Originally published Wednesday, 03 August 2016.
Bang! The thunder sounded like a shot in the night, except it was morning. Either way, the shrieks that ensued caught us all off guard. "Quick, get under the blankie! Let's hide," Madison shouted at her toddler brother.
They tumbled down like miniature-wrestlers, grabbing the comforter and maneuvering it over their heads.
They felt safe. But, what I could see from the height of my vantage point went beyond two sets of covered heads - to the 3 feet of remaining limbs laying uncovered. These soft legs, arms and hearts were still vulnerable - vulnerable to thunder, destruction and all the fierce consequences of lightening.
All I could think was, "Those cute little fools aren't safe. They're hardly covered."
In the same way, I act like a fool.
Do you take cover with defensiveness, escape and busyness to escape the danger of reality?
Are you afraid to deal with mounting problems and the excruciating weight of your own emotions?
Do you figure Jesus won't be able to handle the likes of you?
It's embarrassing, ugly even, to admit, but I cover. I grab a leaf and pretend it will hide the ugliness of my nakedness. Yet, what didn't work for Eve, still doesn't work for me.
"If I can't see my problems, my problems can't see me..."
"If I pretend it isn't there, maybe it will go away..."
"If I can fight back with strength, I won't be so weak..."
...these thoughts, leave me vulnerable, exposed and aimless - running like a rabid dog in hunt of life.
Even worse, my tricks go bust, because no one is tricked. My family sees my limbs flailing about. My God sees everything. And, my insides see a hole too deep to climb out from.
The tension mounts, my heart asks:
How can I deal with my feelings without fleeing?
An answer settles: What pain we give God an opportunity to see, he'll free.
Because God is a God of clear vision...
From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all...(Ps. 33:13-14)
who considers everything they do.... (Ps. 33:13-14)
And He sees deliverance and delivers deliverance to those who desperately hope in him.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine. ( Ps. 33:18-19)
His tender mercy wants to approach us (Lu. 1:78). It doesn't look like a hand raised. It doesn't squint with eyes furrowed. It doesn't pontificate with a red face. No. It is a cupped hand that holds you tenderly, as if you were a shell about to break into his glory.
Unfailing love wants to heal you. He wants to heal me too.
Will we let Deliverer deliver us from fear to faith?
We don't need to hide from tender mercy. For it is, after all, what we most crave, isn't it?
So today, gather your courage, put it in a line, get it ready to launch, and pray with me: "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23), make them plain to my eyes, Lord. Help me be able to handle them. Show me the way to go. Teach me. I am open."
Then prepare your heart to be flooded by He who is - LOVE. He will lead your way through the muck and yuck. Through thick and thin. Through tears and healing.
He won't let you down, as you look up.
It may not always feel easy or safe, but, every time, his ways are (Mt. 11:3o).
So, let's no longer pull the comforter over our eyes, for the Spirit is comforter (Jo. 14:26) and his vision will see us through.