When God Remained

Remember that time I was too ill to read my bible? To even listen to it being read to me? When I was too ill to mutter a prayer, to even think one? That time where all I could manage was to whisper “Jesus” while my body attacked itself and I lay semi-conscious?

Maybe you don’t. I do. (Actually I only remember parts of it, it turns out there are huge parts that I just have no recollection of.) It turns out many of you visited me during that time. Every now and then someone will say something to me, and I’ll smile and nod wondering to myself when on earth that happened, because I don’t remember it at all. Or suddenly something will trigger a memory, a memory that seems as though it could be just a dream, but I find out it is in fact reality. Thank you for each of you who visited. I know it meant the world to me, even if I subsequently have no memory of it. My heart is still blessed and grateful knowing the care and love you showed. Anyway, that’s not what this is about.

iv_dreamstimeRemember that time I was too ill to read my bible? To even listen to it being read to me? When I was too ill to mutter a prayer, to even think one? That time where all I could manage was to whisper “Jesus” while my body attacked itself and I lay semi-conscious?

For months I didn’t read scripture, I didn’t pray, I didn’t attend church, I didn’t do any of the things you’re told to do. Those things the Sunday school teacher drummed into you as a kid, the things you hear from the pulpit. Read your bible, pray daily, come to church weekly, get to a small group. No I did none of those things. All I did was whisper the name of Jesus.

You know what? God didn’t leave. He didn’t walk out on me. He didn’t give up. He didn’t go and find someone more interesting, more dedicated, more vocal, more involved. He stayed right where he was, if anything, if possible, he moved a little closer. He heard me repeat that one name over and over for months “Jesus” and nothing more. I must have sounded like a broken record, and yet he leaned in close, delighting in that one word, anticipating the moment a second would be added. Leaning in close, but without any pressure.

I didn’t do any of the things we’re told we must do. Yet God remained. Why? Because it’s not about prayer, or scripture, or church attendance. It’s about God. It’s about love. It’s about our relationship, and if all you can manage is one word, that’s ok. Let that one word be your worship and your devotion.

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The Truth In His Word

I’m laying there trying to remember. Placing shards of memories next to each other, trying them out until I find a fit for this puzzle and the whole thing can start to take shape, take meaning. I grapple for understanding, desperate to find the cord that is wrapped so tightly around me that I may be able to loose it and be free. I fight hard to know what it is all about, I search frantically to find Him there, I shift my gaze anxiously trying to see the memories from His perspective.

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I try, I grapple, I fight, I search, I shift; and still there is no peace in the midst of the storm. Still I cannot hear His voice above the thunder and rain. Still I cannot see his face amongst the black clouds and lightening.

There is one more hope, I take out His letter to me, His word, I flip through the many pages and stop letting the book fall open. My eyes land on one sentence.


“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”*

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The truth will set me free; yes it is true, he has confirmed it. Yet I know not the truth, I cannot place it together. He says that to get the truth I must be His follower, His disciple, to be his disciple means to remain in His word, to be constantly living in His word, to have it written on my heart.

I make a mental note to read this letter, this book, His word, more often.

*John 8:31-32


Picnic Bench Encounters

He had spoken to me that morning. I remained silent. After such a long time of wishing he would speak, after hoping that somehow, somewhere, we would be able to get back on track, he spoke, and all I did was swallow hard and remain silent.

I ran down that gravel path as fast as I could, down to the picnic bench and collapsed onto it, head falling onto my arms on the table. Hoping he would meet me there, some small part of me believing he would.

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The hurt, the desperation, the longing, inside me so large, causing me to ache from deep within. Taking deep breaths, scared to let the emotions rise up. Then it came, from deep inside, the tears, the sobs, the painful weeping, and the hot angry tears. I shouted at noone in particular

“I can’t do it! It’s too much, I can’t do it!”

Suddenly I realized I wasn’t alone, he had come to meet me just as I had hoped, joined me on the bench while I was too busy with my head bent over sobbing to notice. Aware of his presence I let the questions come, not looking up.

“Why do you love me anyway? How can you love me?”

He was silent, but I could feel him listening. I repeated the question, this time through uncontrollable sobs.

“How could you love me? Do you really love me?”

He waited quietly while I let the tears flow, letting the emotions bubble over and leak out until all the turmoil was laid bare, and what was left was calm quiet. I pulled my head up from my arms and as I wiped the tears off my face and the snot from my nose he spoke.

“I love you, I love you more than you understand.”

At his words I began sniffing to stop the tears flowing again. He continued;

“I love you, I created you and I see all you can become, I see the beauty.”

I let his words sink in, and prayed they would be graven onto my heart. Walking away I thanked my creator God for meeting me there in that place. Not a church, or holy building, but a humble picnic bench, right where I was, right where I needed Him.

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