March 9

“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards.” Song of Solomon 4:8

Crushing weights give the Christian wings. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is a blessed truth. David out of some bitter experience cried: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away, and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6). But before he finished this meditation he seems to have realized that his wish for wings was a realizable one. For he says, “Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee.”

The word “burden” is translated in the Bible margin, “what he (Jehovah) hath given thee.” The saints’ burdens are God-given; they lead him to “wait upon Jehovah,” and when that is done, in the magic of trust, the “burden” is metamorphosed into a pair of wings, and the weighted one “mounts up with wings as eagles. (Streams in the Desert)

Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs that the holy is drawing near. —Frederick Buechner

I like a party as much as the next guy, but confess that I wasn’t able to generate much enthusiasm for our staff Christmas party. No reflection on my colleagues or an indictment on me, but everything about it seemed out of sync for some reason. Perhaps I felt that way because my wife couldn’t come, or it may have been the seventy-degree temperatures with high humidity, which only felt like Christmas in that it reminded me of childhood Decembers on the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur. Regardless, I sat outside among several couples, alone with my thoughts, paper plate full of lasagna and french bread balanced on my legs, a cup of coffee at hand, situated near a propane heater that quietly effused warmth to the outdoor deck.

In an effort to be polite, I addressed the young man seated across from me. Intending to engage in nothing more than small talk, I asked casually about his work and family. His response arrested me from my party funk, and I sat spellbound for the next fifteen minutes as he narrated how life had changed for him since he and his wife almost lost their two-year-old son when he fell into a rural pond last year. His voice broke slightly as he ended the story by saying that the whole experience was a wound that held him nearer to the heart of God, and that he never wanted it to completely heal. He had tears in his eyes. I had a lump in my throat. We sat in silence; a simple candlelit patio transformed into sacred space by the reminder that we will never be like Christ without a wound. (Excerpt from Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace by Dane Fowlkes, 2017)

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