Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hiding Behind the Walls

I hear the stories all of the time. These are always stories of despair, of sadness, of depression, and of hopelessness. Never are these stories ones of love (unless that love has been taken away), or of hope (unless that hope has turned to hopelessness) or of life and joy and peace (unless, again, these things have been torn away from them).

I am writing of the stories of heartbreak - stories of people who once knew love, but then felt the stinging shock of rejection; stories of people who once had their heart so wrapped up in a person that when that person suddenly walked away or was taken from them, their heart was shattered to pieces; stories of people who once knew the life of love and joy and peace and hope, but have now turned to depression and disbelief and doubt because of circumstances in their lives that have proved to them that this life of love and joy and peace doesn't truly exist (or perhaps it does for some, but certainly never for them).

These people live their lives behind walls - and not just behind them, but surrounded by them. These are high, thick, heavy walls that cannot easily be penetrated. They are walls of resentment, of distrust, of caution - and sometimes, of bitterness. For these people, it is easier to hide behind these walls of "safety" than to risk loving and being loved again. For these, it seems the best choice to live behind these walls than to risk walking out and being hurt and broken all over again.

Perhaps you know these stories that I am talking about; perhaps these stories are your own. Maybe you could re-read what I have just written and replace the word "people" with "myself" and "their" with "my" and "them" with "me." Wherever you are at in life, I am writing to declare a truth that has been declared before and will be declared again. I say it with an urgency and a passion, straight from my heart to yours: there is hope. And there is only hope because we have a Great Lover of our souls. His name is Jesus.

Jesus tells me that He loves me and He proved it that while I was still doing wrong against Him, He died for me (Romans 5:8). He tells me that in Him, I can find rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus invites me to come to Him, with all of my anxieties (that includes all of my burdens and fears and heartaches), and cast them on Him (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus tells me that I have hope - eternal hope (Proverbs 23:18). He tells me that it is impossible for me to be forever alone (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus tells me that He knows the plans that He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and that those plans are higher than my own (Isaiah 55:8,9). Jesus tells me that He is sufficient; He is enough (2 Corinthians 12:9).

And Jesus can be trusted. He bids us come to Him - with our broken hearts and all. In Jesus, there really are no broken hearts - only broken sinners needy of a Savior, who heals us and delivers us and makes us whole.

I wonder if more people knew this Truth if there would be less broken hearts and more hearts being satisfied in Him? It's a glorious thought, for the outcome of a whole heart in Christ is a glorious life - both for the glory of His Name and the futherance of our joy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

His Purpose Stands

That aching, burning desire has returned to my heart and it refuses to leave. I know many of you know exactly the feeling that I am trying to describe; it is a completely indescribable feeling except to say that it is aches and burns. There is no other way to describe it. It is a restless, holy dissatisfaction - restless because I do not know what to do with it; holy dissatisfaction because I know the way that things are and I also know from God's Word the way that things should be. And I see a gap - a wide gap that must be bridged. And that is why this feeling aches and burns my heart.

This is the longest that I have been in this country in three years. I didn't know that I would experience this restlessness to leave it again; I didn't know that I would fall in love with countries not my own; I didn't know that the people would recurrently come to mind, creating a yearning in my heart to return to the beauty that they behold. I didn't know there'd be pain in leaving until I left and I sure did not know that the Lord would ask me to wait so long to return.

However, I do believe with all my heart that my Father's timing is perfect. He knows the desires of my heart to return to minister to and with these people. He knows my burning desire to once again get dirty loving on these people, kneeling in the dirt and holding dirty, precious babies and sharing love with a widow who has not eaten in days and throwing a beach ball with children who scream with pure delight as they run after it and singing praises to my King with the resounding voices of a hundred financially poor children, creating a true richness that can be found in no material thing. I could go on, but I realize with each description, with each recurring memory, the burning of my desire does not subside, but only increases.

I trust God's timing is perfect - that truth is really what inspired me to write this; for this post is not about me. This aching desire came from the Father whose heart also aches for the people around the world; if it did not, He would not command us to go to the least of these (Matthew 25:40), bringing the Good News (Isaiah 52:7), and providing for those who have need (Proverbs 3:27, Proverbs 28:27, Luke 3:11, James 2:15-16). This burning holy dissatisfaction came from the Father whose heart loves the people I love with a deeper and truer love than I ever could (John 15:13). And that is why I trust Him; my desires, if they are from Him, will not go unfulfilled. And I have found, time and time again, that when I am in close communion with my Father, my heart begins to become more aligned with His and I begin to desire what He desires. It is a wonderfully beautiful thing when my desires merge with the desires of my Father, for it is not a natural thing for the heart of a depraved sinner like me to desire what the King desires. When He allows it, I can do nothing but fall at His feet in peaceful admiration and worship, knowing that His desires and purposes are perfect and it is always His purpose that stands (Proverbs 19:21).

Though my heart yearns and aches and burns for things that the Lord has not yet seen fit to give me or allow me to do, I trust His timing. I know that He has a Plan. I know that when I am in relationship with Him, pursuing Him and enjoying Him and loving Him and worshipping Him, my heart becomes more like His and I begin to desire more of what He desires. If these desires in my heart are truly His, then they will come to pass. It is always His purpose that stands, though the plans in my mind are many (Proverbs 19:21). Though my heart senses a gap between the way that things are and the way that things should be both in the world and in the Church and it has caused a holy dissatisfaction to surface, I trust my God. He holds the whole world in His hands and He knows the end from the beginning. In Him I place my trust and, more than that, in Him I place my life.

Lord, give me more of a desire to desire what You desire; break my heart for what breaks Your heart. Father, I ask that You give me grace to accept and to trust Your perfect timing. Thank You, thank You, thank You, that it is always Your purpose that stands.

What is your heart yearning and aching and burning for that may not be in the Lord's timing for you right now? What are you going to do about it - bask in self-pity and try to go ahead of the Lord's plans or throw yourself, along with your plans, at the feet of Jesus? The choice is ours to make, but freedom is found in our Father and trusting in His purpose which stands.