Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: God (page 1 of 6)

This Much

Sometimes it’s the things I’ve known longest, the things most taken for granted, that break me widest open…

Like there, opening arms as if to a long-lost friend, pausing with abandon-joy to savor the song that is the sea– the crashing sound of surf, the salt on the breeze, the endless blue.

His words come out of nowhere, His tone utterly casual. But His eyes twinkle.

So, you know how much I love you?

No, how much?

This much.

Standing on the edge of this expanse as endless the circumference of a circle, my heart gives way, before a truth I already know.
He loves me, this much.

And the salt in my eyes then doesn’t come from the sea.
Or does it?

Melt Me

This. Just this…

That the truth might flourish, that healing streams might flow.
That spring might find blankets of flowers, where once were blankets of snow.

That a trillion crystal prisms might surrender winter dreams
To become the drops of water that make up the lakes and streams…

That I might be less.
That I might be nothing.

That the purposes of Grace would flourish, if need be, at my expense.

Melt me.

Empty Schemes

An exercise in futility.
The blueprints for human empires, built on the strength of the flesh.
God laughs, in fact. That’s what the Psalmist says. Because He of all People knows how futile it is for creation to lay designs apart from the Creator.

Again the same two-day-old question haunts me though– “…The people imagine vain things.” (Psalm 2)

Who are the people?

Empty Schemes.
My plans, without God.

But “Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as your possession.” Psalm 2:8, (Amplified)

Ten Years and What Matters

Something stirs and I turn left at the end of the paved pathway flanked by lawn in winter colors. A left that takes me right away from my accustomed quiet corner. Away, but towards something strangely and warmly familiar…

I think I might find it… Through wispy grass and a forest that’s since been thinned.
True as the sunrise, there it is. The top stones have tumbled down the hill a way, but the foundation is still here. It only takes a moment, and a ten-year old altar has been restored.

Ten years.

Ten years ago I encountered God for myself on this hillside as a boy, and we struck up a friendship that has become the reason I breathe.

Much-Afraid gathered homely little stones.
I just build the altars.
At every page turn, I’ve turned, built another.

I stand and look, thoughts afar. Reaching back for what sort of prayers I prayed here, who my friends were when last I knelt here, what my goals were when I left here to build new…
And I remember. I remember the next…

I stop to count.
Seven altars. Ten years.
I’ll find them all today.

There’s something priceless about the remembering. The whole trek will take me an hour and a half. To all the places witness to the forever moments in my experience. The hallowed ground where God was always waiting to keep an appointment, where I trembled and triumphed, and learned to trust Him absolutely.

I wander and emotions sometimes flood, but after I’ve been up and over, down the draw and past ground I haven’t covered in a decade, one question throbs–

Not whether or not I found my dreams.

I want to know whether or not I’ve fulfilled His.

Take it from me, 10 years later.
This is all that matters. 

Everything is Nothing

From Philippians 3–

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…”

Until everything else is nothing, Christ is not everything.

All Is Enough [in Ninety-Six Words.]

Out of the blackness of night, and the wonder of the morning, this thought–
All of human fullness is emptiness. Still, we have the audacity of inviting God in, to inhabit some corner. Or even three corners.
The Holy God is far too great, far too deep, far too beautiful to fit in the corner.
Holy God looms too large to fit in all eight corners of three-dimensional infinity
But then this miracle. When suddenly no space in my small heart is reserved unto myself; reserved for my use…
It is enough. 
All becomes enough.

Notification Center, and the 5 Questions [Do I Love Jesus More?]

I figure my phone deserves to rest at night. So, unless I’m “on call” for someone, it slips into airplane mode at or around 2100.

Unremarkable practice.
Albeit, the implications of this simple habit have recently opened my eyes to a stubborn and surprising reality, and caused me to be confronted with this question I’m now passing along.

– – –

There are a good many factors that go into making a day great. And also a fair few that can ruin a good start. I’ve found one of them. It’s those first 60 seconds after the alarm sings…

I reach for my phone; sigh all content. Blink, blink, blink away the last of sleep. (I was only half sleeping.) A swipe of the phone sweeps Waves into memory, until tomorrow this time. Another swipe and the little machine reaches out to the invisible, to start downloading the day.

Do I?

If I’m brave, my feet are on the floor before it starts to buzz. Notification Center all alight. I have friends on every inhabited continent, so in my world it’s always day somewhere. Maybe they liked my last photo on Instagram?

That right there is where it starts. I can predict with almost unerring accuracy the sense and sensitivity at my disposal in the day to follow. By who I check in with first.

