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

How a Weary Soul Rejoices

Maybe it is the busyness leading to Christmas: parties, gatherings, rich food and late nights. Maybe it is the additional responsibilities: tree decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, budgeting, and cleaning. Maybe you are like me, and you feel a little bit weary.

The pace this life requires, the pace this season requires, is not one maintainable through fleshly strength. Maybe you feel a bit of that weight yourself. Maybe verses like Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good…” press the air from your lungs. You just can’t do one more thing because you are weary right through to the bones.

Christmas is for the broken and weary

God’s call on us to sacrifice self in service to others is costly. It stands out in sharp contrast to the perfect holiday pictures of perfect smiling families with perfect yearly reviews flooding your mailboxes. But Christmas isn’t about us making the hard seem jolly and bright.

Christmas is for the brokenhearted. It is for those with shredded insides. It is for those missing loved ones. It is for the imperfect who need Perfection Personified to exchange the weary weight into an easy and light burden.

God knows about weary soul-crushing brokenness. For us to find a way through, He had to take on our weight of sin. That means that Christmas is our way through. Christmas makes a way out from under the heap of wrath poured onto all sinners and Christmas proves that God knows about our wearisome need.

God rips open the heavens, and the angels proclaim that salvation has come. The flesh wrapped Deity came to bear the heaps of wrath suffocating you and me. He came to piece our brokenness back together with His perfection.

The easy and light gift of Christmas

Matthew 11:28-30English Standard Version (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

We can surrender our heavy yoke of slavery and receive Christ’s lighter yoke of worship. We trade our heavy yoke of pursuing faith by works and take His lighter yoke of meekness and surrender. “It is the proud heart that tires of doing good if it finds its labor not appreciated; but the brave, meek spirit finds the yoke to be easy” (C.H. Spurgeon).

Maybe that is why Paul writes at the end of Galatians 5, if we live by the Spirit let us also walk (keep in step) by the Spirit – which is living and walking empowered by the Spirit. Maybe that is why Paul first writes of the power to live in the Spirit before he writes about doing good – especially “to those who are of the household of faith.”

I cannot live out this life on my own strength, but God has provided his strength through the power of his Spirit. This is how we can “not grow weary of doing good.”

Christ has come, and this weary soul rejoices. The weighty pressure for the perfect Christmas, the perfect tree, house, photograph, and gift is exchanged for the easy and light burden. This burden tells me none of the glitz and glamour of the holiday matters as much as the perfect lamb in the manger.

Stop and Breathe

Stop wrapping, baking, cooking, and cleaning and do some good for those in the household of faith. Pray for your brothers and sisters in the faith. Pray for your pastors and leaders and their families. Pray for your heart to be satisfied in Jesus. Pray for your children to know contentment and know the forgiveness of sins. Pray for the world to pause the parade of holiday events and kneel at the manger and follow that baby’s footsteps to the crosswhere a weary world can finally lay its burden down.

I pray your weary soul will repent, turn to Christ, and take up His yoke, rejoicing with Him. This Christmas, may your burdens be easy and light.

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