18 November 2010

He will not abandon my soul

Psalm 16: You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Miktam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

How beautiful the thought that the same God who made us and sent His Son to die for us will not abandon our souls! There is rest in that thought.

And at the end of our lives, when we are on the cusp of entering the Kingdom and finally seeing His glorious face and beholding the pure joy of an unfettered, eternal life, we will fully understand what it means that He does not abandon our souls to Sheol. He has rescued us and kept us close to His very heart.

To cast in our lots with Him to the end is the path of life. After 91 years, my dear grandmother just walked out of this world and into the presence of her King, into the fullness of joy, and will only behold His pleasures forevermore.

One day, I'm going to join her.

09 November 2010

Impending change and all that stays the same

Change is a funny thing. The more you experience what surprises it may hold, the less those surprises actually surprise you when they happen. In fact, there is something within us that knows change is coming - we just never know when or quite how it will take its effects. And, for that, we lie awake in the middle of the night wondering what comes next.

But I don't know how to deal with what comes next.

Mountains high, valleys low -

These are the things that makes us grow.

But all I want to know is if You can hear me,
and all I want to know is if You're still there.

It's easy to struggle these days. My life consists of constant busyness, and I so easily hide within it. There are a lot of changes coming into our lives very quickly, and the result is that all sorts of things that are hidden - that I still can't even name - are making their way out into the open.

My battles with trying to feel a part of the kingdom of God as an individual are nothing new. For the last few years, my few posts have largely dealt with that topic - of feeling inadequate, useless, fickle, and disconnected.

I think it all boils down to feeling burnt out when it comes to the personal Gospel of Christ. It is not difficult to believe that Christ came to die for me. I am easily a sinful, bitter, defiant child who cannot save herself. But for some reason, I have not been able to connect that to love for my Father, for my Savior, for the One who should be at the center of all - either lately or often.

It has become difficult to separate the spiritual defiance from the psychological defiance. And, please, don't get me wrong when I talk about psychology... I do believe that there are specific responses that are built into our bodies - I do not, however, believe that they excuse behavior. It is second-nature to blame my depressive tendencies on all that is happening now - and perhaps I need to start with those tendencies, unravel and attack them, before attempting to figure out why I have been feeling so defiant.

I keep using that word - defiant. Nothing else seems well-enough equipped to describe my current mindset. I am boldly resisting and challenging much of what has come my way over the last few years, as well as many of the things that I know are coming. In the sincerest sense, I hate that I do so, but I also feel powerless to quench it.

And perhaps that is where I have to remind myself that the love of God is impermeable and immutable - there is no depth I can traverse that He does not readily hear me and is not eager to be by my side. There's such a blessing to know that I am His forever, even if I don't know it.

So I can feel Your love wash over like rain;
I could feel Your joy in the midst of my pain.
Can You shine? Shine, on me.
And give me the faith I long to believe, please?

I wish I knew what my soul was longing for me to believe in! All I know is that there is a strong desire within me that is looking for some rest, some peace of heart, some reassurance - and yet I have no idea what it is, much less how to take it before the Lord.

Seasons change - Well, I change, too.
Like spring and summer, I fall to You,
and all I want to know is if You can heal me;
and all I want to know is if You're still listening, God;

and all I want to know is if You're still there, God.

The leaves have been changing outside, and in their brilliant displays of reds and yellows and oranges, I find myself marveling at how beautiful change and the cycle of death and regeneration are in life. The problem is that I feel as though my soul is failing to regenerate this time - as though I've run out steam in the dying process.

There are times when I wonder if I'll ever know the springtime understanding of freshness and new life. It's easy to crawl into a hole and hibernate, and much more difficult to crawl out and embrace a new season where everything is unfamiliar and uncertain (you never know when you'll get a snowstorm in May!).

And, yet, I am beginning to see that I am in desperate need of Spring in my soul.

So, why don't You shine? Come on, shine on me,
and give me the faith I want to believe?
I believe. I said, "I believe." No one's gonna take away that from me.

Perhaps that's where it starts - with understanding that no one can negate that Christ died and rose and conquered that death and my sin for me. Why do I not understand this daily? Why can I so seemingly move from activity to extra busyness and forget why I live in the first place?

No one can take Christ from me - not even me!

So why don't You shine? Come on, shine on me.
I know You will shine on me.
I know You're going to shine on me,
and You'll give me the faith I know to believe.

Seasons change - Well, I change, too.
Like spring and summer, I fall back to You.

I don't know how to handle what is coming.

I am perfectly certain that this next season will not be easy for me to bear. Regardless, it will be fruitful and it will be full of my stepping out in faith in new ways, hoping to see and know the One who has saved me in new ways.

Some days, I wear struggle like a piece of clothing. Today was one of those days.

And when those days are here, I pray I remember Christ is my strength - and fall back to Him.

[[words from "Mountains High Valleys Low" by Phillip LaRue]]