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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our Behalf...

"Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:4-6

This morning I woke up with the same prayer that I fell asleep whispering.
As I prepared to get my kids off to school, I tried not to think too much.
But as I puffed through the frigid air on my way back to my car after taking my son to his class, a thought struck me.
It wasn't unusual... but it made me blink.

Did Jesus have to experience cold mornings like this one?
Did He ever wake up to uneasiness or heaviness?
Without a heavy cover... a pillow... or a real place to rest Himself....
Did He shiver? 
Did He ache?
Did He long for warmth or comfort.....?

As I got back in my car, cranking up the heater, I began to let the thoughts take root.
"Lord... are you there?"
"Can you see us? Do you understand what I'm feeling at this moment? Do you know how my heart is heavy and weighted down with the hurts that I am feeling right now...  for me... for those that I would do anything for?"

I wanted to come back to bed.
I wanted to crawl back into its cozy warmth, with my down comforter and soft flannel sheets.
I wanted to crawl back to oblivion, where I can rest my thoughts and not think about what I can't change.... or can't fix.
Unaware, not having to face if I am supposed to be doing anything at all.

I am choosing to feel instead.
To let my fingers stay cold.
To allow my heart to thaw from the place that I have kept it frozen for the last few days.

I want to understand... I want to know so much.
I want to know for sure what it is He is wanting me to do in circumstances that are eluding me and trying my patience.... and my will.
Do I fight for more? Or do I concede?
Do I hold on tighter? Or do I let go?
When it is just for me... it is an easier decision to make.
But it isn't just about me... it goes far deeper and far more reaching to touch those that I love.

I can usually fix things pretty good.
I am a great defender.
But today... it would appear that He is taking that out of my hands.
Left to wonder if what I should do... or what I should not do is what He is asking.

As my tears began to pool on that drive home... and my questions kept mounting... I could feel Him near.
His whisper softer than my heart at this moment....
"Come find Me."
"But I don't know what to do God. I don't know what You want me to do..."

"Come find Me."

Isaiah flitted through my thoughts.

Someone that I go back to time and time again....
For reassurance, and a knowing that I need to grasp onto and fully acquaint myself with.
As I sat down here, body poised, I wondered...
"How do I do this Lord? How do you want me to come?"
And as I tuned in my worship, and began to let it flow over me... I  began to feel the emotion that I have been holding up like a dam ready to burst... begin to crack.

As I began to read Isaiah 53 I was struck down with verse four.....

"Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted."    

The thought that had struck me earlier this morning came back in full force.
He did know pain.
He did know what it feels like to be cold... hungry... hurting... burdened... and cut down.
He knows the feeling of gut wrenching heart ache... and pain so deep that the words can not describe it.
There was a time when I doubted that.
When I doubted Him.
I am so overwhelmed that I don't anymore.
And as I sit here and allow the knowledge of the truth of this word to sink in... I am overwhelmed once again.

He chose this... the pain that He knew this world would inflict... for me. For us. For those that I love and am hurting so deeply for right now.
He knew hurtful situations and circumstances.
He is acquainted with the struggles that we are faced with and that we wrestle against.
It is so hard to understand that.
And yet... it is. 
It was.
It was pain in the knowing that those around Him would not understand Him.
It was hurt over being rejected by those that He loved and came to touch... came to save from the very brinks of death.
It was so heavy that He cried out to God to take it from Him if He was willing. (Matthew 26:39)
He knows my pain.
My confusion at wondering where to go next, but unwilling to go against what my Heavenly Father wants for me more. What He wants for my family to know... to learn.
And willing to let the hurt stay for just a little while longer while I cling to the One who knows my deepest places... my deepest hurt... because He is well acquainted with His own.

On my behalf He chose to carry sorrow that would hurt more than pain I myself have felt.
On my behalf He was willing to be stricken....smitten... and afflicted.
Do you understand that? 
He was sick like we are.
He was cold like we get.
He felt alone and unloved.
He saw those closest to Him, those who knew Him, reject Him... forsake Him... 
He wondered.... 
He felt it all....
He knew it before we could even try to grasp to understand....
He knows it now.
As I sit here wondering over the things that are far out of my control.
As I sit here trying to make sense of things that don't make sense at all....
And as my tears finally begin to drop onto my fingers.... and pour down my face....
I know that He is catching them all.
He is concerned with what is hurdling around in my mind.
He has taken notice of the decisions that I am holding my breath to know.... and He is well aware of their outcome.
Even if I am not aware of them myself.
And He is working on my behalf.
He is not wondering as I am anymore.
He knows.

