Sunday, January 13, 2008

At The Centre of it All

The interesting thing I've always found about human beings is our ability to so aptly lie to ourselves and others around us. We lie about how wealthy we are, about our relationships, about how we're feeling, about whether we like something or not, we lie about who we are. Let's get right down to the nitty gritty... we hate to face who we really are.

I've spent my fair share of time living with other young men in the past few years. Even some older men, and if there is one thing I've learned about men, it's that they love to ignore the messes that they live in. As long as it is not directly effecting them in some detrimental way, then it is not affecting them at all. It mine as well not exist to them. It's functional.

And from my conversations and the observations I've made about the majority of women it is this, that as long as everything is neat, tidy and appears clean, then they are also happy. Their house can be a wreck five minutes before guests walk through the door, but as long as everything is neat and tidy when the doorbell rings they are happy. It's all about appearances, and everything has it's place.

If there is one thing that I have a hard time accepting about my faith it's this: grace. There is nothing I can do (or not do) to earn grace. It is offered freely to me, without conditions or standards. I did not pass a grade so I could be accepted into grace. Rather, it is because of my inadequacies that I am in need of grace. By very nature, I want to earn something, I want to be proud of my accomplishment when it is given to me. Grace, on the other hand is a badge of unaccomplishment. I accept it simply because it is offered to me, and I need it fully.

There is something humbling about that realization. Where I have to stop and ponder, in the midst of a busy world the implications of something offered freely. We work for everything that we earn. But this is not something I worked for, or that I earned. Yet it is more important than any of those carnal things. Where they will fade away to dust, this gift is eternal. And all I have to do is accept it.

To be honest, I'm dumbfounded. I'm confused, disillusioned, frustrated and dazed. I want to do SOMETHING, say SOMETHING that would give me credit for such an awesome gift, but I am left short of the mark. In it's very nature, I am inadequate. And in that moment of disillusionment, I get a glimpse of God. I am not focusing on myself, but on Him. And in that moment, He smiles at me, and simply says, "I know."

No lies. No facade. Just truth.

At the centre of it all, I'm not good enough, and that doesn't mean a thing.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Steady The Course

A dank smell lingered in the musty air. It must have been centuries since the last human thing moved through these halls. The walls on either side were slick with a thin sheen of water, and were spotted with moss like a leopard. Rays of sunshine pried their way in through the broken ceiling, and fjorded through the thick dust. The floor was cobbled with weathered stones that had once provided an adequate walkway, but now only intermittently broke through the mud.

Each step was a chore, lifting a foot out of the gripping mud, while the other was sucked in deeper. Breathing was like standing in a wheat field in the thick of harvest. The armour that he carried weighed heavily upon him, and many had called it old fashioned and outdated. It was less than fashionable, but it was the only real way to protect himself. And even here, when it seemed entirely impractical, it was a necessity.

It only took one small crevass in the wall holding a single trap to end the entire journey. Already he had survived three attempts on his life. One was a metal trap falling from a hidden compartment in the roof after he carelessly stepped on a loose stone. Had it not been for the rust, his sword would have never broken through. He was saved from the second trap by his sturdy breastplate, as sharp spears lunged for his heart as he opened a door. While not penetrating the steel, it pushed him back nearly fifteen feet, and left more than a few bruises on his body. The last was a form of quicksand that lay in waiting for an unsuspecting adventurer, and when it clutched at his ankles, arrows shot from the wall. His shield deflected them at the last moment, and his boots allowed him to slowly climb out of the sand. Unfashionable as the armour may be, no one could deny it's practical uses.

As he tread softly down the muddy path, he began to wonder if this was the right way. He'd seen that tree before, was he travelling in circles? The mud began to seep into his boots, and branches at the trees began to scrape at his face, clawing viciously at him. Thorns and vines clutched at his ankles at legs, seeking to slow or stop him. The light that had once guided him was now failing as night began to dawn and the few rays of light began to lose their luster.

It was going to be a long night.


I don't know if you've ever felt that way. I know I have. I know that I do. Over the past few weeks, I have been reciting to myself the many promises that God makes to me. That He will watch over me and protect me. That I will not go hungry or be unable to live, because He cares for me. That He knew me in the womb, and has a plan for my life, not to harm me, but help. Yet I struggle to find peace.

I seek to equip myself with the armour, and yet I find it constantly wanting to fall off. I find forces all around me clawing at me, scraping, scratching and meticulously combing me over for any sign of weakness. And I am weak.

God, I need peace. I need hope. I need to feel your presence. I need to know that there is stability in the storm, and I need to know that you are still in control of the waves and the rain. Because I know that I cannot swim through this one, I will surely drown. I need your help.

So please, meet me here. It's been over a year since I've had any stability in my life, and I'll wait the rest of my life if I have to, as long as I know that you are in control. Meet me here, in this dark, damp hallway. Give me rest, give me sustainence. But above all, give me You.