Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah’

While packing away some of my things in preparation for the upcoming fall, I ran across some things that I had not looked at in a while. Old letters, pictures, etc. Usually, these sorts of things bring out the sentimental side of people. Everybody loves to reminisce and think about all the fun times that were had. Everybody but me. I’m not usually one to put a lot of stock in the things past and would almost always rather be thinking about what is and what will be rather than what was. Those things just aren’t “me” anymore (though they make up parts of the current “me”). I suppose they should be valued as markers of progress, and I do try to think of them as such. But other times, old memories have a way of bogging us down from the person we’re becoming, and in those cases, they can be a painful hindrance rather than help. Nostalgia is the temperamental ghost that drifts in and out of your life.

Needless to say, I’ve been having a strange couple of days. They have been days in which the low is so low that it has cast me into despair, and ones in which the high has never seemed higher and my soul stretched into the unknowns of infinity. The contrast is stark, poignant, leaving me utterly at a loss of what to do. I just don’t know how to feel at times… But in the midst of it, I was given an epiphany for which I am extremely grateful. And here I will share a small corner of that epiphany: The God who loves me is the one who forces me to be the person I need to be for my ultimate good even when I am ready to turn away from living up to my ethical code.

This truth has been painfully wrought, forged with fire and hammered down by steel. In my rebellion, I had struggled against him as he dragged me to where I need to be. It wasn’t fun. But at the end of it all, I can only say that I am grateful. I am grateful that he is what I cannot be on my own. I am grateful that he will do what I do not have strength to do. The why still eludes me. I do not know what his has in store, but what I do know is that he is creating me to be who I ought to be for whatever that purposes he has in mind. How can one fail to be optimistic in light of being in relationship with a God who is relentless in fulfilling his purposes? Hmmm… I feel like this is déjà vu from a past entry… but maybe it just means that this lesson is still powerful no matter how many times I experience it.

I am as Israel refined by God for his glory… it would be good to remember that our God is an all-consuming fire…

Isaiah 48:9-11
For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

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In the midst of the rush of life, it’s so easy to disconnect. In those moments of buisiness, in the new and exciting, the tendency is to focus on what is ahead. And yet, how often we miss what is in front. The presence of God is in our midst, and yet we look past him, and see what he have wanted to see. When the exciting comes to a crashing halt, then what? What are we left with except a sense of emptiness in the space that new and exciting things have once occupied?

The vacation has offered me both the fast-paced excitement and the slow-paced meditation. It’s the way a vacation should be. I am caught between the sharp contrast between the two states that only a vacation can offer. Though there was always much good in what the exploration and the discovery, how easy it is to let excitement overtake us and push aside our God in the process. The God that envelops all suddenly becomes enveloped by our (proportionally) small circumstances. But likewise, we are apt to ignore God just as much in our ennui, in extending our minds and bodies to nothing good. Our natures are such that in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves in, our eyes turn to ourselves. Our inward thoughts and desires stay centered around ourselves instead of on the source of our lives, and this is a sad state indeed. But anything beyond takes much effort, discipline, an intentional stepping back from our world and our pleasures until we come to a place where we are acutely aware of the presence of the One from whom all things exist.

But hear him call. Persistently. Patiently. I run into the arms of my Beloved. For truly beloved he is and will always be. He never leaves nor forsakes me. I place my face to his neck and he embraces me. He tells me, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10) and “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Is 49:16). That I am thus loved is too great for me to bear. I cannot pay it back in turn. So I simply accept. And belong. 😀

The last few days before returning to IN have been filled with visiting friends. My trip here has been mostly uneventful. The drive was smooth, and I have the house to myself now. How fun! 😀

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