Get the message yet?

How many times do you have to be told something to believe it? Maybe 70 times 7? Sometimes it’s a long journey with lots of confusing twists and unexpected turns to get you to the place where you finally ‘get it’. I’ve been thinking about one of those lessons in my life…

It all started on August 24, 2009. My dad wrote me a special letter of encouragement for my birthday. At the top was a passage about God’s love that I’d heard countless times before. And I was in a place, spiritually, of doubting God’s love toward me for the first time in my life. It gets really dark when you feel the pull of an unseen gravity dragging you down into that miry pit of doubt. Atleast now I recognize the familiarity of that pit when I feel myself sliding down that slippery slope.

The passage: Romans 8
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Then, I randomly opened my Bible to read somewhere. There it was again.
Then, my friend brought me a birthday card with the very same passage written in Thai.
Then, I open the book I was currently reading and there it was again.

This was all the same day, by the way. When that happens, you simply can’t argue about whether you’re hearing the Father correctly or not. It was obvious that the message was, “Child, I know that in every way you FEEL separated from My love toward you, but the truth is that nothing (no, nothing, not even your feelings) can separate you from My love. Just want you to know that today.”

And I feel like such a hard-headed loser to admit that even though He spoke so clearly and personally to me that day, I continued to wrestle with His words for over a year, until just recently. What makes it even worse is the ridiculous number of times this passage came before me repeatedly, to this very day. It was so many times in fact, that I would even venture to say I’ve come face to face with this passage more times over the past year than any other passage my entire life. It’s that ridiculous how much the Father went out of His way, so to speak, to keep telling me over and over… and over. I received emails and cards from people I DON’T EVEN KNOW that contained that passage. I read it, heard it spoken, heard it sung, dreamt about it, and randomly thought about it countless times. I’m absolutely sure that if a Bible passage could be scented or flavored, I would have experienced that as well.

Only recently did I finally ‘get it’… over a year later. It’s been the most difficult, dark, confusing, disequilibrating, disappointing, and fearful year of my life. But one thing I know for certain: The Triune God jealously loves me unconditionally and not even the thickest darkness can separate me from His love. Oh, it will try. But it will never – no, never- succeed.

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Don't pass this up

If you were forced to choose whether you wanted to be deaf or blind, what would you choose?

Strange, I know. I’m not even sure I can answer. At first, I think of how much I hate being in the dark (literally and figuratively). I mean, it’s a real hatred. And I think of how inconvenient it would be to try and get around this world (or even the block) without sight. I once saw a documentary about this completely blind South American guy who could walk, ride a bike, even drive a car… by using how sound echoes off objects. I know it sounds impossible, but you can’t deny his lifestyle or his blindness. Anyhow, I think you probably have to be a super smart genius to figure all that out. So the ‘pro’ of being blind instead of deaf is that my other senses would (hopefully) be ultra sensitive and heightened. Another ‘pro’ is that there would still be music, which may be the ultimate ‘pro’ of being blind instead of deaf. Music has been such a ginormous contributor to my worldview, spiritual journey of worship, and all around well-being on multiple levels.

Could I live without music? Well, if I try to imagine the subtraction of all forms of music that contributed to my spiritual life… it’s not void, but it’s coldly silent. So I guess, for me, the question is… would I rather journey through life in the dark with the most glorious music or journey through life in the silence of light? Think I’d choose the music.

Hey, speaking of music, an extraordinary album was released today: Brooke Fraser’s “Flags”. I can’t say that about many albums. I mean, there is David Crowder’s “Church Music” album that is creatively phenomenal, Derek Webb’s controversial “She Must & Shall Go Free”, Glorious Unseen’s string of heartfelt cries in “The Hope That Lies In You”, John Mark McMillan’s call of awakening the dead in “The Medicine”, Laura Woodley Osman’s trilogy of transparent Spirit-led worship, and of course Carmen’s electric “R.I.O.T” album.

Just kiddin’ about that last one, even though it was my favorite as I delivered newspapers as a 12 year old.

If my opinion counts for anything more than taking up room in cyber space, if you’re a fellow lover of lyrically brilliant, melodic brilliance, and a thematic thread through an entire album… don’t pass this up. Even if you get confused on itunes and click “purchase” two times, buy it twice if you have to… not that I know anyone that did that *eyes avoidingly sliding to the left corners of my eyes*

The song below is my favorite. Brooke must have had a year like me.

