Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: Isaiah (page 1 of 3)

Because He is, was, does. [Glorious Fast – Part VIII]

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thine health shall spring forth speedily:
and thy righteousness shall go before thee;
and the glory of the LORD shall [go behind thee]
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer;
thou shalt cry and He shall say
‘Here I am!’

Then shall thy light rise in obscurity
and thy darkness be as the noon day:



And the LORD shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought.

And thou shalt be like a watered garden
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places…
and thou shalt be called
‘The repairer of the breach'”

Enough said. 
Light, and strength, and holiness. 
A front runner and a rear guard. 
A new name out of nowhere. 
A confident step. A satisfied soul.
An unfailing spring.
A rebuilder of dreams? 
God’s dreams?
How can that even be?

Surely there must be more. 
More than brokenness. More than choosing to go hungry.
More than gut wrenching chain-cutting.
More than mercy with power to undo.
More than following Him back to finish off my tormentors.
More than giving away my only slice of bread.
More than opening my arms to hold what’s dying,
         to see it raised up, or love it till it’s gone.
I mean, that’s a lot. But that can’t be all.
No, it isn’t all. There’s one more thing.
To realize that after all this, I’m still nothing, will always be nothing.
And I’m saved, and I get to help save, 
because He is, was, does, all this.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen?”

Yes. 
And I choose it too.

Love With Your Eyes [Glorious Fast – Part VII]

“…and that thou bring the poor that are [afflicted] to thy house?
When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, 
and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”


There are times, many times, when answers are not enough.
When the most eloquently chosen words are still a mockery…

Because what are words when I am dying of leprosy, and you are not?
What are words when I am naked, and you are warmly clothed?
What are words when we could have been siblings, when our fates could have been reversed, but you turn away because you’d rather not see my open sores?

I’ll tell you exactly what words are then. Even, at times, the well meaning ones…

Shame. Shame and mockery…

Ok, whatever. So I won’t talk.
Oh, but what is silence!?

–  –  –  –  –

Many feel as though they don’t have the words anyway.
I’m here to go on record saying that that is no limitation.
You can still “bring,” you can still “cover…”

You can still open your arms and wrap them around the neck of a dying, reeking, sick child the Highest, and hold them to your heart, unguarded.
You can look steady and strong into the eyes of the naked and afraid, and prove to them that love can see past their lack.

Oh, and you might get the stench of death all over you.
But you might also release a soul from the grip of shame.

Dirty work? You might call it that. I don’t.
You know Jesus touched the leprous skin to make it whole.

Oh, love with your hands, your arms, your eyes…
And if your hands get covered in grime, no matter.

Have you ever, have you ever watched darkened eyes light up?



If You Have a Crumb [Glorious Fast – Part VI]

“…Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry…”

– – – –


Arms open wide, I try to embrace them all.
Canis Major, Aries, Lepus, Orion, Columba…
All in their undimmed glory against the blackness.
And Venus and Jupiter, brightest of all.

Head tipped back, I spin; take it in.
Try to grip infinity while the earth grips me, twirls me through the universe like a daddy does his child.

And it’s just me. Me and my dog.
On a 36 degree morning. At 8,000 feet.

I break into a smile.

And I whisper to myself; to Him–

No sooner has a child of the Highest yielded to transforming grace, than he is made an ambassador among men.*

No sooner!

– – – –


“But I have nothing.”

If you have a crumb of bread, you have enough.

It doesn’t say you must be a wholesale broker of baked goods.
Nor does it say that those goods must be the finest pastries.
Nor does it say that you’ll need a flawless record of lifelong fidelity to be trusted with the job…

Because no sooner has a child of the Highest yielded to transforming grace, than he is made an ambassador among men.

What it does say, is that this bread, this simple fare passed down to sustain life–

It’s not just bread you picked up somewhere for general distribution.
This was yours.
Your next meal.

“…Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry…”

Beautiful is this truth. A terrible beautiful.

If you have a crumb of bread to eat, (and most people do) you have enough to give away.
And if you would see men free, and full, and overflowing,
you must.

– – – –

At hill’s top I turn, greet the dawn.
Embrace the empty expanse with my whole heart.
This is fullness.


*See page 2.1 of Mount of Blessings…

Chained by Fear [Glorious Fast – Part IV]

…and to let the oppressed to free…

There is nothing in the world to fear, but fear itself.
–words to a trusted friend those.

Fear substantiates the false claims of every captor.

Because when I fail, this jail I find myself in is horrible…
But even more horrible is the fear.

Fear keeps thousands in prison, when the door is wide open.
Because worse than jail itself is fearing “how God will treat me” when I get out

But to say that God is anything like fear describes is as wrong as calling the devil a savior.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The truth is, God loves.
only. loves.

But the fearing can scarcely be blamed for disbelieving that at times…

We’ve taught them to.

Yes. You and me.
We teach the weak to fear.
By our actions. When we’re supposed to be representing Jesus Himself…

And that keeps them in prison even when the doors are open.

