Dash for the Throne

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“Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”

– Hebrews 4:15, Amplified Bible –

I am an Esther in a dash for the throne.

On her heart pressed life-and-death urgency, for thousands of her own.

On mine, the desperation to just get to the King.

She, forbidden to enter, still went.

I, invited–even bidden–hold back.

Her king–austere, vicious, insanely cruel–yet touched, moved by love and her pleading beauty.

And mine?

My King, of unlistable virtues, of perfectly-melded mercy and justice, so far removed from Esther’s lord that His love seems–almost equally yet oppositely–foolishly mad to spectators blinded by their own cataracts of insanity.

When I close my eyes and finally burst into the court–sometimes heedlessly, sometimes afraid to even lift my eyes from the floor–He is there, at the throne.

From the left of Him stirs the appearance of light. Somehow horrifyingly beautiful, yet teeming with hate. This shadow of a former light accuses me, with twistings of holy speech and quotations from the King’s own words.

I pant, hardly in the door before this attorney begins to present his case.

Charges fly.

A closer glance at my antagonist is like staring past a pond’s sheen into the silt beneath its water-film. This adversary’s beauty-cloak covers withered limbs and grotesque features. Bones sucked dry by a self-glorification, only glory’s fading shadow lingering after a failed, ancient coup for the King’s own throne.

But, for a liar, his charges are startlingly true. He trumpets–with a swagger–my secret deeds. Deeds, so nakedly abhorrent, that their vocalization makes me cover my flaming face in horror and guilt.

The greatest Liar does not even need a lie to bring me down.

The chief of false witnesses can rouse up a chorus of griefs in my accusation–and does not even need a false charge because of the abundance of true ones ready to rail against me.

Even from the prince of perjurers, Truth itself condemns me and I am undone.

The illusion of the adversary’s light and beauty again flickers–like a half-smothered candle–with a shaking of his finger in my direction. Sneering over his shoulder, he makes an appeal to the King. “Your own nature will not look over this sin. You cannot let this reprobate go free.”

But the King doesn’t seem to be listening. He stands, looking across the chamber as I shiver in my self-inflicted misery.

“Hello?” The accuser waves his hand to attract the Monarch’s notice. “Didn’t you hear what I said? Aren’t you paying attention?”

The King’s eyes turn from me. Sternness tinges the King’s gaze as he looks at the figure dwarfed beside him. “Do you know what she’s wearing?”

The swagger sort of drips off of the attorney. “Uh…” His eyes dart at me and his face drains bloodless. “Ah…” The court echoes with his frantic scurry for the exit.

Glory shines from the King’s smile then. He holds out his hand to me. “You’re wearing the Prince’s robe, I see.”

I look down and find my tattered-kneed jeans and mud-stained shirt replaced by a dress so white my eyes feel washed just by seeing it.

“I…” I finger the hem, not believing I’d been able to forget. “Yes, yes I am.”

His hand feels at once firm and ineffably tender on my shoulder. “Welcome, my child.”

I am an Esther, touching the scepter, finding favor in the eyes of her King.

It took the first Esther months of extravagant perfumes and oil treatments to be considered pure and lovely enough to step into the room of royalty.

For me, it took a white dress. One brilliantly white gift of a dress, that I had forgotten I was wearing.

One dress, and I was throne-ready. Ready for a dash that was no longer a thoughtless rush or a frantic throwing-open of the doors to get the frightening thing over with. Instead, I was covered in Princely clothes and treated as an heiress of the King.

“The dress,” I turn and see the Prince who had given it to me all those years ago. “I remember. Thank you.”

His extended hand, stabbed-through by my deeds, reminds me of the rags and filth He put on in order to put this white cloth on me.

He smiles and points at the streak of black lightning long fled from His presence. “Who can separate you from me, beloved one?”

“No one,” I whisper.

And so it is, that prayer becomes so much more than an obligatory whisper while half-asleep. So much greater than mere conversation to a celestial being or a hurried wish list recitation.

I, before my King, have a greater hope than Esther when I raise my face.

As long as my King rules, the white dress I so often forget gives me entrance to sit at His feet.

That is saying a lot, since His reign will always be.

The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of omnipotent love.