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

“Daddy don’t cry, it’ll be alright”
She puts some water on the wound
And hums a little tune
While her courage puddles on the ground
Pooling, pooling

See the murder and the swarm descend
And the night is getting thick
The moon telling her tricks
She’ll betray you every time

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age
The foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy

The rumble is low and the heat is high
Got a feeling that there’s rain out in the oil black sky
Gonna chase away the devil when that sun does rise
Gonna plead the blood
Gonna plead the blood

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age
The foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy

She limps on up to the top of a mount
Looks at the faltered harvest
Feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose
And the knowing in her guts
Something’s still gonna grow
She ain’t leaving ’till it does.

What can wash away my sin
Nothing but the blood…
What can make me whole again
Nothing but the blood…

Weighty Love

He is jealous for me.

And He loves like a hurricane.

I am a tree.

Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

And all of a sudden

I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.

And I realize just how beautiful You are

And how great Your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us…

Sketch of Eph. 1.3-14

Been digging into Ephesians 1… you know, that incredibly long sentence that, if you ever inserted it into a paper for school, you would probably get an automatic fail? Yeah, THAT one. It always intimidated me because, well… it goes on forever. Most of the parts of it make sense to me, but it’s always been hard for me to put it all together and see the big picture of what Paul is saying.

So, as I’ve been ruminating on the the pieces and parts of this puzzle, a chart starting evolving in my mind. I’m a visual learner, so the picture was a helpful tool for me to put Paul’s thoughts in visual form to avoid the confusion of the longest sentence in the Bible. Maybe it will be helpful for someone out in the virtual world who accidentally stumbles across my blog in their search for a scholarly explanation of Ephesians 1.3-14. [Click on the picture for a magnification]

Under the Rubble

So I’m reading one of the best books I’ve ever read (atleast on the top 10), because it makes me stop often and process what he’s saying. The book is Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. Never read his stuff before, but I’m finding I really like his processing and writing style.

In light of my last post, I was frozen in utter surprise when my eyes slowly went across these words:

“Beneath every heartache, beneath every failure, beneath every shattered dream, a divine Presence is waiting to be discovered. Why then do so few find Him? Because He is hidden. Like a city after an earthquake, God’s presence is hidden beneath the rubble of the Fall. Look inside. An honest look will first reveal the rubble of our efforts to make life work without God, of our terror that keeps us from naked vulnerability to anyone, of our construction project that has created a false self that we hope will stay together through life. This is the rubble of dust and stone that hides the Presence. We live in sheer dread of giving up control and abandoning ourselves to God. Only when we discover a desire for Him that is stronger than our desire for relief from pain will we pay the prices necessary to find Him… there is no way to God but through the rubble. We must go through, not around, whatever keeps us from Him. The process is what spiritual people call brokenness and repentance.”

“…if I could see His face, if I could see passionate love coming out of His eyes, perhaps I could rest in the middle of shattered dreams.”

“Solid ground beneath the pain of shattered dreams is the revelation of a mystery; it is the realization that it’s more difficult for Christ to restrain Himself from making all our dreams come true than for us to watch them shatter. At our moment of worst pain, Jesus’ pain is worse… Jesus’ restraint is a greater mystery than your suffering.”

Secret Treasure

Once upon a time there was a girl. Just a normal girl. And there was a father… An extraordinary father. He passed the way of the spirits into eternity. It felt like her whole world was falling apart. Well, it was. You see, she had inherited a valuable plot of land in the most beautiful garden in the world. Her father owned the most valuable plot of all the land. In fact, he never told her the details of his great wealth and all the treasures he kept hidden in secret places… Treasure that he wanted to give her someday. He wanted his daughter to enjoy the fruits of his labor. She did, however, know about the large sum of money he left for her that would be more than enough for the rest of her life. He also wanted to entrust the secrets of hidden treasure to her. He wanted to give her the best he possibly could, the most lasting and valuable gifts a father could give a daughter. There really was no better father to belong to. Her father had always told her that everything she needed was hidden in secret places, right there in the land. He said she could have it all, just because she was his daughter.

