A Heart on Lockdown

29 07 2014

I’ve discovered that my home reflects the condition of my heart. When my home is tidy and well organized, so is my heart.

When it’s a disheveled mess, well…you get the idea. I was going to post a picture of my work space, but it’s too embarrassing.

Every adult in the house has taken major hits over the last few months. In one way or another, each has locked down his or her heart.

It’s safer that way.

Waves  continue to buffet our vessel. While the Lord is in the boat with us, in His wisdom He has chosen to let the storm rage on – although He could silence it with a word.

There must be something we need to learn from this experience. We’ll be debriefed later, no doubt.

Over the sound of the rushing wind, and between crashing waves, I hear Jesus call out:

“Let down your nets for a catch.”

He isn’t crazy, you know, but infinitely wise.

However, we’d already ‘let down our nets,’ each one in his or her own way…

…and were let down in the process.

This was hard enough to take when the seas were calm…

But this feels like a Category Five storm.

“Now? You want us to fish now?”

Each one clutches his net a little tighter to his chest. The idea of being let down once again, and in the midst of this tempest is to risk more than we care to lose.

While cleaning my computer’s desktop this morning. I found the following quote. Seeing it today was a divine appointment, and a warning from my loving Father.

The Risk of Love (C. S, Lewis)

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.

If you want to be sure of keeping your heart intact you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safely in the casket of your selfishness.

And in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will not change, it will not be broken. It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the dangers of love –

-is hell.

Hell. Hmm, now isn’t that interesting?

What I’ve been describing is, for us, a living  hell. 

Whole days pass with little to show for them…a completed jigsaw puzzle, a bit of needlework. New levels attained on stupid iPhone games (Crowd gasps: “Oooh!”) Mostly, I wander aimlessly through the house.

It feels very much like being buried alive.

Are you sure that the Exodus took place on land? It feels like another lap around the lake. I’ve seen this terrain before, in this same boat! Only the faces are different. 😉

I don’t want to do this to myself anymore. The journey back out of this self-imposed grave is painful and laborious. I don’t have to lock away my heart again.

It’s risky; I’ll have to feel the pain instead of being numb. Can I trust the Lord? I did in the past, and He let me down – or so it seems.

(Or perhaps I didn’t see the whole picture?)

But He calls to me. I dare not decline. His plan for me is for good – not evil.

He does not have a dark side.

(I’ve stated this in many of my posts over the last few months – mostly to remind myself that He is pure Light, not a type of “Jekyll and Hyde.”)

A glance down memory lane shows countless times where He has been faithful.

He has  been good; I must trust that He will  be good to me.

Hmm. Looks like it’s time to go fishing.

Ever so slowly, I’m unlocking the door to my heart. It will probably get kicked around like a soccer ball. At least I’ll be feeling something.

I’m saying “NO” to a locked-down heart!





Not Yet…Not Yet…NOW!

17 01 2014

Many seem to be in the middle of the sea. The waves are high; the winds threaten to blow them off course or take them down.

I picture the scene in Mark 4:

Waves crash over the sides of their boat. Every man has a rope tied around his waist so that if he is thrown overboard he can be retrieved.

The sails lie in a heap on the deck – hastily pulled down to keep the winds from capsizing their vessel.

Although these are seasoned sailors who have weathered many a storm, this is like none they’ve ever experienced. Terror is evident in their faces. The words are sharp and loud.

Everything they know to do has been done, yet to no avail. Their doom seems certain.

Suddenly someone notices the absence of Jesus from the crew. Where can He be? Was he swept out to sea?

No, there He is…

SLEEPING????

What on earth?

Meanwhile, Jesus rests.

(I wonder if the Spirit whispered, “Not yet. Not yet.”)

Spent from their efforts, and out of ideas, the disciples turn on Jesus:

“Don’t You care that we are perishing?”

(The Spirit whispers, “NOW!”)

Jesus stretched as He rose up from His slumber. Every eye was on Him.

He rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea:

“Peace, be still.”

As fast as that, it was over. The wind died down; the sea was perfectly calm.

His question to them burns in my heart:

“Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?”

When we find ourselves in a storm of this magnitude, it is our nature to do all we can to keep from going under.

God helps those who help themselves, right?

Um… No!

We learn from this story that it’s when we’ve exhausted our resources and – with nothing left to offer as a solution – ask the Lord for help that He steps in. With a word He calls an end to the thing.

As I stated in my last post, Jesus didn’t add to their efforts. No scurrying and stress is seen on His part.

Nor did He step in and rescue them because of their works. “Ooh, look how close they were to saving themselves. I’ll add that last push needed to get them over the top. They’ve tried so faithfully.”

Jesus had said, “Let’s go to the other side.” To His mind, that should have settled the issue.

“Has He not said, and will He not do it?”

May this be the year that we remember to recall God’s faithfulness in our previous storms –

-when the waves were high

-when the wind threatened to topple us

-when it looked like we were going down

We made it to the shore that time…

and we will make it this time, too. 

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, or we might hear the Spirit whisper to Him, “Not yet!”





Hey! You are Loved!

13 01 2014

It is easy to get bogged down in the cares of this world. When our eyes are on the ‘horizontal’ we can become overwhelmed.

Did not Jesus say, “Let’s get into the boat and go to the other side?”

Then the ‘other side’ is where we will end up!

Note that He didn’t mention anything about the journey itself. There was no hint of the storm they would face. He knew it was coming, to be sure, but didn’t think this was necessary information for the disciples to know.

Why?

Because we must learn to walk by faith – and not by sight!

From an outsider’s point of view, the scene is kind of comical. In the boat were seasoned fishermen who’d been through storms in the past. This one must have been a whopper, for they were scared out of their wits and running around like proverbial chickens with their heads cut off, afraid that they would drown.

Their fear came out (as it often does) in anger, and they turned on Jesus.

“Don’t You care that we are perishing?”

This statement might have felt true…but it wasn’t! They weren’t about to die, and He cared very much.

He proved this in an instant when He got up, rubbed the sleep out of His eyes, and said those wonderful words:

“Peace. Be still.”

Whatever storm you are facing right now, no matter how things look on the ‘horizontal,’ remember that Jesus is with you…and He is victorious. You’re in good hands – and excellent company. He will never leave you, nor forsake you!

Oh, check this out:

Jesus didn’t rescue them because He saw how much effort they’d put into saving themselves. His response wasn’t a reward for their works! He loved them and had a plan for them. It’s that simple.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Rest assured that your future in this storm doesn’t involve rotting at the bottom of the sea –

“Has He not said, and will He not do it?”

If He said, “the other side,” that is what He meant. Why not grab your blanket and rest with Him?

May this new year be filled with the peace that comes from trusting in the Lord with all your heart. May you experience – firsthand – Him calming the seas. May He fill you with a deeper sense of His everlasting love for you, and may you grow in grace and the knowledge of our great God.