– Andrew Murray –

Unsurpassed

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Trying to figure out God is like trying to catch a fish in the Pacific Ocean with an inch of dental floss

– Matt Chandler –

I’m staggered by this.

That God is the Center, the only One worthy of glory.

And for Him to seek this glory is not arrogant–because what is arrogance but viewing yourself as higher than you are? That’s not a problem for God–there isn’t anyone higher!

What glorious kingliness, to be perfectly Love, Light, Truth, Beauty, Justice, Power!

Nothing surpasses Him.

“Lord, I come before You
To honor and adore You,
For who You are and all that You have done.
Lord, I am not worthy,
My heart is dark and dirty.
Still somehow You bid for me to come.

So clothe me in humility,
Remind me, that I come before a King,

And there is nothing,
There is nothing,
More precious, more worthy.
May I gaze deeper,
May I stand longer,
May I press onward to know You, Lord.”

– “There Is Nothing,” by Laura Story –

So then, no wonder He cannot give this glory away.

“I am the Lord; that is my name;
 I don’t hand out my glory to others
or my praise to idols.”

– Isaiah 42:8, CEB, emphasis mine –

One distant speck of a planet, less than a fleck of dust in a galaxy, a breath, next to nothing in the midst of a horde of starry swirls, monstrous asteroids, and revolving planets.

And in this miniscule dot of a planet, there are tiny fists that dare shake at the cosmos.

People. A filmy shudder of vapor, a breath of passing wind. Yet we humans somehow dare to lift our chins in defiance. Somehow, we dare to declare ourselves as gods, as the deciding force of the universe.

“You have always been because what it is that you are is God, or Divine Intelligence, but God takes on individual forms, droplets, reducing its power to small particles of individual consciousness.”

– Gary Zukav –

God in heaven laughs.

How could He not?

The sheer absurdity of His created creatures, who to Him must be like the tiniest insects in strength, lifting our powerless fists in uprising.

And meanwhile, His power makes all things hold together. It is not possible–but what if God were to allow another to have His glory? Would not the very foundations of the universe crumble? Would not this fabric of existence unravel in an instant?

In the face of our pitiful, obstinate mutiny, how easy it would be for Him to lightly press down His finger and smudge away that microscopic creation from the page of His story.

Yet He doesn’t. Instead, He steps down and takes on the frame of one of these dust specks.

The God of galaxies, Lord of stars spangled like diamonds across heaven’s velvet. The Controller of planetary spins and brilliant fireball-suns and crashing tsunamis and quaking subterranean plates.

Be still, speechless, breathless at this:

This God came to us.

To us.

Does this crumble your ego? It should. What He chose to do should make us quake.

Because the Alpha, without beginning, was born out of a teenage womb into a pile of manured straw.

Because the Omega, endless One, died, bearing the brunt of the Father’s justice.

God in skin–raw, ripped, bloody skin.

Becoming a human, He used that moment to atone for the vileness of those He created.

With the same breathing-out that filled the lungs of the first man, the first to raise a fist against Him

With that breath, He cried out, having bared His pure heart to the dagger of His Father’s fury. He breathed out, one last exhalation.

A shout of cosmic victory. “It is finished!”

He warned that praiseless lips would make the rocks cry out. The stones and mountains did–shaking and roaring and cracking with the darkness that fell, vibrated to pieces by his cry of triumph.

God with us died for us, because of us. Right there, on a man-hewn plank of wood.

Who else was pure enough to be the sacrifice?

Who else was man enough to suffer with us and for us? To intimately know us?

Who else was God enough to overcome even death?

Because, this God is so beyond our strength that Death itself was no match for Him. He rose.

He rose!

I really can’t comprehend this.

I can’t grasp how high He is, how clean and glorious and marvelous He is in comparison to us. I don’t think my human eyes can hold that much light or fathom that depth of spectrum. My human heart can’t seem to grasp how much of His atoning pain was because of my rebellion. My ears can’t hear all of Love’s harmonies, though I hope the music will grow stronger as I journey. My mind can’t expand enough to allow God’s thoughts to enter.

I can only bow.

Mr. Chandler’s right. I feel strikingly like I’m holding an inch of dental floss.

Maybe less than an inch.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?”

– Psalm 8:3-4, NKJV, emphasis mine –

Thank you to Gale Titus and Public Domain Pictures for today’s spacescape!