We all want happy endings.
But “happily ever after” doesn’t happen
without the shattered hopes and dreams,
broken hearts and painful beginnings and middles.
What we owe to ourselves and our children
is to learn how to forge through sadness,
plow through sorrow
in order to fertilize and grow beauty,
right there in the middle of ugly.
If we aren’t the farmer,
the guardian of beauty,
Beloved and blessed
The bridge of grace will bear your weight… ~Charles Spurgeon
All creatures are doing their best to help God in His birth of Himself.
Enough talk for the night. He is laboring in me;
I need to be silent for a while,
worlds are forming in my heart. ~Meister Eckhartfrom “Expands His Being”
What God would birth Himself into something as dark as this world?
Into this place of meanness, tribal conflicts and hatred?
This God would.
He labors in our dark hearts for good reason, becoming a bridge strong enough to bear us into the light and heal the cracks and fissures within. We are unformed and unready to meet Him, clinging as we do to our dark ways and thoughts, afraid to walk the plank as our weight of sin is so heavy, our need so great.
We are silenced as He prepares us, as He prepares Himself for birth within us. The labor pains are His, not ours; we become awed witnesses to His first and last breath when He makes all things, including us, new again, bearing us up, no matter how heavy the burden we bring to Him.
The world is reborn — even where dark reigned before, even where it is bleakest, even where we were sure we would break the bridge we tread. The broken heart is healed and sealed by grace for which no weight is too great.
A thing of beauty outside
harbors danger and threat inside.
I can’t touch this tissue paper football nest
with its beating buzzing hornet hearts
yet the dwellers inside allow me
to admire their craftsmanship.In a few short weeks, as they sleep,
the north winds will tear it free from its tight hold,
bear it aloft in its lightness of being,
and it will fall, crushed, broken,
its secret heart revealed
and all that stings will be let go.
To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness , is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness- especially in the wilderness – you shall love him. ~Frederick Buechner
The wilderness can be a distant peak far removed from anything or anyone. The wilderness can also be found in an isolated corner of the human heart kept far away from anything and anyone. From my window on a clear day, I am fortunate to see the first if the cloud cover moves away. From my perch on a round stool at work, I am sometimes given access to the other many times every day.
There are times in one’s life when loving God as commanded seems impossible. We are too broken, too frightened, too wary to trust God with our love and devotion. Recognizing a diagnosis of wilderness of the heart is straight forward: despair, discouragement, disappointment, lack of gratitude, lack of hope. The treatment is to tame the wilderness with a covenantal obedience that reaches so deep there is no corner left untouched. We must do as we are asked, even when it seems impossible, when it hurts, and when it means we may become even more profoundly isolated.
To be asked to love God is the invitation we were created for. To be loved by Him is our rescue from the wilderness of the most distant peak, as well as from the most bitter and broken heart that beats within.
There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. ~ Blaise Pascal
Everyone is created with a hole in their heart that has no murmur, doesn’t show up on scans or xrays nor is it visible in surgery. Yet we feel it, absolutely know it is there, and are constantly reminded of being incomplete. Billions of dollars and millions of hours are spent trying to fill that empty spot in every imaginable and unimaginable way. Nothing we try fills it wholly. Nothing we find fits it perfectly. Nothing on earth can ever be sufficient.
We are born wanting, yearning and searching; we exist hungry, thirsty and needy.
Created with a hankering heart for God, we discover only He fits, fills and is sufficient. Only a beating heart like ours can know our hollow heart’s emptiness. His bleeding stops us from hemorrhaging all we have in futile pursuits.
The mystery if the vacuum is this:
how our desperation resolves
and misery comforted
by being made complete and whole
through His woundedness.
How is it possible that
through His pierced limbs and broken heart,
we are made holy,
our emptiness filled forever.