It’s such a little thing. 
Yes. But these little things are pledges of allegiance, of which we’re sometimes quite unaware.

And anyway, don’t knock little things.
(Bullets are little things.)

– – –

The 5 Questions. (Time for a self-test.)

1. At the start of the day, which comes first: Facebook Notifications, or an hour of Scripture? 

2. At the breakfast table, does the prayer come from a heart actually full of gratitude, or does it sound suspiciously like yesterday’s?  

3. At school, which drives harder: Desire for grades, or desire for God? 

4. At home, which seems sweeter: An hour of entertainment, or an hour of intercession?  

5. In bed, which lingers longer: The frolic of the day, or thoughts of heaven?

– – –

I’ve learned a day is worth too much to lose, by reefing through notifications before I’ve read my Bible. And not because my notifications are my enemy. Because at the end of the day, my priorities are making a statement to myself. 

So, I won’t anymore. And I’ve found, I no longer care to. I’d rather meet God first, declare to Him and to myself that in Him is my greatest pleasure; would rather let the whole world wait, make notifications come and stand in a line at attention for an hour, while I take my time.

Oh, and it’s not that I don’t care. If you sent me a text at 0200 this morning, I can’t wait to read it.

I still love Jesus more.

Australia in Retrospect [This is My Confidence]

The highest heights are often to be found in the least expected places…
Least expected, that is, to a world quantifying success with finite formulas.

I’ve been to the heights. And not standing on a stage before thousands. Nor on some glittering crest of conquest. (As high as those honors are…)

One thing is always the same. I’m always shorter on the highest heights… By the distance of heel to knee.

PC: James Tregenza doanddare.org

This time, it was on a dusty bit of ground surrounded by benches, throbbing hearts, deep attention.
I have never climbed higher. Never seen the world wider than I saw it then. Never looked smaller in my own eyes. Never felt closer to Heaven.

No surprise.

To those who have found eyes for higher glory, though the beauty of the high places always surpasses our dreams, it is never entirely unexpected…

“As long as I live, I will remember his words– 

‘…Mostly, I’ve met God properly.’

That broke me wide open As though standing on holiest ground, I was filled with a smallness; a trembling… How is it that I am even allowed to touch what is this holy?“*

Though every memory fades at least a bit eventually, my wonder will never cease.
Nor will love for new friends with a beautiful foreign accent.
Nor will firm faith that we’ll meet again, if not on this round earth, then inside pearly gates.

“Hey– remember when…?”

Yes, I remember.

morning stars: checkout | PC: Jasmine Tregenza

Before it was over I had the opportunity to try to crunch the essence of 40 pages of worship notes and days and days of prayer and pondering onto 5 minutes of film. 

This is my confidence.

morning and miracle bend
later: snowy mountain living
friends in Victoria

*journal entry, January 20, 2014

Sympathy with Humanity

I wasn’t complaining. Though it sounds a bit like it now…
On a peninsula of rock jutting like a castle between a gorge and a vale I stood, breathless from the scramble. Hands in my pockets and with eager step, if heavy heart.

Perhaps a few will understand when I say I carry on my heart at any given time a thousand reasons to laugh, and a thousand reasons to weep. Most all of them with first and last names.
Such is the cost of loving humanity, I suppose.

Anyway, this post isn’t about me.

I’d just gained the crest, just finished a brief review comparing the power at my disposal with my far-too-often dismal performance, just realized afresh how deep mercy reaches, and

It’s not fair, You know? I deserve the lot of the criminal, but here I stand in converse with The Infinite, while people I love slowly die in the clutches of fear….

Can you see why happiness means nothing to me when it’s mine alone?

…So, it’s all or nothing.

Either I am to be completely at Your disposal to help the weak, comfort the wounded, and actually lift, and heal, and effect a lasting change, or…

Or, I want out right. now. 

Because it hurts too much to be in sympathy with humanity.

Ever have you been in that place or time when suddenly every tree in the wood seemed to drop its jaw and gape? and you wonder:

what did I do. What did I just say?

The only answer is this electric silence.

I glance one way and the other. Wait.

He never says. But suddenly it’s as if every snowflake has recovered from shock and found a voice.

He would know.

He would know just exactly how much it hurts to be in sympathy with humanity. And He chose it, over the alternative, not because there was no alternative. For Him, there’s no “out.”

For Him, there’s no wanting out.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”  Hebrews 4:15 

Forty-Four Words

If God ever fails to do something good, be sure it is for one of two reasons.

One, He is working on something better.
Or two, His arm is being restrained by my failure to intercede.

Let me never be guilty of the latter.

Older posts