Monday, August 6, 2012

Ponderings of Mice and Men

The weather is turning cooler, and the sputtering air conditioner is turned off (hopefully) for the season. Another indicator of the subtle change in seasons is the fact that we have little furry brown visitors. As I sat in the early quiet, enjoying the hush of the house this morning, I heard pitter-pattering feet scurry across the dining room. Eeek! It headed right under my computer desk, so I get up and carry the laptop to my comfy chair instead in an attempt to de-clutter my brain. Along the way I grab the fat barn cat who is sitting outside on the covered porch hoping that she is hungry and will do her job; no luck, she heads to the dog food dish. When Grace comes downstairs and hears the news she brings in the orange kitten, too, and goes on a mouse hunt herself, ever the critter collector. I will be going on a trap hunt soon, hoping Cole will set it and check it for me over the course of the day. I put the foot rest up on the recliner and let the chaos continue.

Words have seemed to elude me this summer; their return is as of a welcomed friend. Neither writing them nor reading them have been much comfort as of late, but this morning they seem to flow. Maybe the barometer shift has brought freedom with it as well.

The thought dawned on me the other day that I've been crying for nearly a year and a half. Sometimes I wonder if that is too long, or not long enough. I wonder if there could possibly be any more tears. Often they are just dry sobs, as if the well has run dry and lamenting groans will do in their place. I almost wish the old tradition of mourners wearing black would come back into style. My heart is still broken on the inside, but the outside must smile. I wonder if others have truly forgotten, or if they just honestly don't know what to say. Everyday I wake up to the fresh loss of my son. One morning not so long ago I woke up and enjoyed a brief moment of forgetting that he wasn't just in his bed across the hall from me. . .

These words spoke to my soul this morning:

But now, this is what the Lord says –
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel;

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:1-3b

This all still seems so unreal; it still seems like just yesterday Trent was here, and then at the same time it seems like forever since he was here. I remind myself that he is still Trent, he's just in heaven. The battle of fighting for that reality is never ending. Our minds were not made to understand death; the separation is inconceivable. Silly analogy, but it was so obvious to me: we have had two crying goat kids in the barn for the past couple of days – they're sad because it's weaning time and they can longer be with their beloved momma. As I fed them last night, and then headed outside to feed the rest of the herd, I found myself telling them “It's okay, mommas just on the other side of the wall, soon you'll be together again.”

“Trent's just on the other side; soon you'll be together again,” I heard whispered to myself.

The reality of eternity is unimaginable: eternity. What does a mortal mind even do with that word? Because we only know death here, how do we conceive of forever, and ever, and ever? Which brings back the whole concept of God and His glory, forever, and ever, and ever. What are twelve years here, even fifty years or eighty years, compared to eternity? So I trudge on, fighting to find the joy of the cross set before me.

And there is much joy. Not a worldly joy as I am so used to expecting, but a new-found depth of joy; a joy which has been granted as a privilege only to sufferers. The joy of seeking God, a desperate need of knowing Him and trusting Him; of depending on Him to be who He says He is for the simple reason being that unless He is the Great I AM, this life has no meaning. Chasing the world reveals only futility in the end: Trent took nothing with him to heaven, and neither will I. I seek for treasures that will not tarnish or rust, treasures kept in heaven for me.

But the battle is fierce. Stepping into the ring means you get beat up. When you share the gospel of Jesus, people either repent or rage. I wonder if we really understood eternity, and the cost, if we would be bolder. I wonder at the binding of the truth in our society at large, even in our churches. I wonder why it is so difficult for my brain to understand the words of Scripture, or to live them out.

My tears lately have been over my own sins as well. When you are drawn closer to a holy God, a consuming fire, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, you can't help but see your own failings. The idolatry of looking only to our own short comings should not over-ride the glory of what Jesus did on the cross to pay the price for our salvation, but refusing to look at our own sinfulness is of no benefit either. God has been taking me through a time of chastening lately, and it hurts. I fall at the foot of the cross repeatedly. I am reminded that “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean” (John 13:10). This chastening reveals much grace if I will choose to see it rather than reject it.

Honestly, I am tired of being grown and sanctified, chiseled and shaped, pounded and hammered. My flesh likes its current state of sinful indulgence most days, and looking like Christ is not my top priority in my own will. But God doesn't let His children go their own way, He sanctifies them for His own glory, to reveal Himself in them, not to reveal their greatness in obeying Him. Therefor, I find much hope in the fact that God continues His molding in my life.

So as I raise my hands in surrender, acknowledging that I really can't do this: can't persevere on my own, can't control sin on my own and can't change my wicked heart on my own, God has me right where He wants me: walking by faith, not by sight; trusting Him to do it all, trusting Him to be faithful, trusting Him to be “that good.”