For the director of music. A song. A psalm.
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
5 Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
6 He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 16:11 "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
Fullness of joy? For forever?
When I had to discover that all I had, all I learned, just made my life more...what is the word for it? Oh, four words: ready to be planted. The years before taught me that when I was to do something, to do it humbly. Because I had failed in this manner in my heart. Now I do not know a new thing but a thing of old---and that is to be humble. Seems silly now, to say it in such a way. Humble. Humble grace flowing out. Heart-shattering, surrendering humble grace.
Oh, now, I am pierced, pierced through wth the sharpness of sameness---the same words over and over again....I need to die to be alive. Never can I really be alive without death to self. That is why, that is truly why I can never be simply satisfied by even a thing like talent. Everything must be sacrificed to selfishness or else it's just vanity.
See, it's not the truth: the truth is this, what if God is making me die? Die to self? Again, like I must, should, and can with all joy?! Pray for me others can, but no one can stop what God is doing. There is nothing wrong with this except the pain behind it all....that to have without it being a creation committed to the glory of God only is in vain and is stupid and makes sadness, bad sadness, all black and ugly and pervading.
What do I have to say? That my life is worth this. That here, now, this is worth this. That as I write and choose to "waste" any time at the feet of Jesus I am finding true life. I am saying, yes, here am I, poor sinner...here am I. The struggle known of before time by the Creator. What do I have to say? That I am ready to be planted? No, I dare not say that. I will choose to remain silent and wait. Now is the time I must wait. And as beauty unfolds, yes, one day this body of mine will not be here, but now, this beauty, I cry all this beauty out because my body is here now. I am the recipient of such an offer? To behold grace, to bestow grace on others? To fill with grace, swell with grace, know grace, flow with grace, think with grace, imagine with grace, and close my eyes to a world and know that I must only unfold when the time is right, just right. Like when the bread is ready to come out of the oven. Like when a mother's belly is swollen with life. I am only qualified to flow and be once I have beheld, beheld that God of grace. He is full of grace.
Never does he fail. Now, after years of travelling on dusty deserts, roads of abundance and ones of great poverty, I settle into what God listening to what God tells me? I hardly even know, though I see glimpses. Mystery upon mystery, I cannot even say, speak, utter a word until the time. is. right. No, I am simple. I am a humble little sinner saved by grace. But I am not a sinner anymore. I am claimed as God's child who has the power to conquer things that my Jesus doesn't like one bit. I am not humble. I am proud by nature. But God told me to be humble. So I decided to say yes. Yeah right. He pounded me into it. He broke me up.
Do I even have a right to be a creature of beauty? No. I may perchanse misuse that. So I return to the ground...to Him...on empty....again?
Coldness is what makes me want to shudder. The lie that everything is good when isn't it better to say that that's not true, that it's cold, that we need grace? That we are needy and poor and just need a break or else we'll die?
I am me, I guess. Me. No one else. Weird? What did God say so softly to me as I watched and wondered and sobbed inside because I just wanted to be home? He showed me how each person's flow is from Him ultimately, and that there is such value in each person, but that all, every single one, only get that from Him or are doing it in vain and laying up treasures on this earth.
Psalm 66:6 says that He turned the sea into dry land. The God who made heaven and earth does that. He can even turn a sea around from its footings on the oceanbed firmly grappled by so-called gravity and the natural realms of water life. He can turn seas into dry ground; he is turning my seas into dry ground to enter a land of rest in Him (Hebrews!) in which I have ulimate Goodness all my life because I possess Him as my own. He causes people to pass through on foot. Come, let us rejoice in him.
The name of the Lord is to be praised. He is good. His love endures. His people can have fullness of joy. Forever. And I am watching Him turn my seas. I will watch and believe for all the rest of the seas to be turned into dry ground that makes way for the Lord, for His will and his ways, not for a man-made testimony that leads to death. I watch and am caught up in all this sea-turning wonder.