Walking at Midnight on the path of restlessness.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

I have another confession to make – I am restless…like pit of my stomach-aching restlessness.  Some days I can put my finger on it, while other days it is as elusive as an honest thief.  I am usually successful at pushing it back down, repacking that box that it lives in and stowing it away in that shadowy corner that I seldom travel to.  Still, I know it’s there…and it weighs on me as if an elephant had decided to perch its rotund bottom on my chest.

I wonder if you feel this way sometimes?
Do you have to push it back down as well?
Do you have to re-tape that worn-out box and pretend that dark corner doesn’t even exist?  Does it keep you up at night – blinking at the ceiling fan, counting the rotation of its blades as shadows dance off reflections of streetlights lit only for 3rd shift workers and insomniacs out for a stroll?  I repress the urge to join them, to open the front door and walk barefooted down the now cooled, uneven sidewalks as I imagine myself trying to avoid the spiny round pods that fall haphazardly from the large gum tree in our front yard.   I have stepped on these awful spiky seeds a time or two while walking barefoot down our path and even in the cool darkness of the night thoughts of the surprise pain causes me to recoil my feet from the lower spaces of my bed.

I wonder if David ever felt this way?  The pre-murder and adulterous David…the one that tended sheep and slew predators to the flock.  I wonder if he ever felt restless in his heart?  I am sure he did when, later he was being pursued by jealous King Saul and his men.  As David hid from cave to cave and village to village, I imagine him laying down on an uncomfortable uneven floor hoping to rest his weary head.  I can picture his deep sadness as he yearned for his best friend Jonathan.  Yet David trusted in God…but I would venture a guess that there were moments in which he was restless and he too had to push it back down and re-tape his box.

It is said that there is a season for everything…and yet Jesus told the people of his day not to worry about anything, yet I can’t help but find myself in the season of worry from time to time.  Doe that mean that I am not heeding His words?  That, despite my best efforts, I am not trusting in Him?  Perhaps you have thought this also> I worry, but Jesus said not to, and here I am still worrying.<  What do we do with these seasons?  How do we find the glimmers and glints of hope in the mess of our minds?  Sometimes we do believe the lie.  What lie you ask?  The lie that Jesus wasn’t really talking to us when He said those things, that it was just for the disciples and people around Him right then and there… The lie that we are broken people beyond fixing, and that the restlessness that we feel in the pits of our stomachs and the weight of our hearts is what we deserve for being fallen, sinful people.

Don’t live there.
Don’t wallow in that muck and believe that damning lie.
The son who turned his back on his father and spent his entire inheritance on partying, prostitutes and comfort found himself feeding muddy, fetid pigs.  Day in and day out he was covered in mud and pig excrement.  He definitely smelled as bad as they did.  He had lost everything – squandered a small fortune on foolish, regrettable things, and the stink of his life went much deeper than clothes and skin.  He lived there.  He wallowed there.  That pen of stench became his home for a period of time, until he came to senses.  As Jesus told this story of prodigal son, I imagine some who were listening felt that he was telling their story.  The prodigal son came to his senses, got up and devised a plan to return to his father.  He formulated a plan in his mind, he believed he would be unwelcome to return as a son, but maybe, just maybe his father would let him return as a servant.  Can you imagine that restless journey home; The endless loop of things he would finally say to his father in order to stave off the reprisals and chastisements?  As each dusty step led him closer and closer to the home he once knew, thoughts of doubt and fear must have crept in.  “Master, just let me work for you.” (For surely he would never be worthy to call him father after what he did).

And when this beaten-by-life man, who had squandered everything and had hit absolute rock-bottom crested that last hill, and his home was in view…he saw someone running towards him.  Perhaps it was a servant instructed to chase him off.  Perhaps it was a warning not to come any closer…he would have deserved such a welcome.  Instead, it wasn’t any of those things…it was his father that he had wished were dead, running to embrace the son he thought he had lost.

Don’t live in the home of restlessness.
Don’t believe the lie of shame and guilt.
Be forgiven, let your Father embrace you and welcome you home…and when you are finally hope, re-tape that box and then throw it away.

The prodigal son is me.
The prodigal son is you.
But once we have been embraced,
once we have witness our Father running to us,
Once we have been forgiven and returned to our home (where we belong)
don’t even entertain the lie or the box any longer.

But sometimes…we still walk at midnight, say hello, I’ll be waving.

Something more to ponder today.

Persevere and Endure!

By your endurance you will gain your lives (souls).” Luke 21:19

This is a foreboding passage.
PJesus basically tells His disciples that bad days are coming, and yet if they persevere, they will win or gain their souls.  It is without question that most of the disciples endured hardship, persecution and even execution.  Life was extremely hard for these Christ-followers, yet they persevered not just for themselves, but for their Rabbi – for their Messiah.  The purpose that they had been given was beyond just their solitary lives – it was a purpose that brought hope into all of the corners of the known world.

From this first century context, we too can glean some meaning from these words of Jesus.  Life doesn’t always contain full promises and ONLY happy days…life is sometimes hard.  Sickness happens, unemployment occurs, cut backs, mounting bills, relationship issues, broken promises, loss of loved ones and friendships you thought would be long lasting.  Life. Is. Hard. Sometimes.

painIt is certainly a sharp contrast from the lives of those first followers of Christ, but there are still many very real struggles in this life.  I don’t want to list all of them today, but I do wish to convey that you are not alone.  We all endure these hardships, these difficult days, these dark days.  Sometimes giving up seems like the easiest thing to do – don’t.  Sometimes throwing in the towel on our faith seems like the logical thing to do when anger and frustration consumes us – don’t.

