This Place, Again

rain with imprint

“Ask rain from the Lord
    in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
    and he will give them showers of rain…”

– Zechariah 10:1 –

On some days, grace seems to hide.

Maybe it saw how I looked when I got out of bed and just ran.

But I do know better. Really, I do.

I know that when God seems distant, I am usually the one who did the running away.

Why can’t I just abide?

My thirst for my Lord ekes out in a halting, broken lilt on the pages of my journal…

        “As the moment settles into silence, I feel a wall that hides me from Your face. It’s not a conscious sin  or a rankling heart scattering the peace. But when I finally look up from a task that consumes me, I reach out and cannot find Your hand.

Where am I?

This place, I’m here again, when your nearness seems to melt away. Your presence hiding like the rain that I pant for, I thirst for. I cry out again. For when my heart starts drifting, Your presence starts lifting. And I’m left in my mess, kneel to cry out again. Where am I? Where am I?

Fallen to the ground, back to laying down the pieces of a life that I always seem to take back again. Some aching emptiness or a fire kindling deep in my heart. And I finally look up to the Love that consumes me. Amazing grace that draws when I drift far away.

Here am I.

This place, I’m here again, where your nearness never really goes away. Your presence quenching like the rain that I pant for, I thirst for. You fill me again. For though my heart keeps drifting, Your strength is forever lifting. And Your blood cleans my sins–I sing out again. Here am I! Here am I.”

You see, I’m learning that abiding isn’t some mystical presence or a mind emptied in meditation. Abiding is how we live. Abiding is the ONLY way we can live. The only way to bear fruit–Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4, NKJV).

So how do I abide today? How do I live with One Thing in mind, One Thing that is the only song of my soul? How do I fix my eyes on the goal and keep running for the rest of this wearing-out-earth life?

I can’t wrestle myself into submission. I can’t live pure enough, abide hard enough.

To live, abide, in my Jesus is both a striving and a resting all in one. Yes, I must be quiet, let his “Peace. Be still” settle soft into my soul. And yet I must discipline myself, bringing everything into captivity. Straining for the goal. Running, not as one who runs aimlessly. Fixing my eyes on Jesus.

All I can do, without mounting the hamster-wheel of fruitless striving again, is pray.

Cry out that my hunger will grow. Ask for strength to dive into Scripture, savoring each saving wave.

Plead for things I forget to pray–that the Holy Spirit will work powerfully in me and through me.

Praying one prayer from the Bible, and the soul’s sea calms. Wrestling still, yet at peace. This prayer?

Help, Lord.” David said it first in the Psalms. The great preacher Spurgeon reminded us of this prayer in his writings.

Can our Father forget us, who cares about each flower and bird He has formed? Would He shut his ears against this prayer, who knows our prayers before we even ask Him?

Can it be, that this place, again, becomes enough of a burden to send me back to the foot of Calvary, where even the weakest cry for help will never be turned away?

Amazing love! Can it be that the burden turns to blessing, the pouring-out turns to filling, the desolation becomes delight?

My weakness engulfed by the power of Almighty God.

This place, again, becomes Bethel.

The house of weakness…swallowed up in glory, becomes the House of God.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”

As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him…”

– Psalm 103:11-17, NKJV –

A beautiful photo from Atalie Bale Photography–Thanks so much, sweet Atalie!

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