easier to be excited and energized. It seems as our young hearts fade that these giddy emotions only come in waves.
Do our experiences and the obtaining of wisdom cause our childlike spirit to quieten? Is it meant to work like that? I want to go back to the place of facing something new. I want to experience the exhilaration of a ‘first time.’
Perhaps I’ve let the world slowly creep in and become a cancer to this spirit I am seeking, to the one I had. I hear others often say, “I’m too old to do that anymore.” “I am too old to be so carefree, Ive seen alot in this life and I am tired.” “I am too old to play.” “I am too old to dress like that.” Maybe I have let this world dictate how I should act too much.
Roman 12:2 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I believe a Spirit keeps its childlike momentum when in the presence of its Father. Makes sense.
I have seen many grown adults when in the presence of their parents become childlike again. I have observed the behavior many times. I personally don’t have parents I can come to like that. I see my mom rarely but when I do get the chance, I do tend to act like a child again because I know she accepts me. She makes me feel young. And I think coming in God’s presence can be a key to resurrecting this childlike spirit I crave so much. So I will pursue.
It is unique how a thought can seed in one’s heart and slowly start to arise creating a writing such as this. In all I write I know it is not of my ability as I am encouraged as well by its content. Many thoughts run in and out of my mind but it seems few take root like this one. Some create an atmosphere and family plan in raising and nurturing my family, in managing our business and farm; some become original quotes and even yet, some become much deeper than that. It is a thought that raises from my core. Something I’ve chewed on awhile.
Around me events continue to happen, summoning me to draw out this pen and paper and let this thought extend to a world of those willing to hear it.
I understand the process by which the Bible was written where a man’s heart was led and inspired to write God-ordained content. I am sure each one would comment on just a thought taking root and it growing through their core until it had to be let out. Spoken. Written. I wish I could sit and have coffee with them and talk.
Since March life has been full of brokenness. Now before one thinks I am writing some sad-poor-pitiful-me piece, bear with me. I did mention I am encouraged by it. Bear with me.
COVID-19 hit and our world reacted. My initial observation was the massive surge in fear leading to panic. I thought back to 9/11 and recall the same reactions yet with COVID being a global issue, fear tends to be breeding excessively; needlessly. Security is broken–yet have we truly ever been secure?
I am beyond blessed in my friendships. I love my friends deeply. An observation I have made of late is that all of them–and I mean all–are suffering trials of varying degrees. Job loss, health issues, relational struggles, supply shortages, isolation, depression, and tons of soul searching. They all have brokenness–yet have we truly ever been without blemish?
Our family has dealt with a lot of tangible brokenness. It has been nothing but repair after repair. As I shake my head, each thing we’ve fixed feels like it has led to three more breaking down.
It started with an oil leak in the Kia: a seal in the engine needed replaced. It was taken to a mechanic and fixed. Then the radiator started leaking and it got replaced.
Our home AC unit went out and we had to replace the motor and blower wheel–this fix was extensive. The humidity was not a kind helper. We were hot and in being amateurs, it took us a while. I can say should we have to do that again, we will be pros.
On the farm we had a cow bust out a tail-light with her head. Our hay isn’t getting cut in the timeframe we want it to as a major mechanical breakdown has hindered the process. It’ll get done, just not as soon as we had hoped.
The lever to the three-point hitch on the tractor busted and needed repair. The AC in the tractor went out. We were going to have our HVAC man come fix it but decided to buy the equipment and do it ourselves. Amidst brokenness we are learning self-sustaining skills.
There was a serious wreck on the highway that destroyed our mailbox. However, this repair is made with special prayers. We won’t be petty about replacing this nor will we complain as a young man almost lost his life. I wish the mailbox would have been the only damage rendered. Mailboxes in our area have a short lifespan. It’s annoying having to replace it often but it will never be superior to someone’s well-being.
We are still praying for this young man to make a full recovery. He has endured several surgeries and has a lot of therapy to handle, but given his outcome already it’s obvious he has the Higher Power by his side which brings comfort.
As if all of this was not enough, our cleaning in our facilities has gotten much more aggressive. Heavy sanitizing, masks, gloves. Harboring a little fear of catching COVID that seems to want to manifest itself but we won’t let it. Our cleaning business is our livelihood. It’s a business my husband and I manage well as it has allowed our family to be together and has always provided for us financially. It is a gift.
