Ever Present

My son left last night, going home to his apartment, and I barely said “goodbye” to him.  I don’t love him any less.  I just wasn’t “there”.   My wife talks to me sometimes and can get so frustrated.  Because, if I am doing anything, she knows I am not “there” for her.

God, and in turn Jesus, promised that He would not leave us.  “I will never leave you or forsake you,” and, “lo, I am with you always,” are quotes from each of them.  But for many of us, it can have a hollow ring to it.  Particularly after we’ve walked a while in Christian circles where patience is lauded as such a virtue but the acquisition of it is so often ridiculed.

I think about the vastness of the universe and can feel so small on God’s priority list.  Why should He, or would He care about my needs?

My grandson was born and I got to hold him for the first time yesterday.  He is so tiny with very few needs.  His older brother is two and vastly more mobile, with greater needs.  Their mom, her husband, my sons, my wife all have needs.  They place demands on my limited resources but I don’t want to just feed them or put a roof over their heads, give them some money (that’s a joke only my family will understand), or great spiritual guidance.  From the newest, least demanding, to the wife who wants all of me, I want to be “there”.

But God is.  When He says He won’t leave, it is a promise to see us, to hear our needs, to be engaged in the conversations we have. And what is vastly more amazing to me, He WANTS to be “there”.  He calls me to be “there” with Him.  He loves me more than I love Him.  His promise, the promise of His presence with me, does not overwhelm Him, bother or irritate Him.

He is my friend.

The Year of Jubilee

In the Old Testament there was a law that every fifty years all debts were cancelled, all slaves were set free.  It was supposed to be a time of great celebration.  But it was lost.

It was a pretty “normal” practice for those that would get themselves into debt to pay off the amount owed by becoming someone’s slave.  There were regulations written down for how it was supposed to work, amount owed years till Jubilee, stuff like that.  But, the wealthy of the land forgot about it.  Owed money meant slave for life.

Satan has taken this attitude toward people all over this world.  “You sold your body for that moment of pleasure.  You sold your heart for what was promised.  You gave away your birthright as children of the King to have your own way.  Now you’re mine.”  And we go through our days never expecting victory, never expecting freedom.

I’m just one small guy.  I don’t know how it all works.  I don’t know what year it is on the Jewish calendar.

But in Jesus name, I’m calling for a year of Jubilee.

God has set me free.  The debt I owed to satan and the weight of the condemnation he sets over me is cancelled.  Captives, slaves are no longer bound to him.  I am no longer bound to him.

And I know this, I speak with the authority of God Himself because He never created us for slavery to addiction, He never designed us to live for another.  He spoke us, each one of us, into existence for freedom, for joy.  He brought us from our mothers to live for Him and there is no greater freedom than this.

We just have to live it.

Fields of Gold

What happens in a marriage of two people who can’t live apart but then find they can’t live together?

When I met my wife, she took my breath away.  I couldn’t believe she answered the first letter I wrote to her, picked up the phone the first time I called.  I was shocked when she said she loved me.  When we kiss, my heart still skips a beat.

I’m writing this now but still neglect to let her know.

We almost didn’t make.  We almost ended it.  I walked away to live alone, to have my own way.  I spoke so many words of hate and anger.  I broke her trust and blamed her for every failure.

Do you know why I love my Jesus?

HE WRITES MY STORY!  HE COMPLETES EACH CHAPTER!

Satan would tell you that you write your own life.  We would close the book with pages still blank, with pictures unpainted, with songs unsung because it all gets so hard.

But not God, not my King.

He writes the harmonies.  He composes the lyrics and melody, with minor chords, sevenths that don’t make sense, dissonance and resolution.  He colors the canvas with grays of shadow and yellows of sunshine, blending colors, striking lines where definition and boundary are needed.

He writes my story.  And He will bring me, has brought me to healing and hope.

He brought me home.  He heals the wounds.

He gives me fields of gold.

Thank you, my love, for walking them with me.

Snake Tails

OK, I admit it.  I’m a little strange and my imagination gets the better of me sometimes but humor me for a bit.

Moses receives the call to go get his people free.  He balks and turns into a whiny little coward. One of the signs he was given to prove that God had sent him was that he could turn his staff into a snake.  I love the detail that’s given, “Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. (Exodus 4:3 – NIV)”  Then God tells him to pick it up, grab it by the tail and pick it up.

Now, some of you may be snake charmers or Steve Irwin look-alikes, but for me, that’s where I’d be questioning God.  Whoa, Lord, can’t I just give a command?  And, I can see God’s humor in the snake coiling up and facing Moses.  Moses reaches out his hand and the menacing reptile hisses and spits at him but doesn’t bite.  Moses finally works up the courage to touch the thing and it immediately straightens and turns into wood.

After this experience, and the hand turning to leprosy trick, you’d think that Moses would be set to go.

But, he’s like me.

The wonder of God, His amazing attributes, His holiness, his power and voice in my life, often remind me that I’m nothing.  I am left knowing the limited resources that I possess and the stark reality of my consistent failure at life.  Whatever confidence I may hold onto evaporates in His presence.

We sing in our worship of being “undone” in God’s presence.  Though we criticize Moses for his responses, I would submit that they are entirely appropriate.

Ah, but what we feel inside is not the end of the story is it.  Despite what he felt, Moses still had to reach for the snake.  Despite his resistance, he still had to go.  Beyond all hinderance and obstacles, he still stood before Pharoah, he still spoke, he still was used to set his people free.

Maybe you have some snakes in your life.  I know I do.

Grab that tail.  You can do it.