“…and to let the oppressed to free…”

Not just by getting the door open.
By helping them believe they’ll always find open arms on the other side of the threshold.

Always.


Trophies of His Mercy [Glorious Fast – Part III]

“…to undo the heavy burdens…”

Undo.
I love that word.

I love that word.

Schoolmaster holds up a bony finger and rants of paradises lost. Of opportunities wasted. Of moments, talents, thrown to the wind. Or worse.
Of the train of mistakes so long it takes an army of engines to pull them.
And that army of engines is me.
(And so, we get nowhere.)

Of the crushing weight of another failure.
Another moment I regret the second it is gone.
Of the shame that no one can understand because they know nothing of its source…

Schoolmaster’s voice shrieks this madness,
this madness that is real,
and I cover. cower. cry.

And then in the midst of this shower of burning brimstone a hand is raised.
And teacher’s tirade ceases on a goldfish-gulp of air, for sheer shock that someone might want to speak…
And the voice is quiet, but it is as solid as a rock.

“Is there no way to undo?”

“Un-DO?!”

–  –  –  –  –

Grace.
I love that word too…

And it does undo.
The Hebrew word means more than just to untie one’s shoelaces.

It means to utterly confound, baffle, unravel…

I know.
I know, in the present-progressive.
Because I pace too, lion-like. Fists doubled up. Star-studded blackness outside french doors to bookshelf, and back.
And I dry my eyes, drop exhausted. Only to cry some more.
And I whisper–

“He restoreth my soul… He restoreth my soul…”

I have heard it said that “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”*

I believe it.
Yes, there is a way to undo.

Oh, but schoolmaster shrieks again that the scars will always remain.

Yes. And even scars are trophies of His mercy–
A scar is infinitely better than an eternally open wound.

Thank you Jesus.

–  –  –  –  –

And so the soldier gets up from his face forgiven. Again.
Pure. again.

But only as he remembers what he himself has learned on his face will he be qualified to help undo burdens himself.

This is why we must never forget…

Be thou merciful. 

*Richard Sibbes

Chosen Hunger [Glorious Fast – Part I]

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen?”

I know what it is to be hungry.

A little bit.
You know, where every sensation is heightened, (stub your toe and see.) and you carry with you an ache that won’t. go. away…
Hunger is both a gift, and a tragedy.
And normally, we go to great lengths to avoid it…
But to choose to be hungry… 
We call that fasting. 
To choose to carry the ache everywhere
To embrace the heightened sensitivity to seemingly unrelated woe,
Could this be what it means to have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings?
And could it be that personal vulnerability, and brokenness, and weakness born of raw hunger are prerequisite to being a channel for life and liberty?
Could it be?

Aim Higher

Seems like these days, to be a “Christian” is to try resist temptation (most of the time),

to try to figure out how to be the same while being different,
and to make pilgrimage plans based on the weather report.
I’ve had enough of that.

So I aim to reclaim the name Christian. 
To reclaim a life of perpetual resistance, and perfect obedience.
To realize that to make a mark one must be different… 
And instead of waiting for fair weather, to run into darkness. 
Because that’s where shining makes a difference.
And because that’s what Christians do.

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 
And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land…” (Is 32:1,2 Emphasis added)

Above the timber line: looking down from Arizona’s tallest peak.

None Stronger.


Isaiah 47-52
Gone for 5 days, home for fleeting moments, gone for 12 days. 
We’ll see if I have internet this time…
I have a lot to be thankful for. The last 5 days were spent in the Gila wilderness with my family, 10 miles beyond nowhere. I’ll upload more photos sometime… 
Every moment was loaded… But especially memorable were the silent times accented by Isaiah, and Christ’s Object Lessons. If I didn’t have to get some sleep before rolling out of here for my early flight tomorrow, I’d write more… But I just have time for one of my very favorite lines– 

“The Lord hath made bare His holy arm…”

As if to prove to all the world that there is none stronger. 
Like, none. End of discussion.
  

Another little secret

Isaiah 45-46
Before the guy even knew God’s name, he had a promise. God was to anoint him, and then go before him knocking down stone walls, breaking iron gates, and setting the kings of the earth on their faces… And this guy was a heathen!
He had a little secret though… God had his right hand, and he had God’s. (45:1)
How much more shall we have power over our enemies when we choose above all to place and leave our hand in God’s… (46:3-4)
Oh, why do we ever do otherwise?

Ashes

Isaiah 44
Yes, they’re what we’re made of. But our sights should be so much higher…
Instead, amongst the ashes of our human solutions come to naught we still search for direction, seemingly unconscious of the light above and before us. Like the poor man of Isaiah 44:46, we chop down a tree, start a little fire, cook a bit of lunch, and say: “Aha, I am warm…” Yes, for just this one moment… 
Don’t get me wrong, we must turn to ashes… But then what?
When it was all over he scraped up the residue and made a god. We make plans, set standards, and formulate our norms… And then we wonder why we’re still not satisfied. 
How can we be?
Oh Jesus, teach us to look only to You… 
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