Hello Friends, Welcome to 2021, a year of promise.
In our corner of the wilds, it’s been a *chilly* start to the new year—in a few ways. As I look up into the sound of the wind blowing through the pines my heart feels full to bursting as I know I can truly say, “I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
I’d like to share with you words that have heartened and instructed me again and again and that I am holding tight to now:
“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.” -Mother Theresa
In fact, if you’ve been around here long you might even be a little tired of hearing me say it. But the thing is, these words have metamorphosed my life. It gave me a dark, though welcoming, entry way into some other words that stumped me for so long I think I actually hated them. I mean, really.
As Rich Mullins would say, “It’s right there in the Bible…” but if it were up to me… I’m sure there’s been a few times, given the choice, I woulda just crossed them out. Here they are:
“…when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 2:10
Nope, I thought to myself over and over. When I am weak I am most definitely weak. And I hated it.
I hated an overarching sense of being trapped within my own self/body/person, whether it was physical illness, emotional depths, frustrated spiritual quests…I wanted out. The last door I thought opened the way there …out… was the one labeled “weakness”.
It would take me book-length proportions to share all the ways this door finally cracked open and the way the light from the crack bathed me, enlivened me—cracked me open. I am working on that book!
But for now, for this day, I want to share these words that pointed and still point me toward goodness, wholeness, in the midst and mist of places that goodness is hidden.
Instead of overwhelm with what “I can’t do”, the body (whatever that may currently be) that I feel trapped in is reminded to see the many many daily practical things that are immediately within our reach. These things might seem “small” to us at first, but believing more in God’s love and power than in our weakness holds a key to inner renovation. I’ve experienced this most especially in the midst of crisis and suffering. And I will need this mercy again and again.
Yeshua (Jesus) once said to a soul crying out in deepest anguish, “My grace is sufficient for you…my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is noooot the first thing that comes to mind to say to my friends when they share their sorrows and suffering with me. Well, it didn’t used to be, until it saved my life, offering me an invitation where all I could see was culmination, end.
What an absolute gift it is when hope enters our hearts just enough to say or maybe even simply whisper, “I believe, help my unbelief!”
The soul Yeshua spoke to grasped such a gift and was able to exclaim (and I always imagine him crying here), “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Like Mother Theresa he chose. He settled on believing more in God’s love and power than in his own weaknesses or pain-filled circumstances. Like John the Baptiser they became less, God became more.
But unlike some “friends” we’ve all met (oftentimes even ourselves) who let and even aid us in “becoming less”—when that’s what we really believe about ourselves, when we think our weaknesses and dark places are the end of the story—Yeshua isn’t like that. Yeshua illuminates the way through our “less”, pursuing us and inviting us to see it, see us, the way He does. This is what wooed and devoted “the great saints”: the friendship of God.
“The friendship of God is with those who are in awe of Him…” (Ps.25:14) Friendship here is the word sod in Hebrew, it means hidden things. Oh my heart! Is this not our prayer? Teach us the hidden things? So often, it is the shape of my prayers… “show me the way out and through these misty landscapes where I feel confused, lost, unknown, unseen.”
The passage in Psalm 25 goes on to speak of how He makes known to those (who are in awe of Him) His covenant. In the Hebrew language the covenant made in marriage is called, “the lifting up”! This is the true story of what covenant means. It is pure friendship that lifts up, and in that lifting we are given the prowess and power of sight. We’ll see what is always true, even in impenetrable fog.
Friends, there is so little that I know and if you visited me in my corner of wilds you would understand the chill I speak of, but I do know this…the friendship of our Creator costs nothing and costs everything.
What does it cost us to look out and up with hope today, to stand in awe? Nothing.
It costs us a pause, a moment, where we choose to believe more in His power and love than our own weakness. Take it from someone who knows, we invest a lot of stock (emotional, physical, in every way) in our own weaknesses.
In graciousness these have been designed as gateways to freedom also. Yet, releasing, opening, forsaking their place of honor in our hearts—this is no small thing. This is why I hated those words up top. Those words cost.
Look at them with me again?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
The most expensive part, is the way they cost us our vision, sight to see that He is the Friend, the Bridegroom, the All, and the Forever Who will lift us up, not tear us down. To not perceive that He will not make us less rather show us our radiance by looking up into His eyes is a poverty beyond belief, it is to not fully breathe. Yet even a glimpse of His great love, His smile turned toward us, His children, His beloved, His Bride, His own is to become fully human.
These things might seem “small” to us at first…but receiving God’s love and power, and forsaking our pride, holds a key to inner renovation. It will change our lives. It will change the world.
No, not perfect. But yes, whole. okay. content. breathing. filled with life. able to give life. wherever you go—in insult or hardship, “weak or strong”.
Today, I am praying for us all, His own, to know Him, to see Him seeing us. I pray for us to know how He will use every dark place as a womb for new life. I pray for us the grace of grasping how many times, places, and days we get to choose presence—that we are not at the mercy of our bodies or emotions or circumstances, but rather that the true story surrounding us all and in every moment is this: “Every ending is a new beginning”.
As my son Eliezer teaches me: may we have child-like eyes open for surprises. Singing and playing our songs in the lands of our sojourns, learning a little bit at a time, more and more, about the land called Glad.
It would take me book-length proportions to share all the ways this door finally cracked open and the way the light from the crack bathed me, enlivened me—the way I’m still learning it and want to until the end of my days. I am working on that book and actually you are too…
That book is being written every time we turn away from the, “I can’t do”, the body (whatever that may currently be) that we feel trapped in. We write it when we turn to see the many many daily practical things that are immediately within our, reach. These things might seem “small” to us at first, but believing more in God’s love and power than in our weakness changes everything.
Whisper it with me today?
“I believe, help my unbelief” –Mark 9:24
I hear Jesus smiling…
“‘If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” –Mark 9:23
The pics in this post are from our New Years morning hike to see the first dawn. As you can see the promise of daybreak did not promise a lot of sunlight, but it was day nonetheless and that’s far from nothing. Maybe even something worth standing in awe of.
Thank you for being here, for your kindness of listening to the things I am learning. What are you learning, what words are you holding tight that you find holding you right now as well? I would love-love to hear.
With you in the journeying. I love you my friends.
P.S. Please share with anyone you think might be encouraged today by some togetherness.
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