Wednesday, February 06, 2013

To the Dust

"God's love is wonderful at first blush, but because it's not based on anything we've done, it humbles us to the dust," says Elyse Fitzpatrick, and,

So then, why, if all this is true, do so many of us fail to embrace the gospel on a daily basis?  Why have we forgotten the gospel?  Are we simply innocents with poor memories?

Spiritual amnesia, she asks me- do I have it? 

And I know the answer to the question.  Do I willfully forget God's emancipating love and, with it the "all things"? (Rom 8:32) The harder task is to try to find the moments when I am not blind, forgetful; those are the ones to hunt for, more rare and precious.

Because here is me, this body of death.  First I am peaceful and thankful; full to the brim with joy over God's beautiful grace and love toward me in calling me His own darling child.  Meditating on body and spirit provisions of a Father's love. 

Wondering at the beauty of the chubby hands enclosed in mine, the delicate eyelashes across the cheek with the rosebud mouth so quiet in sleep.  

The peaceful breathing in the dark of the man who so carefully and tenderly loves me, day in and out.  

Marveling, like this morning, at the misty seeping fog, later replaced by marvelous towers of clouds against backdrop of blue.  

Amazed at provisions that, two years ago, seemed improbable at best- a rare house for sale in precisely the right location for our ministry and family that far exceeds our needs. 

 Savoring the prideful cackle of laying hens in the stillness of the afternoon. 

 Pondering the great saving grace of a God who traded my sins and sorrows for His righteousness and rejoicing. 

The moment passes; too often a mere moment or hour of gratitude before I am again filled with doubts, questioning the steadfastness of His love.  Complaining and wondering why He has led me out of my slavery into this wasteland of self-pity.  Willfully closing my eyes to the cloud and fire leading me on to the Promised land (and aren't all his promises Yes in Jesus?), while ignoring the beauty of the wilderness around me.  Hearing  and speaking lies and discontent in my own heart. Gloomy over the seemingly barren death of gray winter.  Lonely and distant from loved ones.  Berating myself for work incomplete, full laundry baskets glaring unfolded, clutter scattered through the house, the sticky floor always in need of the mop, the sheets calling out to be changed, the thank-you notes protesting inaudibly that they have been put off just one too many times.  Newsletters, email updates, prayer and praise reports clamoring for attention that I long to give.  Bills and expenses and fear that the Lord won't provide. 

Where then is the wonder?  The marvel that I have family and friends to miss at home?  The joy at having warm clothes to cover our bodies, the peace of having a home to care for?  The gratitude towards those I intend to thank for their giving, their love, and their prayers?  The remembrance of plenty and provision in spite of my ever-doubting soul?

I am humbled to the dust.
Did I just meditate on "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases," singing it to myself and my children as I snuggle them into their beds?    Did I just ponder the terrible mercy of the cross in the quiet of the morning?  No matter - my golden calf of comfort or self-importance has been half constructed before the meditation ceases.  Can any pure worship and love come from my own crooked heart?  


can I be

so windswept, 

after all this time?

Paul's words are the only answer I know and they resonate through the war-torn chambers of my heart and mind again:  
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
And I taste the grit of the sand, and bruise my knees, woefully unprepared for His holiness and my unworthiness in this glimpse of grace.  And more beloved words enter, filling my mind and bringing with them remembrance, removing the film from my willfully blind eyes.

Maybe it's a better thing
To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken and redeemed by love
Maybe this old world is bent
But it's waking up
And I'm waking up
(Andrew Peterson, Don't You Want to Thank Someone)

And I wake up and I am lifted up like a branch to feel the warmth of the sun of God's steadfast love, knowing that so soon I will try my hardest to shuffle down to the cold and shady mud again but for now I bask in the truth of the One who is Love, knowing that this is "love that will not let me go."  

(The whole song from Andrew Peterson is worth your time, so click the link above, listen, and then buy the whole album.  And while you're at it, why don't you buy the book by Elyse Fitzpatrick and join in with me and others in meditating on the truths of God's steadfast love this week at Grace Full Mama.)


  1. I have this book. Just going through it for the second time. Thank you for this post, Sarah. I need this kind of wakening every...well. I was going to say day, but I suppose moment would be more accurate. I love you. I'm thankful for you. That's all.

  2. I have this book. Just going through it for the second time. Thank you for this post, Sarah. I know it's been up for a while, but I just found it today; and I need this kind of wakening every...well. I was going to say every day, but I suppose moment would be more accurate. I love you. I'm thankful for you. That's all.

  3. Heh. Guess you're getting a couple of comment drafts. sorry. :)