I have heard and read about Christ’s blessings being found one beneath the other…by going lower. Here’s the thing, though, when I get lower, usually the first thing I see or have to wade through is the dirt…the mess…the ugly. If I get down on my belly to find something under my bed, what I usually see first are the mounds of dust clinging to everything. If I go outside and reach down to lift the bloom of a flower, I find just underneath it, in the wet soil – mud, weeds that need pulling. When God scrapes away the dark places of my heart, when He washes and cleans, and I think we’re getting somewhere…when I text my Dad that “today is much better than yesterday”…last night happens.
I am tired and I snap at the man who has a gift awaiting me, and instead of receiving the gift, I stomp at it…I stomp on his heart. Words come like fire from my tongue and the Arsonist is having his way in my heart. I can feel it…the black, the choking of billows of smoke, the heat that won’t quickly die down. How does such hatefulness dwell within and I even function outside of it for days? Do I not see how it taints and hinders and hurts every act of the hands? How does one wake after a night such as that?
But I did. I awoke slowly, as if not really believing I should. Doesn’t sin kill? How does one really live the next day when she’s so very aware of herself…her sin. I hug him…he hugs me tighter. I whisper words…seeking forgiveness…he freely gives. He always has; reminding me of the One I walked toward at 13 years old, quick and complete to forgive. How can grace and mercy and righteousness – clothes of the heavenlies – drape themselves across such a frame? How can a Father who cannot by His perfect nature be in the presence of such a mess as me, still choose to love? Why, as He looks around in His high and lofty dwelling place, surrounded by angels and seraphim whose one purpose in life – and they do it perfectly – is to praise and worship Him, why would He seek to look outside of that perfection and seek the imperfect? Why would His heart so burn for the lost sinner that He would sacrifice His Spotless Child just to have them by His side? Why?!
He is Love – He loves. He is Grace – He graces. He is Compassionate – he gives the second chance. He is Merciful – he extends it. He is Father – He fathers. He is Savior – He saves!
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
and now he’s my salvation…
I didn’t die. I lived!
And now I’m telling the world what God did.
God tested me, he pushed me hard,
but he didn’t hand me over to Death…
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!…
You’re my God, and I thank you.
O my God, I lift high your praise.
Thank God—he’s so good.
His love never quits!
PSALM 118 The Message (various)