The only condition to receiving it was that she had to seek it with all her heart in order to find it… because, you see, it was hidden. She knew she could do it. She knew she just had to remain on the land and built her life there…. She would eventually find the secret treasure. Every morning she woke up to the divine sketch of sunrise above. She searched so intently. Every morning. She dug innumerable holes and ditches, which was the most exhausting work ever. But it didn’t take long for the search to feel like playing hide and seek with an invisible person. So she began to do what is natural for anyone who can’t find what they’re looking for and wanting the most… Produce. Just do something. Atleast she could feel like she was worth something if she had something to show for it… Since the dream of ever finding the hidden treasure wasn’t working out.

What seemed like a lifetime passed by. she had spent her entire life building her dream home there in the garden. She worked and toiled day and night for the fulfillment of this desire. It didn’t matter how anyone discouraged or tried to distract her. She paid no attention… and built onward and upward. She knew what she wanted it to look like, so she toiled to that end. Oh, it was beautifully magnificent. Everyone who walked by her glorious mansion saw how neat and orderly it looked. It seemed like she had it all together. She had everything… and everything in its perfect place. She felt so in control of her life. Nothing was crooked. No chipped paint on the outside. Perfect symmetry. Astounding color combos. She planted the most beautiful gardens of rare, delicate flowers and exotic fruits. People came from all over to get a glimpse at her remade garden of Eden… Or, what looked like it, atleast.

But she got lost in all this beauty, accomplishment, and extraordinary life of hers. It distracted her… Well, she wanted it to distract her because she became so weary of the hide and seek game long ago. She eventually forgot what her father had told her. She forgot the one thing that mattered most… Finding and taking hold of all He already provided for her in untold wealth. So instead, she settled down on the land and made her life as beautiful as she could. She was so enthralled with what she had created on this valuable land that she never even thought about the hidden secret that she inherited… Hidden somewhere underneath her feet or in a bush.

Years passed by until the dreadful day. She didn’t even see it coming. No one did, really. She had heard of these fierce twisters in the land before, but that was ages ago before her time. She had never seen one and it never occurred to her that she ever would. It was just a fable to her, really. But in a second, it became her reality. As soon as she saw the whirling cloud of darkness charging toward her, she ran to the cliffs where she used to play as a little girl. She would go and hide there… It was a place no one else knew about. Her father had shown it to her when she was very little. He told her it was a special place because she could go there anytime and God would be there, no matter what. She remembered something about an ancient sacrifice and divine blessing the people received in return.

She hadn’t been there in so long. But as soon as she saw the twister descending, it was the only place she knew to run. She ran with all her might. She wedged herself in the cleft of the rock. She knew she would be safe there. She remained there, eyes fixed upon the impending destruction of all she had poured her life into. In less than a minute, it whirled and swirled fiercely toward her home. Wrecked. All wrecked. She watched in grief as all of her things went soaring with force through the air. It all came crashing down… Everything she had spent her time, money, and heart to built. And as quickly as the twister rushed in with complete destruction… It rushed out with a smile as if it had accomplished the purpose for which it was sent.

Utter loss and grief. She wept like she never had before… In fact, she didn’t even know weeping could gnaw and wrench your insides so violently. Had someone heard her, they would have thought she was being violently tortured and murdered. She wanted to die. She had nothing left but broken, torn, ragged parts and pieces. She sat there in the cleft. She didn’t want to leave. All was quiet. She was reminded of the time she spent there as a little girl… How she dreamed of the treasure her father had hidden just for her… How she spent hours and days just imagining what it could possibly be. She had always looked for it…. But after so many years, she got weary of the search. She lost faith in her father. Perhaps he was tricking her. But then, why would he? Nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

She crawled out of the cleft and murmured under her breath to the spirit of her father, “There was no treasure, was there? You just wanted me to have hope that there was, didn’t you?” She dragged her feet over to the plot of land, where her masterpiece home once stood proudly. She walked among the rubble, alone, tears streaming down her face in despair. All hope was gone. In rage, she kicked the rubbled pieces under her feet high into the air. She watched her tears fall to the ground. She noticed that she was not standing on rubble or shattered pieces anymore. Just under her feet was solid white rock! She never knew rock was under her father’s house that she built her entire life. She thought it was quite odd… Of all the holes and ditches she dug since she was a little girl, looking for the treasure, she never found anything like this.

