Cracked Open and Ugly

How long, O Lord? How long until this suffocating weight lifts and lungs fill with breath? How far will the greedy fingers of darkness reach? How deep must I dig to bury grief? Crippled and raw, I drop at your feet weeping fresh wounds and blackened bruises. I cannot withstand this avalanche of calamity.

where are you lord

The winds batter your faithful. The tempest abuses your chosen. This reed drowns in the very water that once gave life. Where are you, Lord? Why do you wait? Where is your redemption? Why isn’t it now?

My cracked open heart spills out ugly. The short-suffering, inpatient, unloving, unforgiving, resentful, discontent, unrested, harsh-hearted sin that stiffens against accepting anything but good from your hand. And the wind blows.

But even here, You lead me. Even here, Your hand guides me. Even when the angry gusts twist and tear and push and pull, You are here. And I can no longer resist your presence. This empty heart ringing hallow beats chooses praise. Praise to the God who never changes, who never walks away. Who understands empty because He spilled out empty for love. Praise to the God who allows the hardship and tears – but doesn’t waste a single drop on the ground, who keeps count of my tossing, my sacrifice of praise.

Praise to the God who sees beauty in broken, who receives praise from fractured bones, who promises one day to press a nail-scarred hand to my cheek and wipe away every tear.

O Lord, do not tarry.

 

*from the archives

What to do while you wait

Only the Lord can open eyes, grant life, give understanding, forgive, save, be our hiding place and shield. Only the Lord uphold us, steadies our steps, and answers prayer.

In Psalm 119, the psalmist asks for these things multiple times over the 176 verses. He asks for the things that only the Lord can do. He refers to the Lord as “LORD” 23 times, all uppercase, meaning our covenant keeping God. He is, perhaps, reminding himself that God keeps His Word and promises.

As the psalmist waits for God to act on his behalf, he does something remarkable. He prepares. He waits, not with thumb-twiddling, yawning, complaining, or reclining in laziness. He waits expectantly. He prepares himself to hear and respond to God by immersing himself in the Word. He prepares his heart for the yes, no, or not right now, by meditating on the Holy Scriptures. He prepares himself by loving the letter penned by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Like a bride readying herself to meet her groom, like the church prepares herself for Christ’s return, the psalmist readies for God’s response. In nearly every verse the Word of God (law, instruction, precepts, statues etc) is mentioned. 167 times he dwells on the power of Scripture and how he will walk in it, meditate on it, keep it, fix his eyes on it, store it in his heart, delight in it, be consumed by it, cling to it, long for it, take comfort in it, dwell on it, believe it, place his hope in it, remember it, consider it, rejoice in it, and love it.

He takes what many of us find frustrating, and makes it beautiful. He prepares his heart.

What are you waiting for? Perhaps, while you wait, God desires to do something beautiful in you. So, do your part. Seek Him like the psalmist, trusting in the Word and all that it reveals about God’s character. Meditate and fix your mind on it; store it in your heart.

Do not waste your waiting.