I am running as fast as I can on the road that goes nowhere.
The Cheshire Cat lied as he smiled at me and said
If I ran long enough I’d get somewhere.
In this land where things are not what they seem to be,
I have forgotten who I am and where I am going.
If I don’t know who I am, then where do I go with all my running.
Who am I? A product of chance and the sod?
A dispensable taxi for disdainful DNA?
Does my life have meaning and purpose?
Or do I live to just pass DNA on?
Dust to dust, sending forth seed and then I am done?
If that’s all I am, then why do I run?
Why do I dream the impossible dream
Or try to reach the unreachable star?
That I am the child of the Most High God,
Named and treasured, loved and cherished,
Nothing random about me at all?
Is it that the impossible dream, the unreachable star
Is found in the place of rest within My Creator’s heart?
Your love comes
Dripping like honey
Gold and soft and sweet
Flowing over my jagged edges
Covering and hiding
My stony places
Dripping into the
Deep dark wells of my heart
Soft Balm of Gilead
Pouring into me
Holding nothing back
Emptying Your fullness
Into my emptiness
Changing my bitterness
By Your sweetness
The Israelites begged Moses to cover his face because they could not bear to gaze upon the glory of God, however pallidly it was reflected on Moses’ face. They feared a God they could not control, a God who could not be bought and bribed, a God who was real – who spoke, who commanded, who did things.
Imagine, each time they looked at Moses face, they were reminded of the holy reality of God. Fear, fear of punishment, fear of falling short, fear of God’s requirements cast a veil over their hearts. It filtered the words into their hearts. Fear filtered out the love of God. Separated from the character of God, divorced from the reality of His love, the law became drudgery, a heavy burden, an insurmountable obstacle to peace and rest.
How can one submit to that which one fears? How can one believe in the goodness of that which one fears? How can one listen when fear forms a wall? In Jeremiah’s time, fear had so hardened their hearts and blinded them, that the Israelites could not hear the love and concern that God was voicing through His true prophets. Fear made every message seem ugly and threatening. Fear made them deaf to the promises that were woven into every warning.
But in Christ the veil is removed. He came with the express purpose of exploding the myths and half-truths about God. He came to tear down the barriers of fear and lies that would keep us from running to God. He came to show us the Father heart of God, His tender affection towards us.
He did not come to set some impossible standards, but He came to show us the purity of the righteousness of God, the amazing ‘other’/holy quality of His love. Love full of wisdom, truth, patience, strength and full of justice.
He came to reveal the true glory of God – the character of God. Glory, not as we think of it in our petty human minds, where we associate glory with plaudits and shining lights. Jesus came to reveal the full dimensions of God’s love, righteousness, truth, justice, grace, mercy, power.
And He came to be the Way into the Father’s heart. No more hanging outside with bleating lambs, hoping the sacrifice is acceptable. He became the Lamb that was fully acceptable. No more downcast eyes and prostrate figures – John was lifted up and set on his feet, in the presence of the Holy God. True, the elders voluntarily fell down before the Throne, but they did that because they could find no words exalted enough or complete enough to express all that was in their hearts after they had experienced the beauty and glory of God.
The Door – stands open. Each day we can enter into His glorious Holy presence. Nay, more than that he has opened His heart to us to be our HOMES, to dwell in Him…
No more waiting for Moses, Samuel or Jeremiah to go between, to find out the will of the Lord. No! WE can enter and dwell in the Name of Jesus, to hear the voice of the Lord for ourselves. We can gaze upon His beauty, His holiness and be transformed by His love.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love casts out fear,
because fear has torment.
He who fears has not been perfected in love.
We love Him because He first loved us.
1Jn 4:18-19 MKJV
Yesterday I somehow ended up listening to a song from my childhood –
And one of the lines goes:
“There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
Don’t judge her yet, there’s an unfinished part”
That made me smile.
Work In Progress.
What a wonderful thing to remember when I’ve goofed up yet again to remember that God has not given up on me, that He is still working on me! What a wonderful thing to remember that it took 6 days for God to get the entire Universe together and going, but He is still working patiently on me! Its taking Him that long, because He waits patiently for me to quieten down and listen to Him. Then He waits for me to be willing to obey Him.
He allowed me to savour the joy of the moment.
Then His hands began to move again – pushing and shaping…
‘Do you love receiving My grace? Does it lift burdens from your heart?
Does it make you feel loved?
Do you know your husband, your child, your family, your church are my unfinished symphonies too? I am still working on them too, you know? I haven’t given up on them either, you know? I love them too.’