Perhaps our van was paying attention to all that was going on. Perhaps our vehicles aligned with each other in the parking lot and conspired to defeat the human race because the van has pitched a fit.
First, while taking the Kia to the shop the window fell in the door. The regulator broke. My husband called me to make an appointment to get it fixed and I did. We have also had issues with the van eating through fan belts and the light is on for the sensor in the tires so I thought I’d kill three birds with one stone.
We took our van to our mechanic and left it for the day. The receptionist called reporting the damage. The window repair would be $280. The reason for our belt-eating issue was a damaged harmonic balancer and was quoted $189. Then she mentioned the sensors in the tires. Now the only thing these sensors do is tell you your tires are low on pressure. I double-checked that I understood this correctly. So when she quoted me $522 with $98 for labor just for the sensors I declined. The van is a 2011 with over 170,000 miles. I was taught to use a tire gauge before sensors were such a big thing. It just didn’t make sense to get that repair. She said they’d get right on it.
We picked up the van and by Thursday it was headed back on a tow truck. No, it was not our mechanic’s fault. On Wednesday night at 11:30 we were heading home from a cleaning job. When we turned the van on (I was driving) there was a high whine, then a low growl and a pop. We thought since the harmonic balancer was new, maybe it was adjusting. The van had made similar noises before and I felt no difference in its driving or steering. Coming to a stop at a stop sign, a horrible rubber smell was evident. An old truck had pulled off the highway besides us so that assumption was made that it was that truck since we didn’t smell it for long after. We pulled out on the highway and about one mile down the road, our van battery light comes on–and stays on. Usually it just flashes if the battery is low, but we just had a new battery put in. My husband looks it up on the phone as I am driving and says, “Don’t slow down; just get home.”
The driving of the van was fine. I turned off everything electronic I could; the AC and the radio. Nothing felt wrong. Yet. Everyone in that van was praying we’d get home safely. We were twenty minutes away. By God’s grace we got to our driveway and home. I turned the van off, popped the hood, and out billowed smoke. We were sure our alternator had just died. My husband couldn’t get the van to start back up. We were glad to be home. Tomorrow would be another day of repairs which seemed to be the case lately.
Early Thursday morning a tow truck was called (which our insurance covered 100%). Friday I get a call and the sweet receptionist seemed down. She confirmed it was the alternator but added, “That pop you heard was the computer system and fuse box, it fried. It will need fixed, and that’s $1,280.” Now I understood the tone of her voice.
We’ve been in a lot lately for repairs. The harmonic balancer that was fixed prior is not a usual failure. The guy that fixed it had only fixed one other in his nine years there and this situation she said was not usual as the van shouldn’t have run as long. I told her, “We know life works this way; God wanted us home. He got us home. All these repairs–well, they reek. But it is what it is.”
Nothing here lasts. It’s all temporal. We’re being reminded that our job amongst the brokenness is to stay focused upward, to have our hands and heart extended to lift those who fall down, and step by step press on through this boot-camp called life. Brokenness brings perspective. It humbles us. It also allows us to see the true soul in someone. Whether it’s in this life or eternity I cling to Psalms 71:20: “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
Since March God has been rebuilding me and my family. We have been worn down, tested, and scattered thin, but God is restoring us. He is making us better as a family, as friends, and as His children. We have made Him the cornerstone of our lives, and though we tend to avoid brokenness, it should instead be embraced. It’s not something to be ashamed of, like something is wrong with us. Exposing our hearts and admitting our vulnerabilities is nothing but humbling. Given these past circumstances, I see brokenness as beautiful. I see it as fertile soil. I see strength and I am encouraged.
How about you? Are you broken in any way? Care to share?
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” – James 4:6 NIV
A darkness used to reside within me, a malignant darkness and I became internally furious. I constantly was searching for something that would render relief. I became angry.
For so much of my life things happened to me that were not my fault, abuse that I could not stop. At the age of 6 until I was 12 I was molested and raped by someone who was supposed to love me.
6 years of pent-up aggression.
When we are done wrong, anger is triggered. Sometimes it is dealt with immediately and resolved and at other times it beds itself down deep and festers. Anger is natural. Righteous anger has its place but rioting and hurting the innocent is not righteous anger. Anger that leads to lashing out, looting, hitting, punching, shooting, and killing is not righteous. That type of anger points to a poison.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Satan is very keen on the thresholds he can get through. Just as God watches our every move so does Satan. Just as God loves us so much that He sent his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, Satan uses anything he can against us to bring us darkness and destroy us from the inside out. Suppressed anger is his forte. He hates you. When you allow the poison to build inside of you, you let darkness enter the world. Evil and Satan has no power over you unless you let them have it. It’s a choice you choose. Whatever pain, whatever abuse you have faced, was not your fault but this decision to be filled with hate is your choice.
At the age of 12, I was put in the State’s care and in this process I constantly came face to face with adults that would talk me through some poor form of healing. They would tell me how I should behave, try to help me cope, tell me how I should feel, and move me from home to home. I felt like the criminal and not like the victim. I got angry.
I understand to a point, the desire to riot. When so much pain gets packed down inside of you and it comes wave after wave with no relief, you’re like a volcano needing to vent. However, like the volcano you put others at risk.
Same thing goes when you fail to heed instructions and maintain self-control. Eventually enough rebellion heaps a load of consequences you weren’t looking for and you find yourself expelled from relationships and facing we punishment.
I had my rioting. I let Satan fill me with dark anger. I’ve had my rebellion. I’ve acted out selfishly. I’ve danced with my anger and have burned bridges. And I will say not an ounce of what I did brought relief at all. My insides are scarred.
I have learned the rage in me wasn’t me seeking justice but wanting vengeance. The Lord makes it clear. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:18-21 NIV
I realized I had a heart issue and dropped the vengeance seeking and step by step I sought the Lord.
To the one who is on the verge of volcanic explosion, I ask for just a moment of your time. That hurt that you harbor, it wasn’t your fault. The constant attack again and again… you were so young. You weren’t meant to handle a load like that. We live in a sick world and sick things happen but does it really make sense to continue making a mess of things?
You need relief? I totally get that. It’s like a poison in your veins and you want to bleed it out. You want to be free. You want reconciliation. You want justice. You want acceptance, to be understood. You want relief from painful things that run in your mind non-stop. I get it.
I started cutting myself and swallowing pills. I had sex at a very young age trying to find something to alleviate all the pain I held in. I had a kid at the age of 15 and had to grow up super fast. For 4 years I did the best I could and got nowhere.
People will never fill you. Rioting will never cure you nor justify the wrong you’ve endured. You instead of being a victim, become a criminal. Justifying your actions by making excuses of ‘being hurt first’ only prolongs the freedom you seek.
Let’s be real.
There’s not a single human on the face of this Earth that has never made a mistake. We are not in a position to judge as we all have things we’ve done wrong. We can’t say or rightfully feel what we went through merits the right to do whatever we want. If that’s the case then whoever abused you… had the right to make that decision.
Rioting solves nothing. It’s like a bad hangover, it finds you feeling worse when it’s over.
2020 has been a year unlike one we’ve seen maybe ever, in our lifetime. We are to be socially distant. Some of us have lost our jobs and are struggling pretty hard. Our lives have all been changed by something we can’t fix. We are tired of oppression. We want to be heard. We want change.
No one on the face of this earth can make what you’re going through any better. They can give you a friendship to help you get through it, but they can’t heal it.
But I know someone who can. I know someone who has been poor, misunderstood, spat upon, slapped, beaten, mocked. Someone who has faced heartaches you nor I could fully understand. I still don’t and I’ve known him 20 years.
John 17 reveals His heart. He prayed for you. Hebrews 9: 24-28 states why He came to Earth in the first place.
You’re not the only one who carries a heavy burden. You’re not the only one.
In sharing this with a brother of mine, he added some thought that added even more substance to what I have written. I will share. He commented, “We are each one shaped and molded by our experiences of life to be left with a void unique only to us. We all seek to fill the void inside of us and each one of us expresses our need to be complete in different ways, anger, silence, laughter, over-attachment, you name it.
The issue is the process to create the void was so unique to each and everyone of us. The void is like a snowflake, one of a kind, never to be duplicated again. This void can only be filled by the Master Carpenter who makes the perfectly shaped piece crafted specifically for you. In every instance perfectly matching your failures, success, laughter, and disappointments to give you completeness to the point that forgiveness is a possibility. Forgiveness for who? …
Well, that’s just like a snowflake.”
