September 29, 2012

in this, we rejoice


I really really don’t have time to write this post this morning, but some ideas God just sticks in your heart, and those ideas - they rub together and ignite a flame, and that smoke-smell hits your nose, and where there’s smoke, well....

{ Five minutes. I’ll write this in five minutes. }

I had an excision this week. It was the second of two procedures springing from that one night I brushed my hair back and noticed a spot on my scalp and freaked out and showed my mother who freaked out and insisted we show my Lyme doctor who freaked out and sent me to a dermatologist who showed her P.A. who scheduled an appointment and grabbed a knife and cut it out.

During the excision, when the first shot of anesthesia pierced my skin and that tiny piece of flesh was scraped out, I bit my tongue to avoid speaking out loud what I was thinking: the frustration, the ache that something else was being taken away. It stung. As the nurse came into apply the bandage, I rolled onto my side and prayed, Lord, you know what it was like when Lyme entered in and you know how it's robbed these years of my life, so now - why are you letting something like this happen again?


{ Three minutes } 


This morning, almost a full week after the surgery, I listened to the book of 1 Peter and picked up coffee and dropped off jackets and -okay - just looked for an excuse to drive around in the rain.

And this morning, I heard the trickle of tears flowing behind the words of the letter, a letter written to exiles, people who didn’t just have an inkling of what it meant to lose something: but who knew what it was like to lose it all.

Peter’s words - I’ve always wondered if maybe he was just penning drama the way he described the inheritance  that belongs to those who have been born again:

“...imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you...” 

But this morning, I heard it: the emphasis on the living hope these people could grab onto without fear that it would suddenly slip through their fingers. God knew the lives of these people: He knew what they needed to hear. He knew how they had hurt because their lives had changed, and how they felt like they had nothing left on this earth. He knew they needed something to hold onto, so He gave them the most glorious promise to claim as theirs. They were a people grieving losses, but in this they rejoiced.

{ Thirty seconds }

The stunning beauty of these words sinks into my soul, filling all of the hollow spaces carved out from the losses of the years. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him” – would these words penetrate as deeply as they do now if I hadn't gone through the seasons of stripping away? Merciful God, that He would take what Satan meant for evil and use it to bring forth inexpressible joy -

In this, I rejoice.

{ Three... two... one... }

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.... ~ 1 Peter 1:3-8

September 10, 2012

a quick post because

I can’t read through messages from fellow cluster headache patients without sobbing. One guys says the episodes are destroying his life. One girl says all she does is cry. And they write these notes and ask if I can take away their pain, if I know how to stop the cycles, if I can make their lives better -- and I used to think I couldn’t offer them anything, but God is showing me that Christ is a gift and He's everything.

Pain’s universal. This doesn’t just apply to sickness. The places in our hearts where hurt cuts deep are the very holes that God fills back up with purpose, with Christ, when we let Him. And this hollowness caused by disappointment can be filled with grace. Grace that pours peace in our souls and shows us the way Christ heals. Sometimes, it’s not the way we want. But there’s never an “in vain” when you’re “in Christ,” and in our suffering, we are free to cling to Him and find all we need to endure - because Jesus suffered first. 

And just... this - He is the answer you've been trying to find. Hold tight to Him, friend. It won't be much longer.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. ~ James 1:12