mighty to save

20 06 2008

life has a way of being brutal.

sometimes it feels as though the pain is greater than you can bear, that the walls are closing in and are going to crush our hopeless souls.

this week i have experienced death.  a best friend’s father passed and a friend from church left us, both too young for comprehension.

this week i have experienced frustration.  i was contacted by some old friends and posed one of the most difficult on the spot questions.

this week i have experienced anger, pain, and sorrow.  my parents are going through huge life-altering stress and family-changing frustration with career.

this week i have experienced stress.  the busiest part of my job starts in two days and i am by no means ready, understanding, or in the least bit prepared for it.

this week i have experienced the power of an almighty and powerful God.  a God that is mighty to save, who has conquered the grave, who can move the mountains, who has saved my soul from sure destruction.  and as much as it hurts to see what is going on and all the pain of death, frustration, anger, sorrow, and stress, i know that i have a relationship with a real and loving God that has power over all of this.

yeah, that’s my God, the one and only who is mighty to save.  that’s hope.

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hearing anew in pain

19 01 2008

one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while is C.S. Lewis’ Problem of Pain. i don’t want to say that it’s because i’m going through pain in my life right now, but it’s been on that list for a while now and just lately it came up again. in line with what i wrote yesterday about Matthew West and his new cd and dvd documentary, there was this quote from Lewis’ book that is readily quoted by West.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

it obviously makes sense when you relate it to West’s story, with the aspect of complete silence in his respect for two months. but what i want to do is take it outside of that context and expand on what it means to me right now in the midst of where i’m at.

i struggle with the idea of hearing from God constantly, mostly because i don’t take the time and opportunities to listen like i’m told to. i live in a world that thrives off noise and every bit of this and that to fill up the caverns of our souls. it’s like the idea of silence is forbidden from really crossing our minds. maybe that’s why i find those solitary moments where it’s just me and my thoughts (although admittedly i usually have some music, or in this case some people’s voices, playing in the near distance) to be the most satisfying throughout my days. but even in the midst of these moments i still can’t seem to find or track Him down. and yes, again, i’ll admit that i’m probably not doing the best job of looking for God. but why is it that i find it easiest to do this when i’m sunken and beaten rather than when i have provision and happiness in life?

as i’m sure you’ve guessed, this whole ex-relationship thing is still very much on my nerves, in my head, and all over my life. somedays it seems like i’m trying to run from the problem, until i realize that if i was running i wouldn’t be living 100 feet away from her. people keep on saying to give time and have patience, but those things are often the least comforting, because of course as a fallen human being i’m more concerned about how i feel than the actual glory in the midst of the situation. it’s like i’m a pre-occupied, self-enamored, arrogant prude a lot of the time. i’m as big a part of this fallen and corrupt world as the people who don’t understand that and just go on living as such.

that’s where Lewis starts to resonant with me. you see, i’m not exactly comfortable saying that i hear God speaking to me throughout my life, but i also can’t necessarily deny that God is around and doing things. it’s like…..i don’t know what, but something that God obviously created that comes and goes all the time without it really being realized. because a lot of times it feels like i phone every few days and just get the answering machine and leave my pithy message, only to never get a return call. or maybe i’m just not listening.

maybe God’s just really trying to grab me and shake me and show me how much He really is there and doing everything around me. but i’m just not opening myself up and listening. so how do i come to listen then? what’s it going to take for me to get a genuine and authentic bit of God into who i am?

maybe it takes pain.

pain, pain, and more pain. God shouts to us when we’re weak and in shambles, when we’re down and out and ready to finally listen to what you’ve been trying to get through with all the time. as Lewis said, we’re a deaf world of people, unable to hear what He’s saying, until of course we get hit with pain. and then, if we’re willing, the sounds of the megaphone start to break through and we get this moment of divine intervention.

so how do i listen? how do i go about getting some sort of connection going here, or rather, how do i unplug my ears to hear the shouts through the megaphone? integrating silence? setting aside time just to sit and be still? or is it something more to have this echo throughout the chorus of my life? maybe i’ve just got to try listening for once rather than asking all the questions myself.

thank God for pain.  oh that we might be able to hear through God’s megaphone