Thursday, April 11, 2013

What You Can Do When You Can't Do Anything


He must be the father of lies, because when that serpent enticed Eve to eat, he said her eyes would be opened.
 
So why can we see no farther than my three year old on a walk through the park?
 

 

 
Why is swimming in sin described as being covered by darkness?
 
We hear about a blind man leading another blind man.
 
And they both fall into the pit.
 
Is it just me or does it seem like this world is just one big heap of blind men leading each other into pits, and dragging every sorry soul down with them?

 
And we talk to them about finding Jesus. Look at my daughter. Who is she finding? If not for her mother, she would have bit it hard and her face would have found nothing but concrete lickety-split.
 
Find Jesus? Friend, most people can't find their way out of their own circumstances, let alone past them to search for a Messiah they aren't even sure exists. Uh-uh. I've seen people looking. Looking hard. But to be honest, it's only when they are down in a pit so utterly devoid of light that they find Him.
 
Because He found them first.
 
Maybe it isn't that hard for everyone. Maybe it's just me and a select few that have had to grope in the darkness. Maybe there are those people, those women, who one day said, "Ready or not, here I come," and found the Lord right where they were. Maybe.
 
But the scene I'm picturing is more like one in those prison movies. Like The Shawshank Redemption. Being thrown into the "hole." 
 
Steep in that a second. Solitary confinement. It's the particularly egregious sins that land you there. My most flagrant sins had me there. A solitary soul confined to an impenetrable cell of sin.
 
And then the door swings open and the light shines in.
 
And you're either facing the merciless warden from Shawshank who tells you that there is no grace for you. You are a prisoner for life. (Yes, that message does come out of the mouths of those who claim to represent the Light.)
 
Or, you simply face the Light. The blinding light that opens your eyes on a road that would otherwise lead to your utter destruction. The illuminating light that reveals that you never really were solitary in your confinement because, you see, Christ was there with you. 
 
You were never really alone.
 
You still aren't.
 
Some would say that's well and good, but what about those stumbling beggars outside our doors leading parades into pits and leaving others to grieve over their fallen loved ones?
 
And what if I, this sinner-saint, am not really shielding my eyes from the sun, but from the Son?
 
And they are dragging me down too.
 
And I'm tired of fighting.
 
Then take these words. Take this courage. Do not be afraid to open your eyes and stare directly at the Son as you read His lips:
 
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.
Psalm 146:7b-9
 
The Lord. Anyone else think we should leave the worrying to Him? Anyone else think it's time to lay down our weapons, and lay down our palms on the road to honor the King of the universe?
 
Anyone else think it's time to lay it all down?
 
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.
 
In our passivity- Christ's activity. Who needs the strength of God unless they are weak in themselves?
 
Hope is good only for those who know that all other signs point to hopeless.
 
It's the sick that need a doctor.

 
For those of us who have done the stumbling, felt the ache- to watch those who are where we have been is excruciating. We can't remove the hand they use to cover their eyes. Only the Spirit can lift that veil. If you think that is your job, you will rob yourself of that relationship, and many nights' sleep.
 
If you think that is your job, hear the words of Beth Moore: Fire yourself.
 
But here is what we can do: we can take their other hand. The one that isn't fighting the Son, if there is one. And we can whisper the Son's light onto and into their lives so that, despite their dark vision, they can't help but feel His warmth kiss their cheek.
 
Paul described this Christian life of testimony in tribulation to the Thessalonians:
 
Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1Thessalonians 5:16-18
 
That courageous, transparent faith in the midst of the dark nights of our days-
that is a witness that cannot be ignored.