Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: forgotten

The Burning

“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: 
He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. 
Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, 
because He was wroth [with my enemies].
There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured:
coals were kindled by it.

The burning. The passionate love of Infinity, at once warming and burning, comforting and causing a terrible trembling…

And coals are kindled by it.

Every bit of warmth we possess, every bit of light, we owe to that wonderful, terrible fire.
Every ounce of usefulness, every drop of passion, any love for souls, any hatred for chains, any power to do anything about them… We owe it all to the burning.

And to be a coal– To glow red, rolled in ashes, this is a high honor.
The harder the wind blows, the hotter we glow.
Till we’re utterly consumed.

Can any other life compare?

Even if it Leaves a Scar

“It is broken hearts that long for Home, 
and change the world.”

That’s why.
That’s why though I have thousands of beautiful photos of beautiful friends, my phone shows me this one every time I swipe to unlock it.

Image: ©New York Times

You reel. You should.

– – – – –

“That would make me sick every time I saw it.”
Words of a trusted friend, those.

“It does make me sick.”
That’s why it’s there.

. . .

“I don’t understand…
Why her and not me?
Why am I not a starving child in Africa?
Why was I born into my family here in the US?”

“I know… I don’t know. 
That’s why it breaks me.”

There are two kinds of people in the world:
Those who have been given the gift of suffering,*
And those gifted with the responsibility to do something about it.

I’m asking God to burn the needs of His children on my heart… 
Even if it leaves a scar. 
His hands are scarred, after all.

*Suffering: the gift of being able to 
uniquely identify with a heart-broken God.

“Don’t Be Ashamed of My Chains…”

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I suddenly hear in his words an agony of earnestness that makes my heart stop. I breathe. Heave breathe; roll onto my side to get the weight off my chest. But it will not leave…

– – –
– – –

An old man, bent and nearly blind* is pressed down the corridor.
The step that once was firm and free is encumbered by shackles, the joints beg for mercy from the damp cold. This man is innocent. One look at his face is all it takes to prove it. But he is going to die.

You are in Rome. And this, is Nero’s dungeon.

Ruthless hands. Ruthless hearts.

The steps of the guards fade into silence and in my mind I am there.
There to see the great man grope about his cell; call out for his companion.
He calls for parchment, but he can’t see to write. Faithful Dr. Luke will write for him, this last will and testament. His hands tremble, his voice trembles, but this heart is strong.
Stronger than the Roman Empire.

It is Nero’s heart that trembles upstairs. (AA chap 48, “Paul Before Nero”)

But his frame is tired. And with the knowledge that he has not long to live, highest priorities becomes only priorities.
He wants to see his boy.

I do not know how the good doctor took the dictation without soaking the parchment with tears.
I couldn’t have.

I read the letter now, this last letter ever written by the Apostle to the Gentiles, this last will to the world, this letter to his boy, and I want to weep.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Tim 4:7)

Indeed you have, sir. Indeed you have.

I hear his chains rattle. And I hear a cry that is half audacious challenge, half daddy’s heart.
I can almost see the hand upraised, silhouette of shackles against cold stone. And my heart stops…

Don’t be ashamed, my boy.
Oh, don’t be ashamed of my chains

And don’t be ashamed of the Gospel. **

Luke writes. I read.

My heart leaps, as Timothy’s must have.
Timothy, who most likely did not make it back to Rome in time…

I hug my pillow. Pray

Oh my Father
let me never be ashamed.

*Many scholars believe the “thorn” of II Cor 12:7 was in fact near blindness…
**See II Timothy 1:8


For as long as I can remember, I’ve prayed a prayer something like this:

“Oh, cover me with the shadow of Your wings… I want my self to be hidden. I want people to see You in me…”
A worthy prayer, it seems… Indeed, I still pray it. But lately I’ve been thinking, and I’ve changed the wording just a little bit…
I want nothing more than to come to the end of my day (every day), and have the assurance that someone, somewhere, loves Jesus more because I lived that day. When I have that assurance, no day is too dark to be worth living…
But there’s only one way to accomplish that. Ask for His eyes, His heart, His love, His life…
Be His ambassador. Don’t be afraid of sacrifice. Forget yourself…
Ahh! but see, there it is! Forget… Wouldn’t you rather be a Christian who forgets himself completely in the presence of his God, rather than one who walks through life toting self all around town in a suitcase, hidden all nicely, but available in case of dire extremity? I sure would…
That’s why I changed my prayer–
“Cover me with the shadow of Your wings… I want my self to be forgotten… “