Tuesday, June 30, 2015
I'm pretty sure that if you could capture the inner dialogue between myself and God, it would go something like this:
"God, how do I know you won't fail me?"
God: "I've never failed you before."
Me: "But how do I know I can trust you? You've allowed hurt/pain before."
God: "I told you that in this world you will suffer, but that I have overcome the world. You know this.
But this world is not the end. In it you will experience pain. Even I suffered, and I am God. It was a choice. If you follow Me, there will be pain. You will choose pain. As my follower you must live as I have lived, and love as I have loved. You must sacrifice yourself. Not just your actions, but your heart too."
Me: "But love hurts!"
God: "Trust Me, I know. Love hurts. I endured that hurt for you, and for everyone. But the love and joy you will know in Me as my follower is worth the pain, I am worth the pain.
And when I call you home, you will be an heir with Me in my kingdom, and there will be no more pain. 'Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.'
I love you. Do you love Me?"
God: "Then take up your cross and follow me.
Let me ask again, do you love me?"
God: "Then love others.
Trust me, even when it hurts. And I promise you it will hurt. But I will be with you, and so also will my love.
When you were younger, you trusted me more fully. 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.' Love me like you once did. Trust me like you once did. I haven't changed, it is you that have changed."
At times I think I've finally surrendered, and then I find myself clinging to self-preservation and I realize what Jesus meant by taking up your cross "daily."
Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life. is a new day of surrender. Of losing my life to find it. If it didn't hurt, it wouldn't be a cross.
Everyone's cross may look a little different and may change over time (though we are all called to love), but all those who follow Christ carry one.
My cross today is my heart and emotions--open, bleeding, broken for the cause of love. Letting life and love hurt. Being honest and vulnerable, instead of building walls in an effort to keep myself from feeling hurt and pain.
My dad gave an illustration during our family bible time recently that stuck with me.
It was something like this:
"There is 'I.'"
::writes the letter "I" on the white board::
"And then Jesus said 'Nope.'"
::draws a line through the 'I' as if to cross it out (no pun intended), making the shape of a cross::
What does your cross look like?
Friday, June 19, 2015
Here I am. I'm really tired, Master, but here I am. I don't know what You want. I don't understand why I keep waking up. It has taken me nearly two weeks to realize you might be whispering my name in the dark of the night. Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. Speak, and speak clearly, for I am hard of hearing."
And speak He did. Not audibly. But His comfort and love was evidenced as the sky began to brighten and daylight fast approached (and I honestly inwardly and perhaps outwardly may have groaned a bit).
For nearly two weeks I have been waking up, without fail, in the early morning hours. I've grumbled, complained, moped, and become irritable throughout it all. I think the latest I have woken up has been 6 or 6:30 two or three times--and one of those times was after being awake till 3. I even woke up suddenly from a dream once, and I distinctly remember smiling as I woke up for no apparent reason.
Finally, yesterday I decided I was done. If I was going to wake up, I was going to wage war on hell. I half-wondered if irony would have me sleep in, but no, my eyes opened promptly and suddenly at 5:02am as if someone had flipped a switch... after not closing in sleep till sometime after midnight (that was some lightning last night!).
So why am I writing this? I'm not entirely sure. But pray for me.
In the midst of this time of my internal alarm blaring at crazy hours of the night, I am burdened with prayer.
Don't just pray for me, pray with me. If you find yourself at a loss as to what to pray for, I'll gladly help you out.
Our families, communities, country--our world--needs it. I attended a regional conference last week (along with about 700 others) close to our nation's capital that was set up to bring awareness to worldwide persecution. The persecuted church needs prayer. Just days later a man walked into a church and out of pure hate murdered people gathering to study the bible.
Pray for those who lost family members and friends in the Charlestown shooting.
The millions of innocent lives being murdered through this procedure called "abortion" should break our hearts and bring us to our knees in agony.
We need to pray. Maybe not at 5am every morning. But pray.
If there is any part of your heart that cares, pray. And if you don't care enough, pray, and ask God to change your heart. Ask Him to break your heart for the things that break His.