Friday, September 28, 2012
If you can’t see the video imbed below, click the link to hear Needtobreathe’s Garden.
I was flying so-many thousand feet above land, on my way home from the Dallas ACFW Writer’s Conference, heart in my throat, praying something bad wouldn’t happen to the plane and I wouldn’t end up like a bug on a windshield in a cornfield somewhere. Up until last year’s conference I hadn’t flown in nearly twenty years and those little bumps of turbulence always seem like the pilot doesn’t have control of the plane, and being a control freak, that is not a good thing to me.
Am I afraid to fly? Um, well, kinda. It’s crazy, because when I was a little girl, my father would take me up in his Cessna, giving control of the yoke and rudder pedals to me, so I could soar toward the horizon and marvel at the patchwork of terra-firma below. I loved it and planned to get my license as soon as I came of age.
But somewhere along the way, I let fear take over. Fear I didn’t have when the yoke was in my own hands—I had control. I know it’s stupid to prefer myself in control (at no more than twelve years old) than to give it over to a pilot who is well trained, but that’s how my sometimes anxious mind works. So as I flew from Dallas to Baltimore, an even more anxious man beside me, the lyrics to this song came to mind.
Thank You, Jesus!
The song begins with Jesus’ words “Won’t you take this cup from me?” It reminds us of the agony Jesus felt with the knowledge he’d soon give over His body to the torture of those who despised Him. Talk about lack of control … and for someone who has the ultimate power to possess it. This terrified Him to the point He sweat actual blood. And still, he continued on, submitting to the will of His Father in heaven. Why? So that we would be washed of sin and saved for eternity.
The song goes on. Not as Jesus, but as a singer and songwriter who wants to live as Jesus did, in the way the Father has marked out for him. It reminds us that we all have a cross to bear and a life to give. Each path will be different, but if we follow the will of the Father, lives will be saved.
When I look at what Jesus suffered, my own fears seem inconsequential. He gave so much. My small fear of flying can be overcome, in order that I walk the path He set before me. It’s the least I can do for the One who gave me life. So I carry on. I guess I’ll fly again.
What fears do you need to overcome for Him?
Other posts you might like:
How the ACFW Conference Sparked a Fertile Imagination—Just Not Mine
Sacrifice—No Greater Love, by Rachel Poole
But God, What if … ?
Friday, September 14, 2012
If you can’t see the video imbed of Needtobreathe’s Able below, try this link.
Years ago Time Magazine had a cover with a woman, dressed in a business suit, juggling several things while carrying a baby in her arms and holding a briefcase. The title article of that issue was about how women of our generation could do it all. The ultimate woman. It was meant to empower those of us who aspired to raise a family but didn’t want to lose our identities in the seemingly meaningless drivel (and drool) of caring for children. I remember the jolt of energy that ran through me as I viewed that image. I could do it! I could have it all!
Oh, how times have changed me.
Now, I just want to know, what is “all” anyway? A great career (in which I’d have to excel), a big house (I’d have to maintain), a wonderful husband (I’d never see) and perfect children (whom I’d raise in my spare time—ha!)? And the other question: Would “all” really make me happy? I mean, isn’t that the whole reason we want “all” in the first place?
Now, when I think about that image from the Time magazine cover, I immediately experience a weight pouring into my cells like molten lead running through my veins. It’s wearying to me to even contemplate.
Because … I’m not able.
Not only can I not do all of these things by myself, but the running after them is much like what Solomon called “a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). I no longer want to follow empty promises, but God’s hope and future (Isaiah 29:11). I want to be filled with His dreams and dive into His plans.
But before I develop a new picture of me, holding a large, gilded-edged Bible in one hand, and a cross strapped on my back, I need to realize … I’m still not able. I need His help to guide me, to strengthen me and to release my cross from its bindings. In short, I need Him.
But before we sigh despondently at the idea of being so needy, let’s look at its joys. Needing Him allows me to be in His presence, to gain His help, to know His love. Had I done it all on my own, I’d have none of these. A far cry from the lady balancing the baby and the briefcase. More like a woman resting in the Son.
What does “all” look like to you?
If you can’t see the video below of the Needtobreathe song Something Beautiful, try this link.
I love the water analogy in this song. I see a man dipping his toe into the waves and wondering, “Should I dive in? Will it be too cold? Too deep? Will I drown?”
“Will it refresh me, cleanse me, and lift me up?”
Remember when you were a kid and someone taught you how to float on your back in a pool? I not only remember learning this, but teaching it to my children.
If they relaxed, they’d float, but when they tensed, they dropped. The trick was getting them to trust the water (or at least me) enough to allow it to carry them so they wouldn’t sink.
Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ, knew this all too well (Matthew 14: 22-33). When watching his teacher walk on the lake, he begged to join Him. But once out there and focusing on the “realities” of this world he no longer trusted that which held him up … and so his ankles dipped below the tide, the water threatening to overtake him.
Faith in God is like that water. Sometimes you just need to let Him carry you. And just like the peace of drifting above the water, waves lulling you into a joyous rest, you might just experience …
Other posts you might like:
Friday, September 7, 2012
If you can’t see the video imbed, use this link.
What do you think it will look like to go before the Lord on judgment day? What do you think you will feel knowing you have fallen short of the glory of God facing absolute purity in the person of your Creator?
Well let me give you a couple pictures of what it could look like.
In Joshua 5:14 Joshua spies a man standing over him with a drawn sword. Joshua, being courageous, does not flinch, but asks the man if he is for or against them. But watch this! The man says he is the commander of the army of the Lord and Joshua falls on his face in reverence. When faced with a potential physical threat, he is confident. But when faced with an angel of the Lord he is humbled to such depths he could find no lower position. I imagine when we come into the presence of our God and see His face for the first time we will feel the need to do the same.
I am reminded of the end of the film Schindler’s List. In this movie, Schindler uses his wealth to purchase Jewish “workers” for his arms factory in order to save the workers from annihilation in a Nazi gas chamber. We see him adding more and more names to his list, depleting his wealth to the point he begins to sell off his possessions to save lives.
In the final scene, when presented with a ring willingly made by his “workers” from an extracted gold filling as a token of their appreciation, he falls to the ground, pulls at the remainder of his possessions and laments he did not give the last of these in order to save more people. What seemed important to him before now was meaningless against the life it might have preserved.
So, too, when faced with the Awe of our Loving Father in heaven and His Goodness, will be our sin. The little white lies told to further our convenience will be a sneer to our Creator that we did not trust Him enough to secure even the simplest of things. The hoarding of our possessions will be the taking from those who needed them more.
We will be given new perspective.
Oh can you imagine the list of things rolling out on the floor and continuing to roll as our imperfections, great and small, unfolds before our Creator? Can you imagine the stain seeping through you as you behold the Perfect One who died so you could live?
And yet, Jesus tells us to trust in Him and we will be washed clean. That simple.
Trust Him—Washed clean!
Washed clean because He took our place. He bore our punishment, so we could live in splendor for eternity. It doesn’t seem right, and yet it just IS.
Other posts you might like: