When exhaustion pushes out all resolve,
When control is relinquished from white knuckled fists
And optimism is clenched out through teeth.
When my mind listens to the pain of my body
And the pain of grief
Instead of to reason.
When reason has failed me because there are no answers
Or anything I can do to help.
When the only thing to do is nothing,
Accept the fragility of life and everything loved.
Accept that everyday will be a battle to perceive pain as a physical sensation and nothing more.
Accept that doing the best I can won’t and can’t and shouldn’t fix everything.
Because I am human, a helpless sheep, and my way of fixing things unintentionally breaks other things.
Because You are a different being. You understand what it is to be human, but You are not human. You are not a fixer, You are a healer.
Because fixing always comes with a price, but healing comes with a journey.
Because Your grace,
Your grace of always being present,
Your grace of beauty and children and the stars,
Your grace of love and forgiveness and reconciliation,
It’s enough to reroute my mind from the course of fear to the course of trust.
It’s enough to make me accept that everything is fragile and You are the only foundation.
It’s enough to make me see the value in continuing the journey to heal myself and to love others.
Reading these genealogies, I thought about what they may have meant to their original audience. Maybe they made the original readers/hearers feel like they were part of a larger community, a larger family. Imagine seeing your grandfather’s name in the list of names and knowing that the history about to be recorded is your own. Each time God responds to His people in this history, He is responding to your ancestors. In the same way, He will respond to you. How thrilling it must have been for the original audience to realize their close connection to God through a specific family member.
For us today, maybe these genealogies can spur us to unity. Here we see the origins of the “tribes”, Israel and Judah, and also smaller subdivisions such as the Midionites and Tirathites. However, we also see they all came from Adam. We’re all the same tribe. We know not all of the original audience members realized this, as we read about many battles in their history, one tribe against another. Sometimes God used their enmity to bring about His will. No matter what we see happening around us today, we can know that 1. We’re all the same tribe and can love each other as family and 2. There are ugly battles with incomprehensible consequences, but ultimately God is in control. While He is not the cause of the evil that produces the ugliness and pain, we do know that His perfect rule will overcome all of it.
Holy, tender Father. Full of mercy and grace and love. Thank You for the darkness of the night, and for the stars that are always there but also always moving. They help us glimpse Your perspective of time and space and challenge the limits of our own perception. Thank You for the morning light that tenderly and consistently breaks through, and for the sun whose heat touches everything. Nothing can hide from its heat, nothing is out of its reach. Father, sometimes I am in darkness and sometimes I am in daylight and sometimes I have to choose between the two. Help me know that You offer light and life in both places. Help me look to Your light for peace instead of looking to earthly securities, pleasures or pleasing other people. Please teach me about balance, wonder and humility. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Quiet moments are
In sunshine or in hard rain
where God reaches us
Holy Father. All praise, nothing but worship, to Your precious name. Your fullness is all around us, tangible and intangible, in pleasure and in pain. You offer the wholeness we crave, the meaning for our limited amount of time. You offer boundaries and freedom in perfect balance. You offer love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and companionship overflowing. You don’t expect us to be perfect or uniform or anything else, but instead You hope and yearn for us in all things to turn to You. You are always near, waiting for us to turn and come closer to You. We come to You with all that we have, our joys and our pain, our gratitude and our requests, our fears and our hopes, our lament and our praise. And You are with us in all of them. You know them intimately. You listen as we share them. You occupy the space that creates relationship. You make us full of awe as we think that the Eternal Creator and Sustainer of all is here to listen, to guide, to fill us up, to reconcile with us so that we can be in relationship. You are King of my days and all that is in them. I will worship You forever. Please help me live by faith. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Everything will pass away, but souls are eternal.
Souls are unique and to be treasured.
People are important.
You allow us to make our own choices.
You don’t force us, although you could.
Help us let others make their own choices.
Help us stop trying to force.
You loved Israel even when they were narrow-minded.
You loved us too.
Help us love those who seem narrow-minded.
Help us realize our own humanity.
Instead of condemning us straight to hell,
You said, “I’ll go to hell for you.”
Help us follow Moses, Paul, Jesus,
In this type of love, not swift condemnation.
Help us learn the kind of love from you,
that allows us to echo your words
and love so strongly that the hearer will know we mean them.
And through our love, they will more easily believe that you meant those words too.
That you did them.
That us going to hell for someone won’t really work, because none of us are perfect.
But it doesn’t need to work because it’s already been done.
For all of us.
Father, loving Father, always here. In my need You draw me near. You are here in the tension of opposing forces trying to establish balance. You are here in every circumstance, sick or well, good or bad. You are here despite my lack of faithfulness and understanding. You are here offering to awake me to the fulness of Your grace, love and light, Your kindness and generosity, You security and meaning. You are here, You always have been and always will be. I don’t need to worry about the future because You will be there. Help me open up to You each moment. Help me seek You and find You, ask You and hear/ receive from You, knock on Your door and enter when You open it. Thank You. I love You. All in Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
When I lose something, there are two kinds of lost. The first is the roll of film left on a plane in Florida type of lost. The item is never coming back. The second is not being able to find any of the eight chapstick tubes I have simply because I don’t have a clue where they are. It’s not quite lost, I just don’t know where they are at the moment. I am very aware of the distinction between these two types of lost whenever I am driving. I’m never truly lost when I’m driving, I just don’t know where I am at the moment. It’s like a principle of the universe that I can never be truly lost in terms of my location in space. It will always be possible to go back to where I started or end up where I want to go.
I would like to think that this same universal principle applies to my identity, my existential thoughts and my spiritual explorations. I’d like to think that I can never be truly lost, that any questioning just leads me down a temporary path where I don’t know where I am for a time, but then I can always find my way back to where I started or to where I want to go. I don’t know yet if that’s how it works.
So many things that I “knew” all my life are rather suddenly in the “I’m not sure” category. But there are still a few things that I know, and in an attempt to get my self less lost, I want to sort them out on paper.
- (In relation to God) If we reach out to God, He will reach out and bring us in. Always. Ask, Seek, Knock.
- (In relation to others) Do to others what you wish they would do to you. The goal is to continue Christ’s work of restoring, healing and providing rest to humanity.
- (In relation to ourselves) Wait on the Lord, He gives you strength. What do we have to fear? Abandon everything else and depend fully on God. If an idea involves self-reliance or an absence or lessening of grace, it is not truth. Grace is truth. Dependence on God is truth.
So this is all that I truly know. And for right now, it is all I need to know.
This psalm is a wonderful declaration of God’s faithfulness. When God’s faithfulness is met with the writer’s hope in Him, it is powerful enough to get the writer through anything.