Monday, November 26, 2012

Divine Romance

At the essence of who I am, there is a desire we all share. This is the desire to be loved, and along with that, liked. To know there is some one not only out there, but right here. Some one who will love me unconditionally, that regardless of how I write or how often I write, my letters are cherished. Yes, even the paper is cherished.

But more than that, I don't simply want a love that overwhelms but a desire that overwhelms. To feel so secure and captivating, that even one word from my lips would cause some one's heart to beat faster, some one's step to pep up, some one's eyes to grow wet with passion.

I want some one that enjoys me, but not because they only see what's good in me. I want some one who sees even the darkest parts of me and likes me anyways. Some one who's eyes are endowed with the ability to look past this flesh I dwell in, and see my vibrant and ravishing heart.

I want life.

I want breath.

I believe it is in the very nature of love to be incomprehendable. I believe it is in the power of love to be so gripping that even pagans and prisoners can be won. I believe that every parent who loves their child will tell you that they can not find enough ways to express their love, that their care and warmth goes beyond what any words could say or actions could do, because even the years of nurture may not seem to be enough.

I believe in a God who is like this.

A God who dances over us in violent and elegant ways. Who sings with a booming voice that makes me wonder how we so rarely hear it. Who with gentle hands touches places no one else can touch, and with eyes of fire sees places that no one else can see. Who's heart is the only one big enough to love all mankind and creation as fiercely as he does.

Every once in a while we see a glimpse of His love shine through us. Whether it's the saddened woman who forgave the man who murdered her daughter, and pleaded for his sentence to be halved. Or it's the teenage girl who just wasn't popular enough, and despite her peer's hurtful ways got meaning and hope from a community who cared enough to do something. Whatever it is and however it comes, we know it when we see it.

And this is love, that a man who had no need of us nor anything to be gained from us came to earth and lived the life we could not, died a death we deserved, and rose again so that we might also be resurrected. This is truth. This is the gospel. I hope it finds you in a place that is receptive and redemptive, and gives you hope for a brighter day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Uncreated Light

Have you heard this voice? This voice of almost and never good enough. This voice that demands and harbors just outside the ears of your heart. This voice that constantly reminds you that you have darkness, and sarcastically begs you to create light.

It's a cruel and rough voice, and while it has no pleasantries to be named, it's the voice we so often hear louder than any of the others. It's the voice of condemnation.

Write better, work harder, worship purer it says. Commit to that group you really never wanted to associate with anyways. You know that if you don't, you're a failure and worthless. Raise your hands higher, sing to this God you're not sure of it says.

This is the voice of fake testing that says to do something seemingly attractive, but only to steer you to an end of blame and worthlessness. Try to lift that weight as the ideal man could, but only to embarrass yourself and hide in your shame.

This voice is not God.

It is true that you have sin within you. You have a flesh that constantly strives to kill you, and will fight in every way it knows how in order to stay alive. All have fallen short of what our King created and what He deserves. There is none righteous, not apart from him.

It is true that you will fail and fall, and fall into those moments of your own strength.

But here is The Truth. Jesus Christ.

If you didn't know, let me clarify to you (as best I can) the wonder of His heart.

He is the scarred hand that picks you up after you've fallen. He does not yank, nor let go, nor fall with you.

He is the softest voice telling you all the words you wish He'd say- "I love you, and there is nothing I wouldn't do for you."

He is the One who loves you and likes you too. He enjoys being with you, to simply dwell in the color of your eyes and the warmth of your breath. He's excited to seek you, and excited to find you.

He is the Light in the darkness. He is the One who became sin for us so that we might be blameless. He is the candle in the lantern, bringing warmth and light to the farthest reaches of your soul.

We are the uncreated light, that we do not manufacture our own humanistic form of false hope. We can't, and that is because we were never designed to, but we step into His light, and He shines on us. He removes the darkness. He removes the shame. He removes the voice.

My dear friends, do not give up hope and love, nor faith or peace, but give up the estranged and disarrayed idea that you can do it alone. Healing is found in holiness and community, and nowhere else. Surrender is the gateway to these things, and it does not come by you find Him or measuring up to Him, but by Him finding you. He is not far from anyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Perpetual Smile

There she was- an angel. An angel in my house? She stood there casually and comfortably, as if she were ordinary.

I won't lie and say it was at-first-sight, as though people have only the depths of a painting to their character. As though anything seeming ordinary or even slightly unique from every other wonder like it is deemed to forever be ordinary. In fact, precious diamonds are found from the coal and beneath the coal.

It was a short time before I knew her name, and we talked as all "soon-to-be's" tend to talk, with a glimmer of hope in every word and an underlying attraction to tie it all up.

Twas only a week I got to see her beautiful face on regular occasion, and while it wasn't yet the growth of something extravagant, it was the birth of something potential-loaded, like a pistol waiting to be aimed and fired. We went from sketchy Mexican restaurants to famously acronymed chicken wings, and even the the presence of God Himself. While we weren't yet sure, He was looking not from above to where we were, but from our future to our present, from the simply starting to the graciously going.

