Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Faith in Faithlessness

My shoes are wet.  My feet are cold.  I am not enamored with the beauty of nature.  I am distracted by its inconvenience.  It is in these moments that I realize how disconnected I am with the ways of God.  God has created a beautiful mystery even in the fragile wonder of the morning dew and all I can see is how it frustrates my intentions.  That's just like me.  I am not a model of faith.  I am a model of foolishness.  I am thankful that Jesus loves prostitutes and sinners and fools.  I am in good company.

The past four weeks has been one of the hardest periods of my life.  Since we made the decision to move back here, it's been like a 5 mile free-fall drop into uncertainty.  The virtually non-stop work has been a mercy from God.  I have little time to dwell on all the ways this could fall apart.  I'm exhausted at night, but at least I can sleep.  No energy left to stay awake all night worrying, a skill at which I have become exceptionally proficient.

Still, no matter how busy, there is always the loneliness.  I've always felt lonely.  But recently I have been particularly justified in the feeling.  I have no one here.  Traci has her family.  And I suppose I have them as well, though I feel like I am constantly a guest in someone else's life.  I can see her changing a bit since we moved here.  I am glad to see her healing in some ways.  I have put her through so much over the past 16 years, it's a small thing for me to feel lonely so that she can be happy.  I should thank God for letting me see past myself for a few brief moments for the sake of my family.  It's sad to recognize that those moments are indeed so few.

That doesn't change the fact that I miss the people who have become so deeply engraved upon my life.  When things went to hell in Iowa, there were some who loved me through the pain and the betrayal and the morass of despair, hopelessness and crushing self-doubt.  I miss them very, very much.  I thank God for them, and I feel in some ways like I have lost them, even though I know I haven't.  Not really.  Again, you know how much you've loved someone by how much you miss them when they're not with you.

I know that God is with us wherever we go.  But sometimes we really are alone.  I don't think it's right to deny that.  Loneliness is not an illusion.  However, we are never completely alone.  Never without the life and the love that is Jesus.

I am looking forward to what God is going to do here.  At the same time, I'm scared to death of what he's going to do here.  I was reading a biography of Rich Mullins recently and I resonated with a comment that he made about feeling like the plow that takes all the hits as it turns the soil.  In reality, I know that I have really suffered very little.  But I do feel like that sometimes.  I feel like it's my role in life to smack into all the rocks.  I suppose the good news is, all I have to do is weather the hits.  I'm not the one driving the plow, I'm just one of many blades; I just have to stay in the ground and go where God drives me.  That thought makes my heart rise into my throat, and I feel in this moment like maybe that's who I want to be.  Maybe that's who I always have been.  Maybe I shouldn't be afraid to be who I am.  God, please don't let the collateral damage take out my family.  Protect my children.

The past few weeks have been like the dew in my life.  My toes are squishing around in wet shoes now, but the sun is rising in the east and in His glorious wonder God is soon going to burn it away.  And in my own foolish Israelite way, I will miss it when its gone.  I don't know how a person can miss pain, but I always do.  And I'll see how even cold feet are a blessing, and how, if only I had faith, I would have enjoyed the beauty of the dawn.  God grant me the grace to trust you and see the beauty of your love in every moment.

In the same biography of Rich Mullins, there was quote from Brennan Manning's typical benediction.  I want to share it with the me who will read this later - and anyone else unfortunate enough to stumble upon this blog:

May all of your expectations be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child
And can sing and dance in the love of God,
Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


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