She wept because she had spent her entire life building something that was utterly destroyed in one fell swoop. The only thing that remained was the solid rock under her. It was now more quiet than it had ever been. Her heart was more stilled than it had ever been… Perhaps out of shock. She heard something. No one was around, just her. She listened more intently. It sounded like a faint heartbeat. Now she thought she was delusional. She looked around. No one. She looked up, nothing. She looked down. She bent down toward the rock, pressing her ear up against it. Sure enough, it sounded like a heartbeat underneath her. She placed both hands on the rock. At that very moment, she remembered her father’s words… “The treasure is hidden deep in a secret place” She then realized her failure… How she had lost hope of ever finding the secret. But somehow, the heartbeat retrieved the lost memory.

She wept there, on her knees, hands spread out on the white rock… The only thing that remained on the land, still in tact. She felt deep within her a desire rising for the secret. It’s all she wanted now. There was no other reason to live. She decided to search for it again… But this time, wholeheartedly. As soon as that decision was resolutely made, the rock beneath her opened up slowly… Like an earthquake… But quieter. Blinding and glorious light peeked out through the broken places as she stared into them. What happened next brought such restored life and joy that she never, in her wildest imaginations, would have thought her father meant by ‘a hidden treasure more valuable than anything else in the world’.

She never did reveal what the secret hidden treasure was. Because, you see, her father is the Father of all mankind and He has hidden it for each one of us. It’s already there… And every son and daughter who relentlessly searches for it… Well, He promises they will find it. I don’t claim to have taken hold of it, but I press on. And though I still find myself standing in the rubble, I will find it… Because I’ll never stop searching.

The sky is still blue.

I like blue skies. They remind me of the depth, beauty, and faithfulness of the Father. Wide open unknown without limit. I love watching gloriously winged creatures soar high into the vast blue of what we call ‘sky’.

I think of the little girl from Forrest Gump. It’s the only scene I remember from the movie. It has often found a resting place in the forefront of my mind. I remember the little girl running away from impending danger into the tall grasses of a nearby field. She found a hiding place, knelt down, looked up into the sky, and prayed with all the child-like trust and abandon she could muster, “Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far… far, far away from here.”

See the blackbird in the picture? I took this at one of the most glorious heights I’ve ever visited. I drove up to Pike’s Peak out in Colorado. I drove to the very top of the peak, which is elevated at 2.6 miles! Not many signs of life up there. In fact, the only sign of life that I saw (other than shrubbery) was a black bird. It happened to fly over and perch next to me as I sat pondering on the edge of a cliff. I wondered why he was up there… what could he possibly find to eat at the top of this peak? He probably wondered the same about me. But if I had wings, I think I would fly to the top too… just because I could.

Someday I want to have wings and a wide open unknown. That will be awesome.

But for now, I’m stuck with two feet and gravity.

And I don’t know what colors will paint the new sky of eternity where everything is set right again, but for now… the sky is still blue.

Wrecked by the Prodigal God

[This may be the longest post in the history of my blogging]

This is the best visual I’ve ever seen on this story. It’s a painting by Rembrandt.

Prodigal: one who spends lavishly or recklessly; wastefully extravagant.

[PART 1]
If you’ve never met the prodigal within, you will. I promise. It’s lurking within and it is bound to spend everything recklessly… Maybe not money, but it will spend nonetheless. I’ve recently been introduced to the impostor within. Well, that’s not completely true. There was no formal introduction.

The down-side to the surfacing of the prodigal within is that you will find much has been spent lavishly, recklessly, and wastefully extravagantly. You won’t even really know you’ve been had until you’re spent.

The up-side of becoming acquainted with the prodigal within is that we soon find out how much of a ragamuffin we really are. The prodigal, in a round-about way, leads us to the hard reality of who we really are when we’re left standing in nothing but rags and… Well, just me. It’s probably the most difficult thing to face. Atleast, it has been for me. Because there’s no one to blame… but yourself. And you can’t run from yourself.

Some of us have already met the prodigal within. All of us know someone who has. And still, some of us vehemently deny the reality of any sort of prodigal within because we’ve had fairly good behavior our entire lives. Yep, that’s me. The problem with the ‘prodigal in hiding’ is that only a prodigal can be the recipient of the prodigal God who recklessly lavishes His grace, mercy, and love. And He spends it on prodigals. It seems so irrational and wasteful. Not only does He spend it (all of it) on us who have done nothing to deserve it; but on the contrary, we’ve done everything to NOT deserve it. He has every right to withhold His prodigal-ness from me.