We all have messed up in some form or fashion (Romans 3:23) We all need our hearts to align with God to get the healing we seek. The Bible speaks often of a contrite heart. In Isaiah 66:2, the Lord says, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
Then from there God starts the healing on the inside of the heart. Rioting and anger will never bring you justice.
You’re not the only one who carries a heavy burden. You’re not the only one.
Sin is deceitful and hardens our hearts toward God. It develops a pseudo exoskeleton, making it harder to penetrate with God’s love.
The Israelites were made to wander in the wilderness due to their pride of self and unbelief in God. They never entered into the Lord’s rest as a result.
Therefore, they were constantly seeking; seeking more, seeking a king, seeking a home, seeking love and purpose even though it was in their midst, they were still seeking. They were anxious. Instead of peace they had anxiety.
Unbelief was their sin.
They were tricked and hardened by it.
Sin’s tentacles wrapped around their hearts so much that they could not make room for love to penetrate their heart’s walls.
They were blind. But they chose blindness. They heard the things over and over from God through Moses, yet they chose to trust in what they could see and feel more so.
They chose to be unbelieving and it cost them peace. It cost them rest.
This promise of rest however did not stop with the Israelites. Let us be careful with our own individual lives that we do not become a Xerox copy of their behavior for we also have been given the Good News through our Bibles and hopefully through our friends and our churches as well. May we find value, purpose, and meaning in it so that we may enter into the Lord’s rest in the now and so much more in the future to come.
Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart. He is seeking to give you rest. True rest. Real rest. Rest from trying to earn your place in this world and the one to come. Rest from the chaos and heartache in this complex and amazing world. You see, the world has not been built to eliminate pain but Christ has come so that we may have the pain relief to make it through.
Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts as you did during your rebellion. (Hebrews 3:8)
May your rebelling cease and you come to find hope and peace found solely in a Sabbath rest God is waiting for you to accept. The gift has already been given, all one must do is accept it.
There is a song I love by Andy Mineo called Wild Things, I guess if you were to ask me what kind of people I am drawn to it would be this group. They are the misfits. People who haven’t been to church in awhile due to struggles and addictions that keep them afraid of the church doors. Depending on where you are in life, you could be contending with your biggest giant just inside this building where fellow believers meet.
We fear ridicule, we fear blame, we fear judgement just inside these doors and because we already struggle with all these things in our minds without the help of anyone else, we shy away from church as we feel it will be more of the same. But let’s face it. I mean honestly, guys. Our biggest contender is our flesh. We can make all the excuses in the world but we are accountable for self.
Some of us have been through some crazy stuff. Some of us are going through rough stuff right now. We feel so foreign. We don’t come from homes where stability is (was) a factor. We hardly know what it is like to feel safe. We are on guard; constantly watching our surroundings. We (would) have to question who was going to be home when we got home from school. Would mom have a new partner? Would dad have another girlfriend? Would they be sober? We prayed like crazy with anxiety that at times felt crippling. Often there was concern that there would be anger and we could get hurt yet again.
We didn’t reach out when we needed someone to turn to and we caved in on ourselves. We cried a million tears. We cut. We drink (drank). We take (took) pills. We engage (engaged) in porn. We experience (experienced) sex. Constantly we are (were) searching. And even when the help comes (came) we (would) refuse it as this was our new state of being. We have grown (grew) accustomed. We are (were) comfortable in our chaos. The enemy has cleverly baited this trap we can (could) barely part from.
Until one day, in a rare moment, we look up and a glimpse of freedom is caught. We observe.
It stands off in the distance. It is stable. It is genuine. It knows all our faults yet never once has it dismissed us. It actually beckons us to stay. It reads us like a book and yet loves us. Convincingly. It saw our disease and revealed the cure. Sin. Repentance. Follow Me. Four simple words. That easy.
For some of us, we ran. Terrified. And in the moment we looked back, we saw the dark venom pulled from the cankerous souls of the ones who remained. They then became radiant. They were changed. Just like that. In what seemed to be the twinkling of an eye. The sight froze us in place. We could not continue running. No. Instead our bodies turned to face this enigma.
