Tag Archives: crisis

A Closer Walk: That First Faint Whisper

I remember after my accident the first faint whisper God spoke. I sat every day in the ashes of my burned-down-life, not sure if I even wanted to recover from all the devastation I saw.

life falling apartA weariness had enveloped me that was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

That place, right in the middle of all my MESS—God showed up.

I wish I could tell you I was in this super-spiritual place but the truth is I was trying to contemplate a life without God. My disappointment went far beyond my rage at my circumstances. I was just “finished” and God and I both knew it!

That had been our deal.

I had returned to my faith from “the world” as beat-up prodigal who didn’t believe “a God of love” even existed. So, before I was even willing to try out this “Christian” thing again, I wanted a new deal between God and myself.

I wanted total transparency with no head-faking-bull.

I wanted no part of the phony church stuff I had seen growing up.

Actually, things worked out well for the first few years. I jumped into the discipleship thing for all I was worth. I studied my Bible each morning. I regularly attended church. I devoured every Christian book I could get my hands on. I began serving in church in all kinds of different ways. Life was good. I was growing. You might even say I was thriving.

Then life fell apart. An undetected illness and the resulting visit to the Emergency Room brought everything crashing down.

Each day I sat in the ruins trying to decide if my “return to God” had just been another colossal mistake in a long line of mistakes.

Was this Christian-thing just one big con job? I felt betrayed. I was recoiling from all the stuff I had believed.

If you tust God is THIS what you get?

So I stopped reading my Bible.

I couldn’t pray.

I wanted nothing to do with a God like this!

world in ruinsHow did I get here?

My doubts that had begun as whispers were now shouting at me, “Is this what obedience brings?”

Everywhere I looked I saw only devastation and chaos!

I wondered, “What kind of a loving God loves like this?”

God hears even the faintest whisper in our hearts.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is hidden from God. He was “listening in” on all my doubt and inner rage. I didn’t know it then, but He was counting each broken-hearted tear. He was letting me grope my way along in the dark for awhile—just waiting. Waiting for me to finish venting all my frustrations, and for the silence to descend.

Now in the inner quiet He began to whisper.

I grabbed a pen and began to write.

journal

ONLY CHANGED

You there.

Yes YOU sitting in the ashes.

These ruins you see all about you? They are not who you are.
They are not your final destination or your destiny.

I AM!

You are in Me and I AM in you.

Our two lives are as inseparable as a brook that flows into a river. Where does the brook end and the river begin? Hah, you can’t tell Me! That’s how it is with us. My life flowing in you. Your life flowing in Me.

ashesYou look at these ashes and think, “It’s all over now.”

You see ruins where once stood bright hopes and shining dreams, and you think, “What’s the use of dreaming?”

But Sweet Heart look up.

Turn those tear-filled eyes toward Me. I AM still here. You are still here. We are not going to dwell forever in—this place. This is only for a moment in your eternity. A wink! I AM your true Vine not your dreams. Your life flows from Me, not from people, possessions, or calling. Come, dry those eyes. Life is not over. Only changed. But remember what I told you? “I do not change!” I AM the One you can always count on. I AM the Foundation that does not move.

We will be leaving here soon. As we step out of these ashes to begin again? You will see Me transform these ashes of yours into radiant beauty.

You’ll see.

a closer walk

 

“To all who mourn… He will give beauty for ashes.”

Isaiah 61:3Isaiah 61:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified.

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The Undoing: Entering Habakkuk’s Vineyard

 habakkuk-3-18
This is about an undoing.
A real fairy tale if you will of a life becoming undone.
Webster says undoing means: to cancel, annul, or reverse; to cause ruin.
Yep, that’s it.
That’s the place.
I call it Habakkuk’s Vineyard because of the descriptive narrative in Habakkuk 3:17-18Habakkuk 3:17-18
English: World English Bible - WEB

17 For though the fig tree doesn’t flourish, Nor fruit be in the vines; The labor of the olive fails, The fields yield no food; The flocks are cut off from the fold, And there is no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in Yahweh. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

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Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yeild no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
More than a little bleak,
Habakkuk’s Vineyard.
A place of ruin.
A difficult place.
A soul-place where the only way to survive is to finally GET REAL with God.
I believe these verses written by Habakkuk so very long ago,
perfectly illustrate what it looks like to live life among the ruins.
“Yes, but… life is full of disasters,” you might say. “And the unfair consequences that result from them can happen to anyone, right?”
True.
We all know there are times, unfair or deserved, when we are helplessly “taken captive” by events that are not of our choosing, or beyond our control.
Times when the ground drops out from underneath our feet, and we’re hurled into a desolate place of utter frustration, pain, and helplessness.
Nobody likes being helpless.
Certainly, not me.
So why does God allow it?
And, more importantly, how are we supposed to process our sorrow and disappointment in this barren place?
Habakkuk describes himself living in just such a place, yet he sings to us:
 
“…I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Is he kidding?
Rejoice?
Here?
He must be kidding!
How does anyone legitimately rejoice living in a place of ruin?
I’m not talking about putting on your best happy face. (No.) I think Habakkuk was talking about a deep down, put your head back, and sing-your-heart-out kind of rejoicing…
But, here?
In a place of devastation and loss?
Impossible!
(Or, is it?)
What if to have everything we have prayed for, dreamed for, believed God for we must first be willing to let go of other treasures in our life?
What if to have our destiny?
The one God has been planning for us from eternity past?
We must first be willing to pass through a dark place.
A stripped down narrow place.
A place I call ~ Habakkuk’s Vineyard.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Jeremiah 29:11-14Jeremiah 29:11-14
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. 12 You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says Yahweh, and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says Yahweh; and I will bring you again to the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.

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