I know that He has been patiently waiting for me to get that He can do all things.
That He can work anything out that I can't seem to fix.
And as I sit here... feeling helpless and wanting to do more than I am doing at this moment...
I get the sense that He is riding in on my behalf.
To right what is wrong.
To fix what is broken.
And all that He is asking me to do is trust Him.
To let Him show up.....

I am not strong enough for this...
I know this so well.
He knows it too.

Because He went before me....
Is still going before me...
He goes before my defeat, to change the odds.
He goes before my heart, to mend what is broken.

As I sit here releasing all that I have been holding in so tight...
I am still crying out for what to do next.....
But I am comforted with this....

Because He knows me... knows us.... I can hope. I can trust Him.
Because He feels my children's pain as keenly as I do... I can let Him go before them too.
I can trust Him to calm their confusion. 
Go before them, and walk them through the tough decisions that I myself can't make.
I can trust Him to heal their hurts.... their sickness... and their pain.
Because of all of it... I am choosing to surrender it all to Him.
To let Him have it.

Because He knows....

He knows.

And because of what He did, was willing to go through on our behalf, what He came to do so many eons ago....
He is able to understand now. 
His power hasn't diminished because of what He was willing to suffer for us...
It is only more profound.

I am praying that we are able to let it be profound in our own lives as we are living them now.

Because of Who He is... and what He was willing to go through.... to understand... to know...
On our behalf.
We are not alone.... and the unthinkable miracle... is thinkable.... hopeful... and attainable.

... until another tomorrow.


"But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed."  Isaiah 53:5

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Looking Out...

It feels as though I have been in this hole... in this place of coming in and out... poking my head out just to see if it is safe enough yet.
I guess that is when I come here. To release a little... to say what I feel needs to be said.
And then I retreat back into my hole. Where I feel safe.
But it's really not.
Because even there I have felt the intensity of the battle.
The heat of the scourge.
During a particularly rough week, where it would seem that nothing is going right.... I thought about here... My seemingly safe place to be who I am... to be me.
Where if your going to judge me... you probably won't tell me.
Where if you hate me.... you'll just log out.
Where if you see things differently than I do... you may just shake your head slowly.

Sometimes.... sometimes... I just wish "in real life" could work that way.
I might hurt less... and move more.
I might not go back to bed and pull the covers over my head and wish that everything would just go away... for just a little while at least....
I am struggling with the reality of how life works sometimes, and how I wish it would go.

Where truth reigns... and opinions don't really matter.
Where love overrides everything... and judgements hold less weight than the air were breathing.
Where forgivness is just... and our justice doesn't complicate everything.
Where loving God and pleasing Him holds more importance than getting even... and getting our own way.
I just wish....

And ofcourse, in the midst of my "wishing".... I know. I know more than ever.
He is changing me.
He is changing us.
Not wanting us to stay where we are... and not leaving us the way that we have always been.
Understanding that He loves us that way.... but is unwilling to allow us to stay the way that we have felt most comfortable with.
Because chances are... like me... it isn't who we are meant to be. Not yet.
And as we resist... tug and pull... the strain becomes heavier... and the feeling of weighted heaviness increases.
I have had to shake off my emotions a lot this week.
I've had to beg Him to take what I am trying so hard to surrender.

We can't change poeple... Oh how I wish we could sometimes...
We can't even really change ourselves.
But He can.
I just wish His time table was the same as mine.
I realize that if it was... my time would have run out by now.

Today I am thankful for the little things.
Sometimes they are all that we have to hold onto.
I am not despondant... but I am still desperate.
I am not hopeless... but I am still holding out.
I am not wanting... but I am still left wanting more.

Today I am thankful that He is still on the throne.
I am thankful that He is more than able to handle the things that have been thrown right in front of me.
Even the things I don't want to pick up... but are mine.

If you are in as much need of His grace today as I am..... hold on. Your not alone.
He is ever present in the midst of our every moment.
"Real Life" happens.
And I am so thankful that my Real God is able to handle all of it.

So even as I poke my head out for just a moment... to peek out on what I am being faced with every single day these days...
I am not missing the cool breeze that refreshes me... the blue sky... and the puffy white clouds that He has graced my day with today.
Knowing that tomorrow when I face the storms that are raging over me... that He IS the God of the blue sky's... of the cool breezes... the deep breaths... with the mercy to carry me through one more day.

I am holding tighter to Him than I have ever held on before.... tighter than I thought possible.

....until another tomorrow.


"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  The righteous person may have many troubles,
   but the LORD delivers him from them all;
 he protects all his bones,
   not one of them will be broken." Psalm 34:18-20 NIV (Although I love the message version of this as well)

The song that I am feeling in the depths of my heart right now.....