F O R A P I O N E
I so appreciate the idea, expressed in Michael Card’s book, that learning the lost language of lament gives us freedom. We don’t have to be afraid of offending God – he knows about anger, fear, sorrow, despair, loss of hope. Being granted permission to experience lament we can move on to healing, “asking Him to place his finger on those scars that need to be offered up through lament” (pg 151).
Yesterday I went to see “Les Miserables” at the Village Theatre. A part of the story is about how one man was transformed from a life of consuming anger to one of mercy and courageous love. And it all started with an act of unmerited kindness. Refusing to be defined by his past, Jean Valjean went on to become mayor of a small town, to provide employment for many, to rescue and raise a child, to risk his freedom to prevent an injustice and finally, to spare the life of his sanctimonious accuser. I can do that do. I can use the energy of my lament for taking action, as God leads, in the corner of his kingdom where he has placed me.
Throughout the play, God is honored as the author of Jean Valjean’s redemption. I praise God for not leaving me in the pit of lament but for reaching down and pulling me up, placing my feet on the solid ground of his transforming love (see Ps 40).
F O R A P I T W O
Working through the elements of High Point processing, I’ve been able to see howtrust – and lack of trust has helped to shape me.
The Event: Hearing from God while on an Awakenings Prayer retreat many years ago was one of the turning points in my life – although I didn’t really know it at the time. The moment itself was quiet – I was on a silent walk on the trails of Cedar Springs. What I heard from God was quiet, too. No thunderclap, just the whisper of two words: “Trust Me.” In fact, had it not been for both journaling and the Spiritual Direction appointment I had later, the significance of what happened may have been forgotten.
The Need: The moment fulfilled a need to trust God, as I was just getting reacquainted with him.
The Name: A name for God that fulfills the need to trust in him is The Lord, my rock.
The Signature Scripture:
1I love thee, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
Recovery: Having trust betrayed is hard to overcome. That was my low point theme last month. Having trust restored was what I needed for healing.
Values: But what to trust? Our culture values temporal things which will not last: wealth, youth, beauty, power. But it doesn’t take long to realize that the things we chase after do not satisfy and they do not last. Our souls long for a firm foundation of truth that gives meaning to both life and death.
Vision: The vision is of a life built, like a home, on a firm foundation. The word, “built” is important because it implies growth. If I’m not afraid to trust in the Lord, my Rock and my salvation, I build this house assured it will weather life’s storms. Edward Mote’s lyrics are timeless: “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Destiny: Being one who trusts is different from being one who is suspicious and skeptical. My destiny is to be one who trusts, to live without fear, “confident of this, that the one who began a good work [in me] will bring it to completion” (Philippins:1:6). Another hymn to finish up the theme of trusting God: “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,” lyrics by Louisa M. R. Stead.