Monday, September 29, 2014

Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?

My God whose ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts.

What I desire: To live before God with true freedom that enables me to always desire more for His greater glory and then to know and to choose the way that is most useful for my chief end, to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever.

I have surrendered to Your desires
May this offering go up to the sky
Peace hallelujah, and be multiplied.

The freedom that Ignatius speaks of, and sought after with all heart, soul, and mind, is not found in wealth or health or relationships. Rather it can be found in the most dank (the students’ favorite vocabulary word from Steinbeck) prison, articulated by Paul and his triumphant Rejoice in all things, I say it again rejoice. And in Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago: Do not pursue what is illusory–property and position. Live with strong superiority over life–don’t be afraid of misfortune and do not yearn for happiness; it is after all, the same: the bitter never lasts forever, and the sweet news never fills the cup to overflowing.

I stare this truth in the face.

One thing about writing it all down, this manna for the day, this daily “What is it?” is that I possess documentation of the transitory nature of both happiness and sorrow, the up and down of crashing waves to the murky depths and then being lifted up into the bright sunlight. Yet the ship holds its course. There is an image of this in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as the children head east to Aslan’s land. While Lucy and Edmund quickly found their sailor legs and strode the deck confidently and clambered up the ropes and let the sea wind and sea salt splash in their uplifted faces, Eustace Scrubb (who almost deserved that name) lay in his bunk bed, moaning with sea sickness. Yet ‘twas the same sea.

Ignatius says, God is not interested in being the genie who attends to all my wants, needs and desires as I define them; but God is interested in transforming my desires and goals so they are now what He wants for me, no matter how at odds they may be with my current working set of operating principles for life.

Voskamp asks this question as well, when her seven-year-old son did not lose his hand when it went through a fan blade circulating air for hundreds of sows, while just down the street, the very same afternoon, a thirteen-year-old Mennonite boy dies, crushing his momma’s heart. Where is God’s grace in that situation? In both situations? In all situations?

But what perspective sees good in dead farm boys, good in a little girl crushed under tires of a truck right in front of her mother’s eyes, good in a brother-in-law who buries his first two sons in the space of nineteen months–and all the heinous crimes and all the weeping agony and all the scalding burn of this world?

I feel Him hold me–a flailing child tired in Father’s arms.

And I can hear Him soothe soft, “Are your ways My ways, child? Can you eat my manna, sustain on My mystery? Can you believe that I tenderly, tirelessly work all for the best good of the whole world–because My flame of love for you can never, ever be quenched?

And the little fuzzy clock radio clicked on this morning: No I never walk alone.