Matthew 10:37-39 (FNV)
“The ones who choose their father or mother, son or daughter, over me dishonor me. The ones who fail to pick up their cross and walk the road with me do not know my worth. The ones who care only for their own life will fail to find life, but the ones who will lay down their life for me will find true life.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Is it a must to bumble and reach for words that hardly describe something that can’t be touched even if it was sitting in the most obvious place, in our view, staring us straight in the face? If the Spirit is what draws people, what hope do we have in going into every end of the earth to spread news of Someone who could well intervene and tell these people much better than we ever could about a hope that is placed higher than my fleshy hand is able to reach anyway? But He chooses the poor, the broken, the weak, and the least likely people to share this hope because He came in the least likely way. And in that manner His mercy is revealed to us as perfect. We carry love to an unlovable world that is blind to the fact that it is loved; and as we struggle our best to be light in the darkness, we persevere so others might see Christ. Walking through this place is like climbing a hill, and whether that hill is Mount Baldy, the place behind your house, or Mount Everest, the rocks scrape your feet, the thorny weeds scratch your ankles, and the brush slices your shins. And while all the time you try to keep from swearing or even crying – you won’t give up and you’re not sure exactly why. Yet despite it all you reach a glorious peak, and, looking out over the prairies, canyons, and rivers below, you suddenly look at yourself only to see that through all of the struggles you’ve become someone else, and the someone else that you’ve become is more yourself than the someone that you started as.
“…and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
As you come to that place there’s a silence, a silence that hides joy underneath it like some try to brush the dirt of the freshly swept floor under the rug…knowing that someone will eventually find it anyway but only by accident. As you watch the birds soar up on this mountain top, and try to catch a breath, somehow you know that this is the closest you’ll get to having a “home,” and the closest to having yourself, because in that moment the grace and “peace that surpasses all understanding” has made a “home” in your memory. It leaves behind a tear so you can remember it and so that Heaven can remind you of it. Our poverty sings a song that can’t be reached by the richest rich and that marvelous fact is not only shown but also experienced. You end up in a place happy that you’ve found yourself but now you hardly know what to do with yourself. So, you do the only thing that you can think to do when you’ve found something that is lost: you praise God, half shocked but mostly thankful because you can’t imagine you any other way.
“Be still and know that I am God…”
Ah, the blessed silence…a silence that splits the aggression and the tears and the thousand things that you would have done differently if you could redo them. You come there with the knowledge that you wouldn’t have it any other way because, after all, it made you who you are. Maybe, just maybe if you let this thing that makes you persevere have its way, just possibly you’ll end up like the Someone Else who you wish you were like anyway.
Finally, to look past everything else to see the Man who is a Shepherd, or a Best Friend, or a Savior, and Lord. The silence carries with itself a supernatural moment because as soon as you find that quiet moment you hear all of yourself, or creation, or your soul, or the Spirit, yell in everything but words, “See? He IS God.” And in that moment, you know that you’ve come face to face with a miracle, a “somehow,” because this world contains so much noise in it that it’s impossible to find any peace and quiet in it. But this paradigm shifting reality is more than an oasis, or a pit stop, or a dream…it’s a sanctuary. Peace. Amid the traffic jams, arguments, waiting, longing, crying, you find peace. And at the same time, you know that you’ve not arrived at this place by accident. Taking a deep breath while staring out as far as you can see, you feel oddly like you’re standing smack dab in the middle of the Hand that created this time, place, and you.