bare white

bare white


From My Heart of Brokeness to Theirs...Part TWO...Even If & Hope

My fear is,  part two is really part two of many
My fear is, Truth is being clouded by comfort
My fear is, safety has become the enemy

In a matter of mere hours a church was shot up by a mad man, and two marriages of two friends are falling not together but apart. One hurting, and the other hurting beyond repair that human eyes can see. And there is pain...a deep, mountian-weight of pain. (But oh, don't we know God does not have human eyes and we are never too far gone from His repair?)
My stomach is in absolute knots that keep tangling tighter, tighter and deeper. It is one thing to write about hurt and pain in a world that is still vastly foreign to me as I sit in my minuscule corner of a small, midwest town; it is another thing to hear and process the hurt in the lives of friends. Real live hurt. And yet, that same hurt fills our entire doesn't leave any untouched because it shows no preference. But we have Hope.
So many stories are being written into the very fabric of our lives; all hoping for their happy ending. I see it on my kids faces as they stare with the same horror at the screen that reveals to us the depravity in Sutherland Springs Texas. How can life change so drastically in the blink of an eye? What happened to worshipping in a safe pew? And yet, none of us will not receive our happy ending. Not here. Not now. Not in Texas. Not a real, lasting, happy ending. Not on this side of Eternity. And sometimes it hurts like hell, but we have Hope.

It is hard to wrestle with the thoughts of just wanting to shrink back and not be brave and choose safety first. I fight the desire of wanting to make walls a little taller to protect our little world we (think) exists. I hear it in my kids voices again as they talk with us and among themselves. Fears of the "what ifs" that could happen. And there was a time we would have altered our decisions after seeing this insanely real news from Texas. I would have built our fortress a little thicker, stronger, making sure no holes were there to let any of the evil in. But I am changing. We are changing. Instead our fortress is being broken down brick by pretend brick and perspectives are changing. My perspective is changing. Instead of my hole-y protection I want God's holy protection because, "there are no 'if's in God's world.  And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety..." (The Hiding Place, page 67) And the center of His will isn't always the safe place to be, the "makes sense" route. Infact, often it doesn't make sense at all to my American mind. But what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3) faced in the fiery furnace...that did NOT make human sense. Infact, I am certain, it would be the very definition of insanity. Their response to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But EVEN IF He doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
Do I live with this same faith, same Hope, same bravery, same everything they did? Or have I let fears of Texan shooters fill my mind with doubt and weak walls of protection? Will I say Even if...I will sing your praise? Or do I say only if I am safe, my kids are safe, we have food on the table and lives filled with comfort including a safe pew to worship in (fill in your blank)...then I will praise you?

Because the American mind often lives the American Dream of not needing really anything that we can't get on our own,  I realize this dream has seeped into my thinking, into the raising of our kids and yes, even into my studying of the Word. The "not needing" has weakened me instead of doing what it is supposed to do in America - make me stronger. And that just doesn't make sense unless you are looking through spiritual lenses.

In this building of dreams I forgot, and maybe at times intentionally let it slip my mind,  that we are in a battle. A battle for eternal. "There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by satan." (C.S. Lewis) If we are in a battle, then why am I spending time teaching my kids to be safe from ____? No, not safe anymore! Brave. Brave enough to follow the One who leads us. Brave enough to put on the spiritual armor for this battle. Brave enough for the front lines. Brave enough to see the hurt and (I have said it before) run to not shrink back. Brave enough to be in the WORD, know the word, pick up that sword and fight for Truth! Brave enough to see our greatest need is our need of a Savior and His deep, deep LOVE for us is what sets us free to live with our hands off of our  life and the way we think it should go - the way I think my kids life should go - the way I think my marriage should go. And that bravery doesn't make sense.

 And maybe, that safety I was imparting to my kids and the safety I desired for myself just made us numb to the ugly truth that lives around us and weak in our faith and Hope. Maybe this safety kept us from seeing needs...real, human needs. Maybe this safety effected our every decision. Maybe this safety has done the exact opposite of what I thought it would...instead of prepare us for battle it has prepared us to live a completely self centered life. Our view is too narrow. Instead of seeing Hope we see only hopeless pain. But I want to see Hope. I want my kids to see Hope, know Hope, live in Hope. And we do that when our eyes see life through the lens of eternity. In light of eternity so much becomes I live suddenly becomes so much less about me and so much more about people. Shout it from the mountain top...we are NEVER without Hope and Hope has a name...Jesus! HE is the reason we live and move and breath and His name is beautiful. He is the reason I don't want to live safe but only on my knees. He is the reason I want to live in brave surrender following Him. And I pray that this is the Hope my kids know and pass along to all they meet.

So here we are again, facing another tragedy. Will I say, like those crazy, insane heroes,  "even if"...I will praise you? I'm fighting for the even if. Will we be the ones always with Hope and will we pass this Hope to all we come in contact with? I am fighting for Hope.


Emily said...

Yes. So well said.

Megan Renae said...

I realized recently, after a bit of a break on the blogging, that I never responded to this...Love that song!! It is on my main worship play list that is constantly on repeat!

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