Wednesday, 11 February 2009

a prayer whispered.

When I least expect, when I least deserve, when I least feel....
....Your freedom has overtaken my soul.

I thank You, Jesus, for the expanse of the cross. For the unending life that it promises. Not only that, but the truth of freedom that it brings and the way of hope it gives. For forgiveness. For You are the way, the truth, and the life.

'He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restrictions, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.' (Job 36:16).

With all the sermons and words that have been flying about, perhaps the child-like faith of one who has been reminded of her Father's heart might finally be restored.

'Don't live in fear of your mistakes. Trust Me.'
I realise that I do this constantly. Waking up in the morning, still with those mistakes I made yesterday clinging to my skin like dirty clothes that should have been taken off the night before. I insist on keeping them by me, like a duty I must pay in order to come inside. When will I ever realise that it isn't the duty He wants....but for some inexpressible reason He wants ME.

It's like He's waiting there, next to an alter. Waiting for me to come and lay down these inexpresible and perhaps insignificant burdens, sins, and shames down at His feet. He helps me to lift them up onto the alter, quietly, and then lights a torch. He hands it to me and I light the fire. As we watch it burn He places His arm about me....I don't even know what the burden was (bitterness and unforgiveness maybe?) but I feel as if this is part of the relearning of what it is to be a daughter: giving it over to Him instead of attempting to figure it out, repair it, or hide it. His faithfulness and tenderness are everlastingly strong.

'When I said, 'my foot is slipping',
Your love, O Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
Your consolation brough joy to my soul.'
(Psalm 94:18-9).

As George Macdonald says in his fairy-tale Phantases, 'past tears are present strength' and future joy. 'Nor do we know how much of the pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy.' (George Macdonald, Phantases). Our lives are full of beauty and tragedy, of joy and sorrow. And if He is our Deepest Truth, then it most certainly will be the Deepest of all Joys.

'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.' (1 Peter 1: 3-9).

'Every tragedy of higher order, constructed in Christian times, will correspond more or less to the grand drama of the Bible; wherein the first act opens with a brilliant sunset vision of Paradise, in which childish sense and need are served with all the profusion of the indulgent nurse. But the glory fades off into grey and black, and night settles down upon the heart which, rightly uncontent with the childish, and not having yet learned the childlike, seeks knowledge and manhood as a thing denied by the Maker, and yet to be gained by the creature; so sets forth alone to climb the heavens, and instead of climbing, falls into the abyss. Then follows the long dismal night of feverish efforts and delirious visions, or, it may be, helpless despair; till at length a deeper stratum of the soul is heaved to the surface; and amid the first dawn of morning, the youth says within him, "I have sinned against my Maker-I will arise and go to my Father." More or less, I say, will Christian tragedy correspond to this-a fall and a rising again; not a rising only, but a victory; not a victory merely, but a triumph.' (George Macdonald, 'The Broken Swords').

'Hope is not in what I know. It's not in me, it's in You....I find peace when I'm confused, I find hope when I'm let down. Not in me, it's in You.' (Switchfoot, You).