Faith often takes us to places that we generally do not wish to be.
We long for the warm sun in our faces and the soft sand beneath our feet, but instead we stand in the bitterness of winter’s blasts numbing our faces and our hearts.  Even then we’re to endure?  Even here in the dark days?  -Yes.  We fight on.  We recognize that our witness of Christ in us matters to our small corner of this world.  We wage a war against these spiritual forces in our world that long to tighten, not loosen, the bonds of sin and death upon all of humanity.

thyDespite the season or circumstances you might find yourself in today – Faith wins.
We step out and onward knowing that God’s Holy presence is with us.  We continue this calling of love.  We say “Your will be done in my life – not mine.”  Only in full submission does any of this make sense.  Only in full submission to God do we become strong again and can access strength that is supernatural and beyond us.  Only here are we able to persevere and endure.  Only here will we gain the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, not that He isn’t always present, but rather, we have become finely tuned into His frequency in this world and in our lives.

So How About it?
Are you struggling today?  Do you know someone who is going through a dark time?
How can this hope and light of Christ alleviate and penetrate that darkness?   Are you submitted fully to Him?  endure

Regardless of what has transpired in your life, today is what matters – how you live this moment makes a difference.  We can choose to curse God for our circumstances or we can praise Him despite the difficulties that we face.

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Life…emptying the ocean into a thimble…

Emptying the ocean into a thimble
Emptying the ocean into a thimble

I have this visual in my head.
It’s the image of me and the image of God…and they are so vastly different.
In this image, I am so very, very small.
I am barely a speck within this massive cosmic universe.

I am a thimble.
I cannot hold much.
What I can hold is quite limited.
What I can’t hold is very, very expansive.


It reminds me of a time when I stood on top of a large building in the city and looked down.  Everyone was going about their day, unknowingly being watched from above.  They looked so small from my vantage point.  The cars and vehicles we plodding along and they almost looked like ants in a line.  It never seemed to stop or slow down…it just…kept moving.   The distant sounds of horns blaring and tires screeching could be heard, and it seemed suddenly quite silly.

Sometimes I wonder if this is how we look to God. thimble1
I wonder if He peers down at us…then again, where did we ever get this notion that He is looking down from somewhere?  Could it be that He is right next to us…could it be that he is holding our thimbles in his hands? …(okay, now I’m silently humming “he’s got my thimble in his hands…”)

But in reality I wonder sometimes if we are so consumed in our lives with trying to cram every single thing into our tiny vessels.

We try to cram in success.
We try to cram in popularity.
We try to cram in things and money and cars and homes and happiness and love and acceptance and families and jobs and contentment and places and desires and dreams and politics and rights and wrongs and judgement and….you get it don’t you?  That’s one long run-on sentence and yet, in a way, that’s what we’re doing to our lives.

booksSometimes we do too much.
We pile our “stuff” too high.
We demand far more of ourselves than God does of us…

We think that doing “things” in some sort of right order is what honors God, and then pretty soon those things sometimes replace or unknowingly take the place of God because it all has to be in the right order and done in the right way and polished to a tee…and so we work really, really hard at something that should be about God but it becomes all about us…

And so….Photo Nov 12, 11 19 44 AM

I keep coming back to this image.

How many times am I attempting to pour the whole ocean into my thimble?

How many times am I attempting to do this insane, impossible thing?

How many times do I come away from this “work” feeling defeated and, in no way have I gone even a few inches from where I started?

News flash…
maybe we weren’t created to carry the entire ocean around in our thimbles.
Maybe that’s not how this whole thing works.

It’s like going to the beach.beach

My family and I went this past summer.
We live in the cold north and so going to the beach means traveling a long distance.
So we drove, and drove and drove…finally we got there only to have like three days to enjoy the beach…and so we soaked up the sun and the sounds and the sand for as much time as we could.  We did all of the dumb touristy things.  We collected shells and bought overpriced souvenirs and we attempted to take the beach back home with us by the bucket full and because it was also caked in the carpets of our van.

Do we attempt to fill our thimbles with the entire ocean because we feel it will suddenly disappear?  Is this how we think about God?
I mean, if we don’t make this mad dash to overflow our thimbles with His infinite ocean do we fail at this holy life?  Is that what being a Christian is all…about?

antsAre we like ants in a line as we go to church and  carry our bibles and dress the part and look good “dressing the part”….

In a very real way have we lost the true meaning of what a “Christ-follower” is all about in this insane rat race of rituals and practices?

Are we attempting to empty the entire ocean into our thimbles when God doesn’t work that way? …and as we do these things are we becoming more and more frustrated, disillusioned and lost?

Matthew 10:10 says…matt 1010
Can we just simply come to Him and experience life without trying to swallow it whole while pouring the entire ocean into these thimbles?  Can we experience this abundant living by being content with what and who we are and what He is giving to us?


Jesus said that he had living water and if we drank from that water we would never be thirsty again…is that enough for us?  Can we just sit by that well and realize that the ocean isn’t going anywhere?
Perhaps it’s time to stop the rat race.
Perhaps it’s time to stop attempting to fill our thimbles with the entirety of the ocean as we are never satisfied.

thimbleHow’s your thimble?

Something more to ponder today.

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