The following are somewhat random excerpts from my thoughts and journal entries over the past 24 hours. We are currently still under a shelter in place quarantine for the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Day 21: Still weary. Still trying to find my rhythm in the chaos of quiet and stillness of uncertainty. I feel like I’m living in a sea of paradox. My soul is thriving in stagnation…I’m trying to support those most important to me while anchoring my footing in quicksand. Everything seems wrong, surreal…I keep looking for Rod Serling, sniffing for his acrid cigarette smoke around every dark corner in my house. If I find him, I will unleash a holy terror upon him for writing this horrific screenplay. Going through my journal is helpful and depressing at the same time…paradox. Dying to live and living to die. #DesperateForJesus

I think I’ll go for a walk… Inspirational music on Spotify. (Check) Crisp, fresh, morning air. (Check) Brisk, cardio boosting, walk (Check) …reset, recalibrate, count blessings, and praise God. Thank Jesus. (Check) #GoToHellCovid

Sometimes the journey, the path, can seem a little uneven and broken at times. Sometimes it feels like the sky is literally dropping “stuff” on us. There will be a new day. The sun (Son) will rise. Order will be restored. Refresh. Renew. #Resurrection #EasterPrayers #CountingPrayers #CountingSteps

“But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over… turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right. But the people replied, ‘Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires.'” (Jeremiah 18:4, 11-12)

Remake me. Renew me. #Resurrection #EasterPrayers #John12:24 #Galatians2:20

… Still reading from and pondering John 12:23-28 from yesterday’s online teaching #ElectronicallyGatheredChurch

23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. 27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”

This passage of Scripture along with Galatians 2:20 (I have been crucified with Christ) have been anchor bolts for my faith journey over the past 18plus years. I believe with all sincerity I have been living faithfully and growing in the graces of the “crucified” life. I know that I have grown as a person who is living more aware of the kingdom of God; I know I am better at putting the kingdom of God before my own desires; still, it seems the paradoxes of “dying so I might live” are creating more tension in my life than ever before.

I should qualify that my faith is not in crisis. Not even close. I feel and bear witness to the Spirit of God with me and within me more today than ever before. God is speaking and God is speaking clearly in myriad ways. Still, I confess tension. I confess lament.

I think it is ok. I think it is encouraged by mentor saints who have journeyed with Jesus before us and encouraged by the model of Jesus himself. I am convinced that with Christian maturity comes a baring of the soul that helps us to strip off the false images of self, so the true image of God created, restored, and reborn within us might live. Dying first, so we might live.

There are many things in this world I do not like. There are days, even like today I want to demand my own way. If I could or if the right chance were given to me, I might resort to acts of hostility and aggression in order that I might get my own way. Countless opportunities present themselves to me in the course of the day to vent my frustrations on unsuspecting and underserving objects and in some cases people. Then my greatest teacher, indwelling Holy Spirit reminds me “this is not loving, this is not the true you.”

I’m encouraged this morning by the words of Jesus.

27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him. 30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine.

I want to follow this model of so many in the Bible Story, Abraham…David, Elijah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and so many more; not the least of which, Jesus, all were full of lament. Still, following the lament, they returned to praise, trust, and obedient-surrendered allegiance to God. Likewise, later in the above passage, we witness something that occurs several times (Exodus/Sinai, Jesus baptism, and here) some in the presence of God hear thunder (not recognizing God) others hear God’s Voice. I want to always hear God’s Voice no matter where I am…not thinking all I heard was thunder and miss the Voice of God.

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