God is a prodigal God. He spends Himself for us… Lavishly, recklessly, wastefully, extravagantly. I thought I knew what that meant. I could write papers on it, explain it, be thankful for it. But I didn’t ‘get it’. The prodigal within has been in hiding my entire life. Only recently has the prodigal in me come face to face with the prodigal God. And it’s mind-blowing. It’s unexplainable, really. Grace has to be experienced at a time when it’s most needed in order to understand it. I’m in the grace process as I begin the broken journey of knowing my prodigal God.

[PART 2]
Today I had an experience that meant more to me now than it ever could have before. I’ve encountered the prodigal Father today. I’m recording it for my own benefit of remembrance, but you’re welcome to come into the living room of my heart and hear about it…

I had just completed one of the most difficult experiences of my life (reference back to my recent informal introduction to the former prodigal in hiding). I won’t get into the details of the trip itself. It was just hard, draining, exhausting, and closing a chapter of my life that I thought would be much, much longer and productive. Anyhow, I was with my dad in the airport preparing for a very, very long trip back home. I was trying to hold it all together. I really just wanted to go crawl into a hole and hide there for a while until life felt better. You know how exhaustion causes you to feel irate and angry? I hit that wall.

We went to the ticket counter to collect our tickets… Tickets that put us on separate rows in between people on either side for the 14 hour flight. Dread. I was less than polite with the ticket lady. I gave her every reason to put me in the worst seat on the plane. Immediately, the ticket lady picked up the phone and talked for about 5 minutes. During those minutes, all the events of the past week raced through my mind. I had been pushing non-stop to ‘right my wrongs’ for days. I was totally spent, emotionally and physically. I had just closed the door on what was behind and trying to turn my mind toward what is ahead. Still looking for that switch in my brain.

Then the lady at the counter tells us there has been a ‘flight interruption’… But that it’s ok because it gets us home faster and she bumped us up to “Prestige Class” (first class) on the 14 hour flight. I felt like the president of Korean Airlines had just asked her to give the best seat to the most undeserving ragamuffin that came to the counter. Now, I had never sat anywhere except “Economy Class” (which sounds much better than ‘cheap seats’ for low income ragamuffins) on a plane (and I’ve been on over 70 flights). I had no idea what went on up ahead in the royal first class. I had walked by them before… On the mile trek to the back of the plane). Looked like something only royalty could afford or deserve. I just knew I never had the resources to find out. So this lady upgrades us but apologizes that she cannot get us into the Prestige lounge area for VIP’s. That was fine with me. I was just glad to be allowed a seat on the plane to get home with my dad.

We get to the gate and glance up to the glassed-in lounge up above… You know, where all the important and rich travelers get to relax between flights. I had never been there. I held the ticket in my hand, looked up to the VIP lounge, and decided this may be my only chance to ‘get in’ and see what it’s like for myself, even though the lady told me it wouldn’t get us in. We go up to the 2nd level and walk in as if we belonged there (prodigals are really good at pretending), though anyone with half a brain would know that ragamuffin-dressed travelers don’t belong there with the fancy-dressed business class. I gave my ticket to the security lady guarding the lounge. Somehow, our names were on her list and she waved us in! Once we got in, there’s no way we could act like we belonged there… We knew we didn’t. None of them looked like us… After all, it was free for us, a gift we didn’t even ask for. We were greeted with a wonderful buffet of snacks and endless supplies of drinks and specialty coffee drinks (my personal favorite). We spent 4 hours there… Enjoying the plush life of first class travelers. I’ve never experienced this. I won’t even write about how the “bidet” toilet attacked me (I just wanted to know what the buttons did… Piece of advice, don’t stand in front of it while you push buttons). What surprised me was how everyone there seemed to feel at home… As if they deserved to be there, had the right to be there, and owned the place. Well, they did, I guess, because they paid big money for it. It was no big deal for them. I felt like someone important paid my ticket to get in… Because there’s no way I could have gotten in on my own accord.

For the flight, we were allowed to board first in a separate line from economy passengers with a blue carpet. We were treated like royalty. The seats are unbelievably plush. Ridiculous, really. Wastefully extravagant. We had much more room than we needed with seats that fully reclined into beds. We had about 3 feet in front of us for space, as opposed to the three inches I had always experienced. With grace comes untouched freedom! The stewardess came around and greeted us as if we owned them for the 14 hour flight. They got on their knees to give us a menu and take our orders. Not just a meal… A seven course meal with fancy stuff I’d never seen! Everything served with white cloth napkins, stainless steel, and fancy plates. They brought us a 7 course meal and endless drinks over the following hour and a half. Fresh seafood and sushi from the coast of South Korea! Expensive cheeses that I’ve never bought because it was ‘for the rich’. It felt like a dream! I couldn’t believe it was real! We didn’t pay for any of this, nor did we ask for it! The feeling of ‘shock’ doesn’t even come close to what I felt when I actually experienced all I had been missing on every flight before! I had no idea how wastefully extravagant first class was! Insane.

