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All posts for the month September, 2014

Unrequited Love

Published September 21, 2014 by Dawn

I’m in love with him. I’m not admitting anything he doesn’t already know. He knows. I don’t know what it means to him, but for now, it’s not been reciprocated. My Father is holding my heart well in this. But yesterday, something shattered my peace and fortitude: he told me he’d been diagnosed with cancer. Oh dear God, help me.

I’m not afraid for his life. I believe God has plans for him. Cancer can’t have him. I know he’ll make it through. But I am in anguish over the battle to come. Cancer is an unforgiving foe, relentless and cruel. I’ve watched the enemy beat him up for years in many different ways, but I feel like the battle just intensified quite drastically, and all the sudden, I wish I could do something besides pray!

Don’t get me wrong, I know prayer is the most powerful thing we can do for each other. But I’m thinking of things more practical. After all, who will be with him in the season ahead? Who will comfort him with good food and reasons to laugh when he needs it most? Who will encourage him when he feels weak? Who will hold his hand and cry with him? Who will kiss his tears and hold him when he’s feeling fragile? Who will be strong for him? Who will take care of him, take care of his house and his needs? I’m sure there are others who can and will, but something is awakening in me that so desperately desires to be that person in this season of his life.

I took all this to the foot of the cross yesterday. I poured out my anguish before the Lord, trying to be released from the burden of these questions and I said, “Lord, help me! I’m in love with someone who needs me, but doesn’t want me.” And Jesus came, wrapped His arms around me and said, “Me too.”

 

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Beneath our Privileges

Published September 13, 2014 by Dawn

I could be a writer. No, no, I’m not talking about this. I’m talking about my degree. I have an English degree, specializing in technical writing. Most people don’t know this because I don’t talk about it. It’s easier to say I have an English degree and leave it at that than to explain what technical writing is. Technical writing is the boring side of writing. It’s the lucrative side of writing. It’s the side of writing that could earn a lot of money and provide an amazing living for my family. It’s the side of writing with tightly closed doors that never opened for me.

These thoughts were running through my head this morning as I fixed my hair. Looking at myself in the mirror, I had this thought: “You are living beneath your privileges.” I immediately turned my mind and heart toward the Lord and asked why, for the past five years of my life, I’ve been living below my privileges. I have seen recently how easily doors open when they are God’s will in your life. It’s hard to understand why some doors open so easily and others remain tightly closed in life, especially when the ones that remain closed cause you to struggle through life.

Without accusation, I turned this innocent wondering to the Lord this morning and His response was so simple. He said, “But you asked for My will.” And then, to fully answer my question, He reminded me of Jesus.

It’s so easy to overlook the fact that Jesus is a King. He’s so much more manageable in our minds if we think of him as a carpenter, or as a teacher. Things make sense when we can relate to our Savior as being like us. But if we face the fact that Jesus is a King, if we see him as almighty and all-powerful, then his life becomes a mystery and a puzzle. Jesus is the ultimate example of one who chose, for the will of God, to live beneath his privileges. “For the Son of Man has no place to lay his head,” he told the teacher who wanted to follow him. As a carpenter who’s forsaken his trade to preach the Gospel, this makes sense. As a teacher determined to spend his life ministering, this makes sense. But as a King? This is heinous.

When the Pharisees came to Jesus and questioned him about the temple tax, he didn’t pull out a purse and start counting out the fee. He went to Peter and said, “Cast out, catch a fish and pull the coin from it’s mouth. In our present era of politically correct common sense, this is lunacy.

The fact that Jesus is King and chose the life of a pauper doesn’t jive well with our present-age prosperity Gospel. We’ve made God into a genie who grants requests for His spoiled children! Jesus shows us how to live humbly in the will of God without worrying or demanding our “privileges. Is it so unimaginable that the will of God would be that we struggle and suffer? Not if we read our Bibles. “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, (Isaiah 53:10) … “then those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19)”

I have found that to have less is to pray more. Out of our poverty and need comes the richest reward: a strengthening of our faith that the Holy Spirit assures us is “more precious than gold.” Could it be that God is less concerned about our earthly comfort than He is about our spiritual wholeness? Could our path be a blessed broken road even though our heart screams out for ease and abundance? Could this really be the will of God?