These newly transformed bodies started walking our way. We were mesmerized. And slowly, one foot in front of the other, we started advancing towards them. They were alluring. We wanted whatever they had in them. We wanted healing. So we were drawn to their light, and one by one, we all were relieved of the dark venom we allowed to pulse in our veins for so long. For too long.
Soon this group became our fellowship. It was a place we could be real. We could be raw. We could be vulnerable and be safe. We could cry out, cry softly and (or) just vent. Once we were unified, we were overflowing. We were passionate. We were intentional. We were commissioned. We proceeded in movement to set the world on fire with the same radiance that coursed through us. And one by one, we continue to succeed.
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 KJV
As a very young Christian I found this to be tedious, having a constant structured dialogue among the everyday responsibility seemed so… well, impossible. I didn’t understand and often feared I was doing it all wrong. Prayer isn’t anything like that. Prayer brings you before the most loving and caring Father you will ever have.
Unfortunately, many of us have had abusive or absent fathers and find it hard to believe God to be anything different. Dear one, let me tell you, He is so different. I had that kind of a father, an abusive one, yet I have found God to be everything I yearned for. Please take this advice. You don’t want to miss out.
Prayer is the key that draws you closer to his heart. It is a place where affirmation, purpose, and forgiveness resides. It is a place where your heartfelt words unlock supernatural powers- for real!
Won’t you seek Him today? If we can believe in a doctor and his diagnosis, a pilot of a plane, or simply driving our cars on everyday missions and trust that everything will be okay, why is it so hard to believe in a God who cares more than anything for you?
Are you ‘Christian’ enough to be awkward for Christ? Hmmm. Let me repeat that, “Are you ‘Christian’ enough to be awkward for Christ?” This idea has ran in and out of my thoughts for the last month or so.
What do I mean? Elaborate. OK, I will try.
In John 14:15 we read, “If ye love me, then keep my commandments.”
And in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Then there is Luke 10:25-37.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Note that a denarius in verse 35 was equal to the daily wage for a day laborer. The Samaritan gave denarii (plural) in order to properly meet the needs of both, the injured man & the innkeeper.
There are moments in society where good Christian men move in humble acts of love serving God, as they know of His love towards them and the desire God has for them when encountering a need such as this Good Samaritan to pass the love along.
Usually in those moments we are moved at our core and filled with admiration and compassion. Why?
Just watch the Hallmark channel at Christmas and tell me you can do it without being moved.
Why are we so moved when love is truly shown through sacrifices?
You know the thing that gets me about the story of the Good Samaritan most?
It didn’t actually happen. It’s merely an illustration of the actual virtue-love. It is in response to the man asking Jesus who his neighbor was. An ethical question. I can sense by the scripture representation that a self-conscious superiority was at play here in the man’s tone. He wanted literal proximity perhaps. He wanted it revealed to him to what barrier was he obligated to love his neighbor as himself.
See Jericho was one of the priestly cities, so that there would be frequent travellers on a variation of errands. The priest was coming from Jerusalem, so he could not plead a ‘pressing public engagement’ at the Temple. I feel the repetition of the description regarding the conduct of both the priest and the Levite serves to suggest it was a common act. They both did exactly the same thing, and so would twenty or two hundred ordinary passers by.
They saw the man lying in a pool of blood and, even in the face of such a sight, went on their way. Maybe they said to themselves, ‘Robbers again; the sooner we get past this dangerous bit, the better.’ We see here that they were heartless, but do you think they saw it?
Don’t we do the exact same thing ourselves, and do not see that we do? How many of us have witnessed bad mishaps? We see someone pulled over on the side of the road with a flat tire and think that; “ surely they’ve called someone else, I’m too busy right now.” What about an angry child lashing out at any who comes near? “Just a rebellious teen,” we think; but what if he is abused constantly and has been kicked out of his home? What of an addict passed out in his car- or is that our thought- and the man actually is hypoglycemic and in desperate need of attention.How many of us cross these situations and have left untouched because our hearts were unaffected? The world would be a changed place if every Christian attended to the sorrows that are plain before them.
Also, what if the Samaritan hadn’t reached out to the injured man? What if he hadn’t helped the man when he couldn’t do it himself? What would become of the man knocked out?
He might have died, but I believe that someone would have come along eventually. Man may fail time and time again but God does not. If it wasn’t the man’s time then, there are those willing to walk and function in God’s love and He would have ordained their paths to cross.
