27 Mar 2013

An old Word made new - when God's Word seem distant

I am doing a search through my Bible, a quick scan of verses and passages related to a subject I am examining It's a hunt for traces to line up a path of understanding. Along the way I come to an old friend, a verse I had read, re-read, cherished and remembered as a teen:

For the LORD is a sun and shield,
He bestows favor and honor;
No good thing does he withhold
From those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84v11)

I recall easily the force of conviction and utter joy at the discovery I'd this promise. How i step abroad with easy confidence that the world and all it holds lie wide open before me; mine to uncover and treasure, enjoy and enrich. How my future beamed bright with good stuff labeled with my name waiting to be dispatched at the right time. I did quiver a little at the blameless walk bit, but I hide behind a mighty Cross and knew I meant business and kept short accounts.

So each time the sun rises and I  felt the warmth or the sting of its tropical rays, I would remind myself God's power stands near and touches me enough without overpowering me. Each time things go awry, I entrust myself to One who will protect me like a shield so I am not completely defeated, but can arise again.

But now i feel the distance of twenty years and many episodes of disappointment, failure and heartache standing between me and these feelings, this word.

It is easy to fill up with questions and cynicism. They fill the air we breathe, and as redeemed fallen beings whose diet is to reach for the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the effortless bent is to seek to calm our fears with what answers we can find. Adult life entrenches this habit: we are proved at work and in our relarelations by the power of what we know-to-work. We are called upon to provide answers, solutions, options.

Yet at the same time, we experience a widening and deepening chasm between what we do know and what we do not. We recognize as problems multiply with complicity at work, children who refuse to conform, weakening bodies, our own unruly souls... that our true knowledge and ability, and - control - is flimsy ay best.

It can be a time of increasing piety.
It can be a season of aching get-by-each-day..


We can turn afresh to those promises and take a deeper look.

In what way is God my sun and shield?
Can we be made to wait because giving us something we want, which we deem to be good can become something bad if it was given too early?
Can the waiting be of value in itself; and indeed be the time-space needed to experience God as sun and shield?

Together with my scouring of verses, I read a Spurgeon piece that bears these lines:

"...we will drive away our griefs, and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. 
Let others lament over their troubles. 
We who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah's bitter pool, with joy will magnify the Lord.....
we will not dishonor our Bridegroom by mourning in His Presence.....
Do not men of Grace find their Lord to be campfire and spikenard, calamus and cinnamon...
O sweet Jesus, you are the portion of your people! 
Favor us with such a sense of your preciousness, 
that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in You!..."

The paradox of being fully immersed in life and yet being lifted beyond it...living a dream, trusting the Great Invitation to live full and free, real and rugged is held by a thick cord that will not snap with our changes. It is called Grace. 

And it is made possible by the Resurrection!

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