One foot out, the other in.
Summoning the courage to step forward again.
Staring at my half-devoured notebooks chock full of unfinished thoughts. Words processed through memory but sent by God and wholly filtered through Him. I don’t fear the process, but I do tremble at the outcome. It feels like climbing link by link in a rollercoaster car— internal dread, suspense mounting, no turning back, cresting the hill and F-R-E-E-F-A-L-L….. That moment immediately before and after the final edit and swoosh! Publish. It’s out there. Hoping.. praying that these words written in obedience will hit His mark in the heart of someone like me. Motive always matters.
I never wish to wound although sometimes, I do. Hence.. my “radio silence” of these few weeks as I’ve waited for… I don’t know— a respectful distance? Perhaps.
Back in the day there was an advertising campaign that said, “If you want to capture someone’s attention, whisper.” I’m sure it sold a lot of perfume. Honestly, that notion has never been more relevant than it is today. It’s so freaking noisy. In this day of mass consumption and mass communication everybody has the ability to talk things to death and beyond, leaving little room for the thinkers, doers and listeners. We’ve been pushed to the fringes, trapped on the jagged cliffs of Mt. McBlahBlah while the lemmings leap over us to their deaths. Somehow, we need to regroup and remember there is a better way.
You don’t necessarily have to be “qualified” to become an outspoken expert in the field of ALL THE THINGS— along with half a bazillion others— myself included. I realize this truth. However, there is something important to be said for motive, wisdom, logic and integrity—necessary ingredients for any decent conversation. I must ask myself this all the time, “Where is your heart anchored”? Because Jesus said that’s where the words flow from.
Until yesterday, I refused to read the recent news. I couldn’t. Not because I do not care or don’t want to know. I simply could not bear the cacophony and white-hot-heated frenzy of more “qualified” experts quite unwilling to listen, hear, empathize or, for God’s sake, REASON with any level of intelligent compassion. Genuineness and integrity getting tripped up and stomped on by those just “here for the show”. Loud voices with fingers poised on the trigger of their chosen weapon, lobbing word bombs from the safe distance of their comfortable homes. Bang-Bang. AK-47s may not be the most dangerous weapons in the room considering the power of mob mentality versus the truth. Think about it.
Satan couldn’t possibly be more pleased. Chaos and confusion—his specialties— are in perpetual supply and we have become a society that thrives upon them. His task is so easy now: drop the hint that the problem is “out there” in the form of terrorism, sexuality, religion, politics and patriotism—whatever. Set the bait, stand back and watch hungry masses tear one another to bits because somebody took a bite out of their sacred cow. It doesn’t take much because we’ve reached the point of critical mass: the bare minimum required to initiate and sustain a chain reaction. We’re close. Feel it?
Sadly , it’s all satan has ever been good at: fear-flavoring every good thing. “Did God really say….?” BAM:
That one question reverberating across every “modern day” situation we face. If somehow we buy the lie or at least invest time doubting God’s faithfulness, presence, goodness…or existence… a chink in our armor forms just wide enough for the arrows to bring us down.
Real damage is being done by all the “Us’s” and every “Them”. No matter where you stand, it’s nearly impossible not to feel the anxious, spiritual buildup like the forges of Mordor rumbling beneath our feet. Not everyone will acknowledge these things. Too many prefer living anesthetized lives of stupefaction through various forms of media and medicines. Numbed and dumbed by an excess of pleasure thinking we can somehow avoid the pain while ignoring how even amongst the most successful in our society, the suicide and drug abuse rates are climbing steadily.
Because there is real pain. But the fact remains that what we’re experiencing in our world today — every bit of it— is not the central issue. These are *symptoms*. Horrible, horrible mutations and manifestations of the terrible disease of sin within.
You know, sometimes.. I can imagine why Jesus wept. Standing before Mary, He knew even sparing her this moment of pain would not stop it’s flow immediately. Looking out over Jerusalem then, wanting to gather her safely into his arms, surely He could see ahead to the world as it is today. His heart was grieved that even in light of His example and sacrifice, choices were going to be made to look away and hurt others anyway.
Even as a Christian, sometimes I find myself wandering into the middle of the fray forgetting that’s not they way we have been called to do this business of life. Sometimes I struggle to remember that God is not a part of the chaos and has no need to shout past Calvary. It is finished. So how can I live as a part of the “it is finished” people? What is there to say on behalf of those who have to exist in the midst of a world entangled in all the “These things” Paul talked about?
It was this statement this past week from Audrey Assad that brought me back to the center of the issue and before the cross:
I was reminded that though I’m a warrior for the Gospel, my anchoring and methods of doing battle must be radically different from what I see around me today.
Sometimes I have to take a step back from the noise to gauge more clearly and remember thankfully, our Savior is still speaking ferocious love through the same, steady whisper throughout the ages: “Return and rest.” , “Be still and know.” and then “Go and tell” through and with our stilled, knowing, returned and rested lives.
Salt and Light: It’s how we can be the healing, preserving and seasoning of salt while we illuminate and guide with our light-saturated lives.
Being still, knowing, returning and resting doesn’t seem like much of a solution when you look at it in view of the chaos.
Seems too basic—like putting a bandage on a gaping wound. Instead it’s more like a kiss from God on that ancient snake bite that doesn’t just heal for the moment…it’s the cure— the antidote for the poisonous sin deep in our souls.
And perhaps, in this age of hyper-awareness it may be the only way we can “capture the attention” of this noisy world around us so that the healing Gospel can whisper through the chaos. It’s my prayer: Let them see Jesus in me.