Sunday, January 3, 2010

Year of Unshadowed Joy

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. ~ Psalm 50:1-2

"May this year be one of unshadowed joy. There need never be a shadow. All shadows are from beneath, from self, from the I in us which so often wants us to listen to what it says, instead of to the voice of our Lord. Let us refuse this self voice, always, and live in the unclouded light of selfless joy and love. This is what I want to do ever more and more.
I have a lovely word for you: Luke 4:30. ‘Jesus passing through the midst of them went His way.’ We are meant to pass through the midst of whatever comes and not get upset or even inwardly ruffled.
A day or two ago I was thinking rather sadly of the past - so many sins and failures and lapses of every kind. I was reading Isaiah 43, and in verse 24 I saw myself: ‘Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.’ And then for the first time I noticed that there is no space between v.24 and v.25, ‘I, even I, am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine own sake; and I will not remember thy sins.’
Who but our Father would forgive like that?"
- Amy Carmichael

A memory that will forever remain with me from 2009 is standing, shaking and broken, in a church in Bayfield, CO during a worship service that my uncle was leading. The several weeks leading up to that day had been filled with desperation, panic, anxiety, and fear. The world of my dreams had been stripped violently from me. In my desperation, I had spent those week clinging to pieces of that dream. My heart, heated by my mad frenzy, could not be still. Everything I had desired and hoped for and clung to was being pulled from me. The tornado was raging and ravaging.
So there I was on that Saturday morning...utterly broken. Sin had already made its fateful climax and I stood there completely helpless. No one could comfort me. No one could descend to that lonely pit in which I had fallen. A pit which I had dug for myself in my own folly. I was wholly undone - brought to the lowest, most shameful, most unloved place I have ever been.
And yet there came to me a song, whose melody and words drifted to that darkened place where a torrent of wild emotions, memories, and thoughts were mercilessly washing over me. It was a song I had sung many times. A song so dear to me. And yet, in that moment those words were mine.

No more will I run from You
I will be wise accepting Your shelter
No more will I have to fear
I will be here in Your arms

Your Name, is above all powers above all kings
Your Name, You are the blessed Prince of Peace

No one else will ever let me live
This life I live in You
And no one else will ever take the place
That I have made for You
And no one else could ever fit the mold
That You have cast for me
You are my God I will bow down before You
You are my God I will lift up Your Name

Shimcha, Anu Ohavim Otcha (Your Name, We love You)

- Your Name, by Zemer Levav

And peace did come. It came to me as I stood there singing, shaking, and crying. The tears were painful to release. My sight was blurred by them and I held inside of myself a great cry of agony. If I could have escaped the crowd of people and found solitude for myself I would have collapsed in a frightful heap of tortorous grief, crying for someone to rescue me from myself.
I could not see as clearly then as I see now, but the awful helplessness of my entire being at that moment was beautiful in that it was a living picture of these verses:

For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
(Psalm 57:15)

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34:18)

His grace came upon me ever so gently, little by little, until it held me and stilled my shaking body. He poured into me steel-like strength and enabled me to stand to resolve the matter of sin that day. And then He sent me home and put me to sleep. My heart, quieted. My soul, humbled.
What followed those days were trying. The grief, the consequences of sin, the hurt, and the shame were not done away with all at once. I had to learn the lesson of the weaned child. I had to learn to do without. I had to be still and quieted daily. I had to be led into repentance. I had to learn the discipline of the Lord. I had to learn obedience. I had to learn true love. I had to learn His will be done, not mine. And still I am learning these things.
My dear Lord and Saviour set me on a path that painful day. A set-apart path in which I have come to known the depths of His grace as I ever known before. I can never return to that life I once lived. He has set me to move forward, to surrender all of myself and to suffer the loss of all things so that I might gain Him. Yeshua is my very life. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30). May this new year be a continuing of His eternal work.

"This last year has been a year of battle, but thank God of victory too, and we are nearer the Crowning Day this morning than ever we were before. ‘And having done all to stand.’ God keep us standing. ‘When I said, My foot slippeth, Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.’ And now as we look forward we see great stones and many of them. ‘Who shall roll away the stone?’ More and more I delight in the word that says, ‘The angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it.’ We shall see the angel of the Lord sitting upon many a stone during the coming year. And think of it, we may see the Lord Himself, Christ risen, Christ crowned, this year.
Oh what will it be to see Him?
To be for ever with Him, holy for ever, strong for ever, never, never to grieve Him again
"Our God does satisfy. I think sometimes He has to draw us into strange experiences in order that we shall prove Him to the uttermost, for some purpose out of sight. For what is He preparing us? It is all hidden, we have only hints in the Gospels and in Revelation. ‘His servants shall serve Him’ - where? How? But this we do know; never a pang of disappointment or loneliness or pain (there are many different kinds of pangs) but may be turned to minister towards a perfecting power to serve - first here on earth, then Otherwhere. God bless you and utterly satisfy your heart with Himself.
- Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark & Gold by Moonlight


Benjamyn said...

Thanks for following my blog. I took some time to look over your blog,just to see what it was about,I think that it is so awesome to find young people that are devoted to the Master! I encourage you to continue on your way and am glad I got to read your blog

Emily Anne said...

I love the verses and quotes. So good. :)