I personally have experienced a situation like this. Years of abuse had me shutting people out of my life, then I began shutting down and turning to suicide attempts. MANY people did pass me by saying things like, “Another pity-seeker” “Her story creeps me out, keep moving.” Others just genuinely had no idea how to approach me as if I was something that would render them a whole lot of awkwardness and a ton of trouble.
Casting Crowns has this song called ‘One Awkward Moment’.
These lines in particular:
“She’s a castaway Stranded on the island of her yesterdays
Freedom was her ocean, but she got swept away
Little princess dreaming got lost somewhere in the waves
She’s been going at this all alone since she was nine
But God loves you, He’s got a plan for you, she’s heard all the lines
But when she opens up her heart nobody’s got the time.”
We who claim to be Christians should seriously consider the lesson in the Good Samaritan particularly looking at the priest and Levite. I personally have gleaned from the illustration that there can lie in the essence of our faith the possibility of having a lack of concern for those wounded around us.
That revelation should grip us, shake us, and convict us if we find this tentacle of discord gripping our hearts in any way. If, in our love for Christ, we are found indifferent towards our brothers’ or sisters’ wounds, then our worship in our churches is merely mockery. It is only when we have found in Him- in Christ- the pity and the healing which we need that we shall go out into the world with love that is as wide as His.
He came to rip it apart. But it didn’t first appear like that, it never does, or it could be I have gotten pretty good at twisting and manipulating the truth. That could be it, too.
Little by little he, ‘he’ meaning an unwanted visitor, yet not a stranger. He danced in and out of the circumstances and gleefully planted seeds of strife, loneliness, despair, animosity, indifference, complacency and very heavy burdens among the flowers that grew in this garden, in her garden.
These flowers were full of vibrant color with blooms so luscious, one could not question the richness of the soil in which they grew. The caretaker definitely had experience. It knew what flowers grew best and one could tell by the fact it used bulbs, not seeds, to establish a heartier more durable and seasonally dependable garden. Because of this it rendered constant bloom year round, even in its winter. Onlookers often were caught by sweet surprise at its beauty and would visit often just to admire it.
As it seems with all things given enough time, there came a darkness upon this garden, a rift. These were not unfamiliar to the caretaker, she had endured many storms, but there was something more dark and malignant with this particular one.
The winds blew incredibly hard at times and when it would relent, the sun would bare down an immense heat which caused a bit of the beautiful flower stems to break and the withering of many petals.
Foreign seed made its way among the beauties and with the season being just right, these rebel warriors began their best efforts to manifest themselves in a way, as to choke out the beauty in this garden.
The ‘he’ in the first paragraph is Satan. My life is this garden, though I am the caretaker, I am not the owner. Christ is the owner.
When all the skills I had to maintain things up to par faltered, I started to feel I was losing control, like I was a failure. Honestly, I don’t think that was it. That foreign seed made me very tired of gardening. I was discouraged to see beautiful flowers broken as I had worked so hard to make my Owner’s garden beautiful but circumstances kept making things harder. Skills that worked before no longer worked, weed control was a failure, the soil stood in need of enrichment whereas before everything was successful and seemed to come at ease.
I became fed up. I threw the shovel down, yelled at the sun, cast blame on the lack of rain, kicked the ground, then sat down and had a nasty cry. A long hard cry.
At some point, a particular onlooker had sat down by my side. He didn’t say a word but you could tell in his eyes he felt my pain.
For a long while we would discuss the circumstances of the messy garden and he would encourage me to not lose hope.
Everything he said and did was for the hopes of me fixing this place I loved, but for the moment had grown to somewhat dislike. He wanted me happy and if this garden meant that much to my happiness, he was going to encourage me to fix it. He even encouraged me to seek the Owner’s input, that His advice would help me to make this garden so much more than what it was before.
With new enthusiasm and a new friend, I regained my composure, I wasn’t going to quit. I wasn’t going to disappoint him nor the Owner of the garden and I wasn’t going to let this garden that I love go just like that.
Sometimes courage makes you hang on in the very hard times. Courage makes you brave enough to love selflessly, maneuver through your failures, and set things straight, even when a piece of you doesn’t want to.
If it’s worth having, you’ll have to fight for it.