Let me ask you this: what comfort do you find in your monthly paycheck? Sure, it’s a comfort to pay the bills and have a home, but don’t we all grumble while we’re paying them, grumble after the checks gone, wringing our hands until the next payday? Don’t you find yourself wishing for more, or better? It’s the human condition, to be perpetually dissatisfied. Is this without reason or design? My experience tells me no. God wants us to be fully satisfied, it’s true. But in this world? In things of this world? I believe the scriptures call us up to a higher standard. That of being fully satisfied in the Lord, despite our circumstances. Does God bring blessings and abundance? Absolutely. But sometimes, those things become our god, and sometimes, the Lord allows us to know need and want rather than lose our hearts to lesser things. Can you imagine the pain and indignity of a King who loses the love of his life to a thief, who wooed her with a basket of dirt? Because these things are just dust. And He is glorious! His treasures last for eternity, ours last less than our lives.

Let us be willing to live beneath our privileges, if that is the will of God in our lives. Let’s stop striving to possess things and start striving to possess His heart. Let’s be more like Christ, the King who humbled himself enough to be born in a stable, live in the streets and die on a cross, enduring great suffering as our example. As a Christian, you cannot deny the power of His life. By all human reasoning, Christ was a failure and a lunatic. He lived beneath His privileges so we could be free to live beneath ours, in the perfect and pleasing will of our Father. Thank you Jesus!

Overwhelmed

Published September 13, 2014 by Dawn

He sat as patiently as he knew how, while all the ladies standing around him watched with anxious, wringing hands, waiting. They were filled with a mixture of adoration and hesitation over this kid. He was an enigma, to be sure. And he’d had a rough day already. They were really anxious to see how he would respond when she walked in the room. And then it happened. She stepped over the threshold and the biggest smile stretched across his face. He let out the loudest piercing whoop and began to shake with glee. One teacher helped him to his feet and tried in vain to calm him. He smiled from ear to ear, whooped and hollered while she held on to him trying to reason him into some sort of acceptable behavior. Unable to contain himself any longer and frustrated with the woman standing between him embracing his mother, he bit her. He hollered again, jumping for joy, reaching out his little arm in his momma’s direction, and attempting to escape the grasp of this woman who’d now become a captor. He just wanted his mother! Finally, he was led to her, and she scooped him off the edge of the stage and hugged him. I watched, mesmerized by his abounding joy. He smiled and turned his momma’s face to him, cupping her cheek in his hand and beaming at her. She’d turn away to talk to the teacher and he’d cup her face and pull her eyes back to him and emit a burst of jubilant squeals. He was literally unable to contain himself. He was so happy! Sadly, his mother was unable to appreciate his joy; every teacher in the gym was looking at her in pity and consternation. Her son was unable to act in an “acceptable” manner when she came in the gym to pick him up. I stood in the midst of it all and thought, “that’s what it looks like to be overwhelmed.”

I’ve been singing this song I heard on the radio all week, “God, I run into your arms. Unashamed because of mercy. I’m overwhelmed! I’m overwhelmed by you!” But I watched this little kindergartner respond to his mother this afternoon in such an overwhelming, affectionate way and I wondered to myself, “Have I ever really been overwhelmed by God? Have I ever been so equally overwhelmed by my Daddy?” I can say with surety that I have responded to God in this way in private worship at home. He indeed overwhelms me. But I also know the indignation of others in cooperate worship keeps me from responding to my Father with the love and adoration I feel bubbling up inside. I’ve had moments in worship where I felt like I just wanted to dance, but I’ve restrained myself because I was bound by this idea of “acceptable” behavior. The irony of it is that the scriptures that recount David’s dance in 2 Samuel 6 are among my absolute favorites because of how he responds to his wife’s reproach. He says, “It was before the Lord.” He was effectively saying “It’s not about you, it’s about God.” I long for this freedom, this abandon to my overwhelmed heart towards God. Could this be another way the Lord wants us to become child-like? That with no thought to our surroundings, we abandon ourselves in worshipping Him in whatever way the Spirit inspires? That we forget the world around us and cup His face, gazing into His eyes with pure devotion, grinning from ear to ear because finally, we are in His arms again?

Lord, I want to respond to you like this. I want to be free to express my heart of joy and love toward you without worrying about the stares and disapproval of those around me. I want to be so overwhelmed by you that I am willing to fight off everything that holds me back from embracing you. Fill me with a longing for you that makes everything else trivial. I want to run to you, unashamed and unabashed! I want to hold your face and enjoy your gaze, unaware of the world around me. I love you. Overwhelm me.