I noticed something significant during those hours of luxury first class flight. My dad and I were the only ones excited about being there! We were shocked at the luxury! Why? Because we’d never experienced it! No one else smiled when they were served magnificent and exquisite food! No one seemed the least bit impressed at the royal treatment! Mind you, on the morning flight, in economy, we received a hot dog for breakfast. And last week, the steward came around and asked rudely, “What ‘chu wanna drink?” as if I was inconveniencing him.

So here’s what I learned…
In regard to experiencing authentic grace and reckless blessing by the prodigal God… I had no clue what it was like! Never before could I appreciate it for the immense value. So I guess, in a cliché kind of way, the gift of a $9000 first class seat (as opposed to a $1600 cheap seat) represents the position the Father bestows upon the returning prodigal. Because only in THAT seat can you receive (with joy) all that the prodigal Father anxiously waits to pour upon His own. He is the prodigal Father who loves to be reckless in pouring His endless supply of grace (undeserved favor) upon us… Extravagant with his blessings when we’ve done everything to NOT deserve it… And pouring Himself out to meet us where we are… One prodigal child coming face to face with one prodigal Father.

I am overwhelmed by the endless waves of grace crashing over me, sweeping me further and deeper into His heart in ways I’d never known before. For that 14 hour flight in first class, He was just giving me a taste of His prodigal-ness… Just a taste of how the returning prodigal felt when the Father literally ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, and called for (seemingly) wasteful extravagant gifts of royalty to be lavished on his son JUST because he was still the beloved son.

I’ve recently read The Prodigal God by Keller. I highly recommend it!

Out and About.

I’m currently out of the country. Well, I guess that depends on what country you live in. I’m out of my home country.

Thank you to all who have loved me through this journey of grace.

I will be saying goodbye to (what has been my life and future in) Thailand this week.

I don’t know what’s next, but I know God is in it with me. He is holding me so tight; I know He won’t let me go. It’s certainly not my grip on Him that keeps me in the race, but rather, His strong yet tender grip on me.

I’m thinking back to a journal entry last year. You can view it HERE

This is exactly where I find myself again. At a loss for words. Just knowing I am broken… and hoping with all that is within me that these broken places can be used to allow the Light within to burst forth with more power and glory… somehow… someday.

In the meantime, in the words of Audrey Assad,

“I empty out the pieces
And I put them where they go…

But where do they go?
Where do they go?
Does anything in me know?
Where do they go?”

New thought from Psalm 139

“17How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.”

I’ve always thought these verses were so amazing. Every time I heard a speaker mention these words, it was to remind us of how often God thinks of us. Very true. But tonight it hit me on a different side of my heart I guess.

I imagined me sitting alone on a seashore on some deserted island (hence feeling alone I suppose), scooping up a handful of white sand and watching it slowly fall through my fingers. I figured there were atleast one million grains of sand in my hands. Then my eyes scanned around me, beside me, down the breadth of the shore on my right, then down the breadth of the shore to my left.

This isn’t just a nice little bedtime reminder that God has a few thoughts toward us. We’re talking millions of millions…. No, wait… billions of billions. That many thoughts that God has toward me. And I know that He knows everything about me; Nothing is hidden from His sight. Every good and bad word I’ve spoken, thought I’ve had, action and behavior… everything about me!

That’s really amazing… it really is.

But it hit me a different way tonight. It became all the more amazing to me. You know why? Because, if it were even possible for me to count all the grains of sand on that deserted island I imagined myself sitting on… after the months and years of counting… knowing that each one represented His thoughts about and toward me… knowing that He knows all about my weaknesses, frailties, failures, screw ups, and the like… the amazingly miraculous thing is that when I’m done counting them all, He is STILL with me.

He didn’t walk away. Even after knowing everything about me. He’s still here with me. That’s truly precious and weighty, as the Psalmist writes. His love never fails, even when we’ve given Him every reason to turn and walk away.

Hear a sweet song about this HERE

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