Beautiful ashes, scattering about on the early morning breeze; A solemn frigid welcome is what was expected, An overcast sky and a lingering dawn. It is a new day but night seems to persist; Each season seemingly more turbulent than the last. Persistent night, made bearable only by merciful flashes of Light.
Who knew that a sound Could be so loud as to echo into eternity? It was the sound accompanying the event That sent ripples through time – forward and backward. An event beyond the confines of time and space, Its echoes preceding it – promising its sure occurrence. Echoes forcefully sustained by a universe unwilling to forget.
Identity is a strange thing. It is something that should be obvious but can be strangely mysterious. There are many, especially the young, who are going through an identity crisis. One dictionary defines identity crisis as a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure or unstable. An identity crisis usually occurs when there’s a change in a person’s life, and can also be due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. An identity crisis is a type of existential crisis. Existential crises generally have to do with questions and inner conflicts about the meaning and purpose of life. As thinking beings, reason and purpose have a central role to play in how we go about life.
I, like many others, believe that God is. But I also, like many others, wish I could meet God like Moses met God in the burning bush encounter of Exodus 3 and 4. Moses’ encounter with God is one of the most iconic, most recognizable and unique instances of God revealing Himself to a man recorded in Scripture. Note, this was not a vision, or a dream, or an impression, or an imagination; as the Scriptures indicate later on in Numbers 11, God makes it clear that He speaks to Moses face to face, not in dreams or visions or dark sayings or riddles. So yes, though I believe that God is, and I believe in His Word, I still wish to meet Him like Moses did.
Sometime ago, God revealed to me that He’d already granted that wish (but in classical form, He had done it not in the way I was expecting). Then He went ahead to show me how the burning bush experience that Moses had in his time, was his (Moses’) version of what we would call in this dispensation, ‘the born-again experience’.
Join me on a journey back through time, Way before the episode at Lazarus’ tomb, Very close to the beginning of a beautiful story, In the perfect garden, where all things should have been rosy, Love wept…unseen, unheard, unconsoled.
In the face of betrayal and death; At the pain and thought of losing What He’d literally invested Himself into; Love wept…bloody tears, to make room for Hope.
In times of loss and pain, I’m reminded of hymns like: “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…”; But how does God console Himself? “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…”? One ordinary-seeming day, Love wept…unshed tears.
Tell me that it’s easy, To rise up each morning at the break of dawn To set your knees in that spot in the mat With the perfect grooves made from wear; A testament to the consistency with which they carry The weight of your desperation and dreams.
Tell me how you’ve gotten used to the familiar aches – The pain of the strain of holding a position That under different circumstances would be called corporal punishment; Hands clasped underneath chin, Elbows scraping the edge of the bed… But none of these compare to the aches That rampage in places the eye cannot see; None of these compare to the screams that no ear hears – None, except One.
There’s a song furnished in my heart this dawn; It is a song of pain and tragedy; It is a song of unfailing and faithful love; It is a song both marred and perfected In my lack of complete understanding and full appreciation. It is an old song, but seems new every morning; It carries the weight of hope and is full of promises and possibilities. It promises such great things and calls for me to be bold and courageous; It calls for me to step out in faith and complete trust.
Father, You have searched me, and You know me – even better than I know myself. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts long before they are formed within me. You search out my path, even to where I lay my head to rest; there is no part of my life’s journey that is obscured from You. No word has reached my tongue that You didn’t already know about. You hem me in behind and before; and You have laid Your hand on me. You give me knowledge of things beyond me, lofty things that I cannot attain.
Is there a place that Your Spirit cannot reach? Is it possible for me to escape Your presence? If I were to ascend to heaven, that is Your throne and You would be there; but even if I were to make my bed in the depths of Sheol, I would not be beyond Your piercing gaze. If I take the wings of the dawn, and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me.
About 365 days since I last sat to write a “New Year’s Message,” And I can’t help but loosely echo the words of the Psalmist… In the 65th psalm, he says, “Praise waits for You, God, in Zion. Vows shall be performed to You. You who hear prayer, unto You shall all men come. Our sins did not overwhelm us, because You atoned for our transgressions. How blessed we are that You have chosen us and caused us to come near to You. How privileged we are to be able to live in Your courts. You have positioned us in Your secret place, And filled us with the goodness of Your treasuries. By awesome deeds of righteousness, You answered us and brought us salvation. You have shown Yourself to be the hope of all the earth, of those far and near. By Your power and strength You have brought great things into being, Stilled the roaring of the seas, its waves, and the turmoil of nations. Even those in the farthest reaches of the earth Have come to know and fear Your wonders. You have set songs of joy into our dawns and dusks. You have blessed the works of our hands and brought us increase; Indeed, You crown our year with Your bounty, And cause our storehouses to overflow with abundance. Everything in sight declares Your praise with joy.”