Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Diving Back In Amidst the Madness

It has been about two months or so since I last devoted any time to my blog.  I made no decision to stop writing, there was no grand event in my life that drew time or energy from me (unless you count writing my final paper for apologetics and moving out to my parents house)…

 I just.

Sort of.


Every time I tried to write felt like an upward battle, an actual, physical struggle, and rather than doing the wise thing by pushing through the block, I raised a white flag and gave up.  So here I am again, trying to remain faithful to my exercise in writing, hoping to be more consistent even when things get busy at my new job (woohoo!).

In June I was offered a position at a dance studio in Katy.  They are branching out into Fulshear (five minutes from my parents house, which I am taking care of while they are living in Egypt) and I will be teaching little ones ballet, tap, and jazz.  In spite of a few nerves (I haven't taken tap since I was about their age, 3, and I took a very small amount of jazz in high school) I am super excited at the opportunity to help these little ones learn how to dance.  My prayer is that the Lord will use me in their lives and the lives of their parents; that I will be a witness by patience and gentleness and that these things will give me the opportunity to share the reason for the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15).  Thankfully, the Lord can use even His most banged up and broken tools to do great things.

And our world is so broken.  The last few days have been sad, painful.  News of turmoil for the church around the world, the suicide of a beloved comedian, the murder of a close friend of one of the families

at my church…our world is not right; our world is damaged, and sometimes, even as the children of God, things seem hopeless.

In Jeremiah 50:6-7, the Lord says through His prophet,

“My people have become lost sheep;
Their shepherds have led them astray.
They have made them turn aside on the mountains;
They have gone along from mountain to hill
And have forgotten their resting place.
“All who came upon them have devoured them;
And their adversaries have said, ‘We are not guilty,
Inasmuch as they have sinned against the Lord who is the habitation of righteousness,
Even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.’

I think as the church we need to look to this passage and consider Israel's plight, especially in dark times.  God gave His people the land of Canaan as a place of rest.  Why was it their place of rest?  Certainly because the Lord defeated their enemies, of course because they were no longer slaves, and absolutely because He'd made them prosperous, but I think the deeper reason is because that is where He chose to reside in a very special way.  God is "the habitation of righteousness".  This word is often misunderstood, I think.  We view righteousness typically as a set of rules and regulations, or self-righteousness as prideful, holier than thou art living, but when broken down, righteousness means "the quality or state of being just or rightful."

Think about that.    

Injustice permeates our world with the blood of the weak and powerful alike.  Wrongness twists and bends the bones and joints of every aspect of life.  But in God righteousness lives and breathes.  All that is as it should be dwells within our Creator.  There is no shadow in Him.  Therefore, to reside in a land in which God's special presence had been placed meant to reside in a land of rest.  We can't rest when things are wrong, when we feel in our souls that things are bent and out of place.  It is only in the presence of the Righteous One that we are able to give up worry, and hope for the day when He has made straight that which we have made crooked.

It's hard to find space for this sometimes.  Our days are so full, crowded with things both meaningful and ordinary, but even in the chaos our souls can find rest in
prayer, in the remembrance of God's word, in the quiet whisper that so often reminds us that He is there.  I'll be honest, this doesn't always make everything ok right away; traffic is still frustrating, my sin still casts a shadow, and work is still sometimes hard, but it is like a deep gulp of air in the middle of a hard race.  You're halfway through and you just don't think you can keep running, your muscles burn, your joints are aching, and your lungs feel raw from exertion, but you see the crowds cheering you on and you take that deep breath sending oxygen to your blood cells and then, suddenly, you can carry on when you thought you were done.

Take courage, dear friends, and find rest in the Creator of all things, our "habitation of righteousness".

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