I could see what He was getting at. I want grace. I want people to remember that I am still an unfinished work. To see me with eyes of grace and compassion. I want it, to hoard it, but to give it… well, that pinches.
Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’
Hmmmm…. How often do I actually see others with the eyes of grace that I see myself?
It is so easy to get discouraged with churchanity, especially when you see people teach one thing and do another thing. It is so easy to throw up one’s hands and do the 1000m dash like Elijah did.
But God was catching me on that one.
‘Are you willing to give grace to others? The grace you have so freely and lavishly received from ME?’
Willing? Well, I am willing to learn how…
‘Lord, give me the grace to see my brothers and sisters in Christ as being complete in You. Help me not to get exasperated with them because they are still unfinished symphonies. Thank you for loving me as I am, for never giving up on me. Give me eyes to see as You see, and release my heart Lord to love as You love me. In Jesus Name. Amen’
And may the Lord make you to
increase and abound in love
toward one another and toward all, …
1Th 3:12 MKJV
‘Tetelestai!’ He said.
It has been finished and accomplished,
There is nothing more to be done.
Fierce joy shot through Him,
Eclipsing agony for a moment,
All He could see in that instant
Were the mighty, numberless throng
Of men who were no longer captives
Men freed to wear a crown.
‘All that I am, I give to you
All that I have, I give to you
With My Body I honour you
I pledge my troth to you:
I have set you as a seal on My heart,
I have set you as a seal on My arm.
I will be with you to the end of the ages
Not even death can tear us apart.’
Tetelestai! He had made a way
To return home to His Father’s heart
And make His home in our hearts.
Earth meets heaven, and in Him both are made one.
Behold, here is Jehovah-Shammah
The dwelling of the Eternal One!
“… Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Heb 12:2 ESV
“And I will betroth you to me forever.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness
and in justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy.
I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
And you shall know the LORD.”
Hos 2:19-20 ESV
Visualise Abram sitting at the entrance to his tent, numb and gut empty watching the dust cloud raised by Lot and his departing household slowly fade away. Was Sarai there with him? We don’t know, the Bible is silent on that, but, we do know that God dropped in for a chat with Abram.
What do you do when you know a friend is disheartened and depressed? Do you leave them to get into a better mood, or do you call or visit and try and cheer them up? Abraham was called a ‘friend of God’. As good friends do, God, his Friend showed up at Abram’s silent tent to chat with him and cheer him up. In fact, God does better than that, He promises Abram a portion greater than what had been taken away from him.
“… all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever… Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” Gen 13:15-17
God was saying, “Abram, go explore the land, discover its boundaries, search out its horizons. I have given it to you.’ The land became Abram’s because GOD had decided to give it to him. Abram’s ownership of the land was not dependent on his perambulation of the land. It was a gift to him. Sadly, we often make it a conditional gift, dependent on Abram’s ability to claim the inheritance by walking. The land was his as a gift, but, his use and enjoyment of the land, however, was dependent on just how many of its hidden oasis and pasture treasures he discovered. No matter how rich and fertile the land was, it would have been of no use to Abram if he did not find them and use them. To do that, he had to get out and explore. And that was God was asking Him to do.
In Christ we have received a great gift – the gift of eternal life. Somehow we tend to think of it as life after death; the life we will experience in heaven. But this is how Christ defined eternal life.
And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:3
Sadly, instead of getting up and exploring the heart of God and getting to know the height, the depth, the width of His love and the unimaginable treasures of who He is, we spend our time trudging wearily keeping rules, watching ourselves to see if we have matched up to some impossible standard. While He waits. Waits for us to get tired with trudging and striving; for us to stop obsessing over our progress; for us to lift up our eyes and look into His eyes… and discover that He is waiting for us to settle down for a chat, for Him to unfold stories and treasures and guidance and whispers of love and in that communion to discover that He it is who has qualified you to inherit. He has begun a work, He will not rest till He has completed it.
Arise! Get up and explore! Discover if you can the boundaries and limitless horizons of God’s love. Search out the hidden depths of His heart. Delight in the sweetness of His character that you discover. Rest in the strength of His arms, secure in the knowledge that as His redeemed child He will do all that He needs to do to work out your completion. Open up the riches of your inheritance in Christ Jesus. Arise!
The Apostle Paul made this his prayer for the church in Ephesus : ‘May God give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. That the eyes of your hearts might be opened to know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints… who Christ IS and who He is in you… and that you would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.’
Christ in you and you in Christ! Arise, explore!
* I have loosely paraphrased and merged Paul’s prayer in Eph 1:16-23 & Eph 3:14-21