Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Stop on the Way

I feel such a sense of eternity when I travel, as if the acceleration of plane or car would thrust me toward the heavens, the world whooshing by as the ages vanish into the past. When I arrive at my destination, I engage in activity with greater vigor, rest more contentedly in the quiet moments, sleep more soundly at night, rise in the morning with a stronger visceral sense of purpose than I can seem to achieve at home.

Perhaps I sense that my reason for existing lies beyond the mundane routine that drones on at home, perhaps I feel that any alteration in schedule or location brings me somehow closer to my Final Destination. But these are only pit stops along the way, and I know that if I stayed long enough to sink into the repetition of daily life, I would again feel the restlessness, the urge to creep toward the next stop on my route Home.

I used to chide myself for feeling such discontent with daily life. But shouldn't I feel restless? Shouldn't I feel antsy? I will not remain in this world very long. I'd best not make myself too comfortable.

Perhaps some day I will realize that eternity has already begun, and I need only be still to know it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Brick Laid

I believe a sufficient amount of time has passed since my last post here that I may write again without fear of appearing overzealous in maintaining a blog.
Much has happened (or so it feels), both within and without, in the last year and a half. Much of it I had once hoped to relate here. But now the telling seems a chore and I have forgotten much of what I might have said. Certainly I've learned many things, and my spirit blossomed into maturity, more than I probably realize. Chronicling it all, though, would likely be a waste of time, and enjoyable neither for writer nor reader.

So much ahead of me remains—more adventures; more friends, new and old; more lessons which I have learned and relearned and will learn again still. A vast expanse of unseen, undecided, untrodden, unspoiled possibilities lies before me, field and forest where none have set foot, and the compass has been laid in my hand, the mantle on my shoulders. The sun rises over the mountains, gleaming behind the peak, and what comes before is hidden in shadow... for now. But I see light, and that is enough. The future now seems not burdensome, but tantalizing.

I know the billowing sorrow will roll my way again, and the surf of grief break over my soul. I don't think they will leave me for long while I walk this earth. But haven't I a Rock to cling to? If the believer is expected to press on even without material comforts, is he not also to persevere when emotional prosperity is withheld? If I count all things to be loss in view of the knowledge of Him, isn't happiness numbered among them? The pleasant emotions may have been gain to me, but they are but rubbish compared to gaining Christ, to knowing the fellowship of His sufferings, to be conformed with His death that I may attain to the resurrection.

As He lives in us, so He suffers with us. If it is not really we who live, but He, are not our griefs and hardships also His? Is this what it means to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ—that Jesus, though He suffered tremendously, did not in thirty-three years encounter every affliction the human heart and body may face, and so lives through us to demonstrate that He can overcome all things?

Some days, every breath is a crucifixion in its own. The monotony of the mundane often wears on my spirits more harshly than acute affliction.

The days, however, are not purposeless. With each day we lay a new brick in our lives, and we must lay each diligently, lest the whole structure crumble. So often, the events that seem to us extravagant, exciting, glorious, are little more than molding and finials. And without the bricks, what would the trim be but a pile of lumber? It is the bricks, laid one after another in monotonous fashion, that provide form and meaning to the structure.

We may feel that we are biding our time until our lives really begin, but in truth our time of preparation is just as important as what we are preparing for. He who is faithful in a very small thing is faithful also in much. Our conduct in the mundane indicates how we will react when faced with greater trials later. Jesus laid down His life before He ever set foot on Calvary—how else could He have had the authority to command His disciples to take up their crosses daily? And His death would have been futile had He not first obeyed the Father in every seemingly insignificant detail.

For the one who dies for Christ must die a single death of the body. The one who lives for Christ dies a thousand deaths of the will.

We may feel we have little to offer up to the Almighty, but as the widow cast her mite into the treasury, so we must lay our small sacrifices before Him. The simple act of serving—or withholding—a cup of water is remembered on Judgment Day. The one who forfeits his own ambitions to cover the naked with his own cloak, or feed the hungry his own portion, or to visit the shut-in, hoists the cross upon his back in the manner of his Lord.

For it is not the sacrifice itself which He desires, but the compassion which leads to it. That compassion may not lead one upon a mountaintop to be seen and lauded by man for one's daring expedition, but into a sunless pit to rescue the souls out of it. And in that pit glows all the warmth of heaven, crowning with its light the head of him who humbles and denies himself to descend into its depths.

Yes, now the future appears bright and gleaming. I must remind myself that it is always so, regardless of what clouds may obscure it for now as they dampen the soil ahead with their mercies.

And I must remember, too, not to yearn impatiently for tomorrow, for today has enough blessing and opportunity of its own.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Way of the Cross Leads to the Cross

If I ask to be delivered from trial rather than for deliverance out of it, to the praise of His glory,
 if I forget that the way of the cross leads to the cross, and not to a bank of flowers, 
if I regulate my life on these lines, or even unconsciously my thinking, 
so that I am surprised when the way is rough, and think it strange, 
though the Word is 'think it not strange, count it all joy', 
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Amy Carmichael