Tuesday, April 12, 2016

But all who wander are not lost.

Jesus taught the people, saying: “Take notice of what you are hearing.” Mark 4:24

I hope the book of Ruth affects you the way a trip to the Grand Canyon might. How do you apply the Grand Canyon? Of course, you don’t apply the Grand Canyon–you are stunned by its beauty. You stop talking as you let it fill your soul. You are silent as your soul expands. You sense that you don’t have enough capacity to capture the beauty.

One of the oddest things about deep suffering is that the sun comes up in the morning. Life limps along. We have to hang in there with the story that God has permitted in our lives. As we endure, as we keep showing up for life when it makes no sense, we learn to love, and God shows up too.

Hesed, His steadfast love, a one-way love, a stubborn love. Your response to the other person is entirely independent of how that person has treated you. Love like this is unbalanced, uneven. There is nothing fair about this kind of love. But commitment-love lies at the heart of Christianity. It is Jesus’ love for us at the cross, and it is our love for one another. We rightly sense that death is at the center of love.

When feelings are the standard, we are left adrift on a turbulent sea. But with hesed love, you don’t allow your spirit to pull away. You move towards the other person; you don’t allow an ugly space to grow. –Paul Miller, A Loving Life

So one of the very cool things was that Manuel wanted to watch dawn rise over the Canyon. We had endured a sort of awkward and not-enough-blankets dozing in the car by the side of the road night in Nicole’s big old Cadillac and even before the tiniest hint of light had started to edge the horizon we stumbled along a trail to the very edge.

And waited in silence. Awake. Eyes open.

And the Monday night ladies have started a new book. And in each of our lives there is some of that darkest-before-dawn aching limping forward, in hope of the resurrection love. And we don’t really understand what it will look like, and maybe there is a little doubt mixed in as well, that keeps us from recognizing Him as He comforts us outside of the tomb of smashed expectations.

His lovingkindness. Hesed, His steadfast love, a one-way love, a stubborn love.

And one more morning before dawn I pray the prayer of hope and strength and courage.

Make us strong and courageous to do the new thing, because You are not the God of I was but You are the God I am and You are doing a new thing and that thing is unfolding right now in us. We will be strong and courageous and we will not be afraid, and we will not be discouraged, for You are the Lord our God & You will be with us where we go, so we take the next step which may feel like a leap of faith but our best mode of transportation through anything is always a leap of faith. –Ann Voskamp

And this morning’s wonder watching was through Arroyo Chico under bulbous pregnant-with-rain clouds shaded with silvers of every hue. The creosote were so bursting with flowers and fluffy pods that I could barely breathe. It was too dark to see the compass point mountains so I wandered around and around under yellow-drenched waterfalls of palo verdes and paid attention past the prickly pears and chollas. And pretty much the moment I stepped back through the front door the clouds let loose and birthed.

I might have to take the bus to school.

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to His disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of my faith, that I may behold Him in all His redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.