Via wild lines and symbolic signs I've yet to comprehend, we typed and wrote and dreamt. We spoke not yet as lathered significance, but as friends who could one day be more. We saw it and yearned for it, and our horses were ahead of our cart. And she didn't tell me the depths of her heart, nor did I tell her what lies in the deepest cave of my being, but we became more than acquainted, like a flower knows the wind.

2 months went by, and we had "the talk." You know, that talk in which you lay things out on the line in hopes that the other party will lay things out on it too, and that your puzzle pieces might fit together. Is it by chance? All newlyweds would say certainly not, while singles might say it's quite plausible. I'm not yet sure, but philosophy and speculation don't in themselves change what is happening and what has happened. For now I choose not to know or care.

She exclaimed her standards and I, embarrassingly compared, told her mine. A couple hours and a few lines later, we had openly discovered there was something to this, and that there could be more. So, for another 3 months we were, what you strange younger people might call, "talking." It had everything from the moments of doubt when you think to yourself "is this really what I want?" to "I'm going to marry this girl."

Through much prayer and helpful friendly guidance, and a wee bit of human introspection, I discovered that my earlier question had been meaningless and void, and my second question was all the more favorable (and hopefully probable.)

And here we are, the day after our special day, loaded with early text messages and facebook overload, daunting that perpetual smile I could not hide if I tried. Am I happy? Of course I am! But not simply because I'm closer to having her and she's closer to having me, but because I look back and see that we've done it right thus far. We weren't hasty nor foolish, nor forceful nor arrogant, but through much prayer and guidance and a heart that waits (and a parent that permits), we've arrived at a new level, a new commitment.

So here's to you, my darling, for finding me and being found, for a new story to call our own, and may each day of your wonderful and precious life be evermore righteously and lovingly intertwined with mine.

Friday, November 16, 2012

You Did Not Choose Me

You did not choose me, but I chose you.

I chose you to love, to cherish, to hold.

I chose you to have affections for, affections far above those of anything and anyone else, and to hope you'd return those affections.

Why did I choose you? My child, not for war, nor for offering, nor power. I did not choose you for what you can do or offer, but I do and offer all things.

For purity? I am holy and righteous, and no more pure with you than I'd be without you.

I did not need you, for I need nothing. I am not a god created by man's hands, nor a rose grown from the dirt of the earth. I am not a God that I should need what you offer.

I chose you. I saw you and I was captivated. I knew you and I rejoiced. I met you and danced over you. I rejoiced with loud singing. I wrote your name on my hands.

I did not see your value through your eyes, but through mine. You are altogether beautiful my love, and there is not a flaw in you. You are a bride cleansed, now without spot or blemish. There is no one I'd rather keep. There is no direction I would rather look. There is no option I would rather choose.

Dance with me. Eat with me. Sing with me. Speak with me.

And our love will be sweet
Sweeter than the rain
Or the petals on the rose
Or life in your eyes

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Deepest Darkness

Lately I've been studying the idea of light. Not simply that it allows us to see, but that where it is, darkness can not also be. That when light is present, shadows flee.

I've been studying the idea of change, of how when a man or woman such as yourself, who is tainted with this thing we call flesh, has light shine on you and into you, it changes you. It allows you to see things you've never seen. It allows you to believe things you never considered before. My only fear is that men no longer seek the light because they've lived in darkness for so long that they don't remember what light looks like. My fear is that we are able to walk into the light and live in it, but we don't realize the full possibility and the need.

In the bible there was a man named Saul. He was not only absent from light, but delving in the darkness- dwelling in the darkness. If the normal person is just absent minded under stars in the night sky, Saul was several hundred feet in a cave. He even says about himself "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of which I am the foremost." You might ponder what it was the Saul did that was so bad, and what could drive him to say such a profound statement.

Saul was a murderer.

Worse than that, he was a hypocritical murderer who believe that was he was doing was right, and that he was serving God by killing.

But God. God one day revealed His light to Saul, and it was so bright that Saul became blind. Saul became humbled. Saul became different. And God, in His infinite kindness and mercy, redeemed Saul to not only give Him life, but to use him to bring others to life. Saul was changed so much that even his name changed from Saul to Paul. This brutal man whom everyone feared became so bright and loving that God used him to write most of your New Testament.

The point is this. If God's light can shine in even this deepest darkness, He can shine in your darkness too. "The light shines in the darkness." God purposefully seeks you out so that you may no longer be blind and bound, but free to see and believe. He hopes that you will be no longer stumbling and falling in this dark world, but will come into the light where there is peace, joy, and hope. He wants this for you. I want this for you.

"And the darkness has no overcome it." The darkness only has two options when light comes- flee or dissipate. God, whose light is bright, whose holiness is pure, has no darkness at all. His light shines and it can shine in you. But you might ask how? How do I do this? First, you confess. You confess that you have darkness and you don't qualify it, you don't justify if, you simply expose it. Secondly, you seek Him. The deeper you get into Him, the less of you there is. Where do you seek Him? In bible studies, in services, in prayer, in Scripture, and in loving friends. It is my hope that this inspires you, and that darkness would have to flee. May the God who is all expansive and the source of light find you gently and move you in.