My poor, neglected blog. . . Well, here I am, writing again and, Lord willing, I will soon commit myself to daily writing practice. I have a plan to blog daily for a month, but at present it is a feeble, half-formed plan not even in its infancy--an embryonic plan.
For a time, I was caught up in such a hectic schedule that there simply was no time to write--indeed, there was hardly time to think! This is the season of my life, I suppose, because writing cannot be allowed steal time away from my primary job and calling--the training of my children. They are by far the largest investment of my time as a homeschool mom, and I take their discipleship very seriously. They have all made a profession of faith in Christ and been baptized, and now it is my job to see that they begin to develop their relationship with the Lord and to disciple them to that end. My oldest is already half-way to becoming a man, and my part in his life will dwindle in the coming years. I feel so strongly the need to instill in him--in them all--the importance of daily prayer and time studying the Scriptures, in spending time with the Lord so they can learn to recognize His voice, and diligence to fix their hearts and wills on the Shepherd who will lead them in peace. I feel strongly, also, my ineptitude, my failures, and my lack. But I know that God will make up what is lacking and that He is teaching me while I teach them. I am learning, very slowly learning, to rely on Him and not on myself. And each day that I stumble, I long that much more for that day in which every tear will be wiped away. . .
Speaking of tears, I have shed no small number recently. There is simply so much pain in this world that, from time to time, it overwhelms me. At a recent party I saw children who were growing up with no stable concept of what the words "family" or "father" mean. Instead, there are terms like "baby daddy" and "baby momma" to describe what once was a very straight-forward relationship. The idea of God as Father will be so much more remote to these children than it ever was to those whose fathers were merely abusive.
I also saw people who entered a room with suspicion and barely muted anger in their eyes. I saw loyal friends put on hold for a disloyal child parading as a man. I saw confusion and hopelessness, and I took away a feeling of sorrow for the many, many hurting people that I watched and spoke with and those they represent.
And then there are pangs that are closer to home. Friends who are hurting in ways that simply should not be. Marriages that are raw, open wounds rather than places of sanctuary, harmony, and peace. My own personal disappointments and the fading shame of my past that still mushrooms undimmed from time to time.
Inside all of this pain, however, there is a small core of perfect tranquility and calm--a very small one--upon which this pain breaks and must, of necessity, recede. This Rock is immovable and will not change, though I am being changed by it--the swells of pain are merely one of His tools. This Rock, unlike therocky shoreline which will gradually succumb to erosion, grows larger within me day by day. Pain is simply a part of the process of being remade more and more into His image, as we once were before the Fall. As such, I embrace it with mingled tears of unutterable joy and bitterest sorrow. It is the pain of the human condition.
In this I know that in some minuscule way, I am being allowed the merest and yet heavily veiled glimpse of His anguish in bearing the sins of the world. I could never endure more than the tiniest peek, much less the faintest pressure of it; but knowing this I only love Him all the more. I cannot even bring myself to wade in the ocean of suffering that surrounds me, but He willingly immersed Himself within it. It is His grace alone that keeps me from being dashed to pieces, broken and ruined by it. It is His ability to sustain the full brunt of it that saved me in the first place. But for His sacrifice -- but for His taking on the intolerable weight of this agony and paying the gravest of all penalties for it -- I would be an irretrievable castaway. How could I not love Him for this?
So I say to you, now, whoever you may be... if you do not know this comfort, this love, this joyful abandon of perfect trust, do you even know that you may? You may, if you choose, grow to know this Man who is Immanuel and who has already paid the price of your shame. You may accept His love and His gift--the free gift of salvation and the glory of knowing that someday all despair, suffering, cruelty, and all wrongs will be lost in the magnificence of eternal and inconceivable bliss. You may rejoice now in suffering, "knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." You may choose to grasp the hand that is extended to you as a lifeline... or you may choose to swim in the unpredictable, raging tides of man's fallen nature. He offers you life, and that abundantly. He offers, not an absence of hardship, but peace despite it. It is a choice you must make, and by refusing to decide, you do choose though not wisely.
I urge you, choose wisely, my beloved! This life is a mere breath, though it seems long. Choose obedience to the One who made you, not to the whims of your tormented heart. He offers you a delightful feast of life; I implore you, do not drink rank death instead. Whatever it is that enslaves you--anxiety, remorse, hate, fear, guilt, lust, greed, despair--whatever it may be, you are not bound to swim those murky waters. You can choose to know the Truth and surrender yourself to Him, and then, O prisoner! You will be free indeed.