Friday, September 27, 2013
Right at the top.
Larry Reinecke: "Ronni's mom passed away early this morning after a 5 year slide into dementia. She will be missed."
No. It didn't register. Not for about 30 seconds.
And then. The tears came.
This is the grandma that held me as a little girl, a baby, a teenager.
The grandma that travelled miles and miles to see us when we lived in Redmond.
The grandma that spanked me.
The grandma who fed me junk food and watched movies with me.
The grandma who walked around in jeans and a T-shirt and couldnt've been happier to do so.
The grandma who'd live with us for nearly 3 years.
The grandma who'd recognized me...me...when I visited her in the nursing home and her mind was already gone.
And now.... she was gone.
I've been trying not to cry all morning. A few times it's gotten the better of me... Like when I looked at my picture album.
I have a picture album at home. Probably hundreds of pictures in it: the symbol of a load of time and a load of love from this grandmother I was now struggling to say goodbye to. She put it together so I could remember my life---little did she know that she put it together so I could remember her.
I finished going through that album, sitting on my bed this morning. And it was too much. I hugged it and cried.
I'm not ready for her to go....
But that's the way it is so often in life. Someone comes...stays...and we're often not ready to see them go when it's time.
It was time.
She was ready.
Oh, I knew it was imminent. I knew it was coming. We all did.
I still wasn't ready.
Goodbye grandma.... I've loved you so much, and always will. Thank you for the picture album. I'll keep those memories sacred til Jesus comes to wake you up.......
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Jeremiah 14--we've been reading through Jeremiah for morning worship at home, and this was only the next installment in the story of denouncing and chastisement for the Jews.
A profound installment.
The whole chapter talks about the things going to come upon the Jews: famine, sword, trouble. Jeremiah cries out, "But God! The prophets are telling us that You have said there would be no sword or famine at all, but that we would enjoy peace!"
God must've shaken His head. "No, Jeremiah." He sighs. "I didn't breathe a word of any such thing to them. They're lying to you and to Israel. For this, they will be punished with the very thing that they have said the land would be without."
In short, it's not a very pleasant chapter...
...until the end.
Jeremiah at last cries, in the voice of a thousand souls: "Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!"
A cry of pain. Pain for the people. Pain for the pain.
And then... "We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us."
We have sinned. We have done horrible wrongs against You and each other. But please...please... Don't forsake us. Remember? You promised... Please...
It's easy to hear the tears here.
He continues. "Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art thou not he, O Lord our God?"
Where else are we to turn if You forsake us? There is no one else that can supply our needs and wants like You can... No one.
And then Jeremiah does the unthinkable. Almost unthinkable. With the confidence of a trusting child: "Therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things."
You're the One who's in control. You are organizing everything. Therefore, we will wait for You to deliver us in Your own good time; after all, You're the One who's allowing it.
This defies logic. Defies brain power, even.
He has allowed it.
Therefore, I will wait.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Kezzia plopped onto the couch. I huddled deeper into my blanket. She read, I listened.
"Seeming desertion is the furnace, heated 7 times, to try our faith."
Stop. Right there.
I don't want to be deserted. Abandoned. Alone. I hate being alone.
And yet, I'm being told it will happen. I know it DOES happen. And it hurts. No. Stop. I don't like this...
"Seeming." Therefore, it's not actual.
"Try." Therefore, not cruelty. A test.
"Faith." Therefore, not man... But God.
Therefore, it's okay.
After all, His wasn't seeming: it was actual. It wasn't just a test: it was death. And it wasn't just God: it was man, the devil, the demons, the weight of a race of sinners.
And yet, it was okay.
His was substance that mine might be a shadow.
Therefore, my furnace becomes His glory.
My pain, His triumph.
My heartbreak, His healing.
My life... His reward.
Never... No, never...alone.
It was like an alarm clock next to your ear at 4:50 in the morning, when you've been so used to getting up somewhere significantly after sunrise and shortly before noon. All of a sudden, and there he was. On the throne. And, the Bible adds, he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left."
And this wasn't just an inheritance thing. The king before had been wicked: so wicked, in fact, that "his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house." After that, the people placed his brother on the throne.
Its the brother who's in charge now. The one who's walking after the ways of David.
And he's only 8 years old.
The Bible further records that "in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father:" and not only that but "in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem."
At 16, he committed himself fully to the Lord.
At 20, he began to purge Judah of their idolatry.
At 26, he oversaw the rebuilding and repairing of the ruined house of God.
At 26, he also reinstituted the keeping of the Passover, something that hadn't truly been done in years. The Bible says that "there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet."
Thats a strong statement. Samuel has been dead for YEARS.
He walked in the ways of David. He loved the Lord. He obeyed the commandments and inspired thousands of Jews to do the same.
Josiah reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem. And when he died, at 39, from a wound gained in battle, Judah mourned his loss.
One little boy...
Became one young man...
Who changed EVERYTHING.
I think its safe to say that if you "walk in the ways of David," God can...and WILL... use you to change everything, too.
Monday, September 16, 2013
These moments are more than precious, more than beautiful, more than...more.
I live for these.
Arms fling wide, wind rushes by, exhilaration like nothing you've felt before: this. This.
I could fly on the wind that rushes past.
When hope shouts, when blind eyes see...
There is nothing, no nothing, that God cannot accomplish.
Monday, September 9, 2013
This isn't what he'd wanted: darkness, cold stone, chains on his ankles...and the rumble of a score of ravenous animals lurking in the shadows.
He had every reason on earth to doubt God. The edict of days before, that no one was to pray to any god save the king himself, the penalty being death at the mouth of the lion: why, Lord? He had served God in this, the land of Israel's captivity; and faithfully, at that. And true, God had raised him up to second in command over all the kingdom. But...why?
Every day, faithfully, he had opened his window. Every day, three times, he knelt with his face toward his homeland and prayed. 2 Chronicles tells us why: perhaps you've always thought it was because of the various calls to worship that used to issue from the temple; or maybe simply for the sake of praying with his mind fixed on God, rather than facing anything in Persia. But the real reason behind his place of prayer is much deeper.
"If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee" (2 Chron. 6:36-39).
Solomon pronounced the blessing on the temple, the brand new house of God. And Daniel surely knew the whole prayer, possibly even by heart. In praying toward Jerusalem, he was, in effect, requesting that God bring them back. Save them. Restore them. Heal their land.
Instead, he was thrown in a lion's den.
Rarely has a prayer been more apparently rudely dashed and disappointed.
And yet, in the morning, Daniel could still say, "MY God has saved me."
It wasn't what I asked for...
And yet it was God's will.
And in the end, the story is more beautiful than if the lion's den had never happened.
So too will mine.
So too will yours.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
A tiny boat, tossed by the waves. Cruel water, frigid winds: the lapping of icy death at the bow. Oars straining, necks craning, salt water fresh on the cheeks. Wood splintering, shouts arising, hope fleeing, tears shed.
To this my Jesus awakes.
And all He does is stand on His feet and calmly say, "Peace."
Quiet. Calm. Rest. Relief. Thrill. Joy. Peace.
And the waters, not a moment before dashing about and threatening life, now lie still as a mirror, reflecting the starry sky, the path of a luminous moon...
And something more.
The face of Jesus.
Only in stillness can our hearts reflect.
And only in reflecting will we be saved.
*credits of original thought to Hannah Rayne