Eternal Midsummer Sun

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16) 

 

sunrise

 

I sit here very reluctantly with the imminent threat of storms looming overhead… yet still I eagerly await another early rising midsummer sun…. As the darkness continues to linger into daybreak… I am attempting rather unsuccessfully to embrace the predicted series of slowly moving storms which hastily interrupts my early midsummer morning. Late night storms have left my water starved annuals laying on their uprooted mangled sides… and a scattering of white and pink petals now lay across my parched wooden deck….. My sleepless night thoughts persist and I wander just too long in anticipation of the approaching storms… and my wandering mind only complicates the mix of emotions I’m experiencing from yet another one of life’s greatest disappointments….. Just another “failure” to add to my repertoire…but like too many failures in my already overstuffed life….this failure comes from within a deep and painful crevice of spiritually rooted connections and convictions with fellow believers….. Yet I feel a remarkable and undeniable familiarity to this type of great disappointment as I glance out my patio door staring blankly at the searing sheets of endless rain just beginning to pound the south facing side of my home…..

My thoughts take another turn to not only my own failures, but also to the multiple losses I have suffered throughout my life… Trapped within the walls of this sadly wandering state of mind…..  My thoughts turn to my sister.   I struggle to envision a much happier time where she stood firmly beside me… bravely fighting with her diseased and ravaged body in tow…. It was an extremely aggressive intruder which hastily interrupted her late winter morning sun many years ago…and many months before she finally succumbed to this ultimate life-robbing enemy…this sickening invader who eventually won the hard fought battle against her constant desire to remain here in this familiar yet darkened place….her final and seemingly unanswered plea to witness yet another one of her own early rising midsummer suns…..and in this frozen memory…. my heart sinks even lower.

With much regret….I think of the many disagreements my sister and I once shared….. Far too many of our own life’s experiences stood between the two of us and the One and Only Truth and our many experiences almost separated us from creating a final spiritual truce.  I being the lost prodigal child of a Great Comforter not too long ago and she being the ever faithful and everlasting daughter of a Mighty King… born in the faith and never wavering.  Sometimes this uncomfortable wedge created too wide a space for a compromise to even take hold…for a conversation to take place and grow…and to at last realize…… the simple understanding that our belief in the One and Only Truth did indeed take very different roads…. But both roads led back home!!   There are varied paths of Light that occur in this life’s constant darkness.   My road being twisted with many unwanted, and sometimes self-inflicted roadblocks… my footprints disappearing at long intervals of time upon its jagged edge and teetering on a lack of trust and commitment …her road well-traveled and worn with the unbroken trust of her steadfast feet.. Scattered were her footprints but never ever too close to its well-developed edge… yet narrow and unbending along the border…

 

road 1

 

The rain is tapering as the sound of thunder rumbles off into the distance as the storms move to the unsuspecting East…and my sadly wandering thoughts are slowly turning to the present-tense as I sense the departing storms and begin to plan my day…..yet I pause and attempt to envision my sister’s present day view of her eternal midsummer sun….so Majestic….so Gracious…and so very Merciful……but I cannot envision it for both the current and departing storms here cause too much turmoil……And there is yet another winding road for me to travel… but I know my simple belief in Him gets me through one more storm and one more jagged edge along its path…and I seek…and I plead… and I’m given comfort by Him once again… and by this simple truth…..

My faithful sister is the daughter of a Mighty King and I am the rebellious child of a Great Comforter!

 

pic of road 3

 

Take comfort in knowing He is there with you on your current winding road…..and there is nothing that can separate you from Him as long as you are a believer and you continue to simply believe in His promise!  

 

Broken Promise

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

(Romans 1:16 ESV)

evangelism pic 2

“In conversation, the disciple who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person feeling, my life has been enriched by talking with you.  This is neither false modesty nor phony humility… The poor in spirit are the most non-judgmental of peoples; they get along well with sinners.”

–Brennan Manning

The above quote from Brennan Manning was the initial spark which lit the flame of my now persistent and burning desire to serve Christ and become His evangelistic servant bathed in His everlasting mercy and grace.  It would be untrue to lead anyone to believe this did not come without great struggle and outright debate with my Savior by trying to rationalize every reason in my finite mind to explain to Him why I am not the best and most qualified candidate for this sacred position but the flame persists and He fuels my flame with daily doses of increasingly greater intention.

Servant Evangelism, in my personal opinion is the only effective way to evangelize the lost and hurting among us.  It was refreshing to learn there has been a shift from the fire and brimstone type of evangelizing to a new relational, authentic, and transparent approach.  I desire to serve Christ as an authentic and transparent servant as I begin to embrace the brokenness of my own shattered past.  For it was in my broken past where I learned to become dependent on Him and His words of promise for a brighter tomorrow.  My great dependency on Christ grew more intense from the struggles and challenges of my own personal life and now I am willing to share my past to brighten someone’s tomorrow with hope in a Savior and eternal life. 

“Jesus was transparent. True, He did not have any bad to reveal, but He grieved, and expressed it; He sorrowed, and He wept.”

–Jerry Pipes

My only desire is to simply be His transparent servant.  In spite of our weaknesses and imperfections, God still chooses to use people to communicate His message.   The knowledge of my past weakness and imperfections forces me to be a humble and non-judgmental servant to others. It allows me greater understanding into the lives of people who struggle with sin and despair. I have no Christian subculture to temporarily exit from for I have never known the boundaries of “perfect” Christian living void of challenges, hardships, and struggle.  Perhaps this is the very reason He is calling me to join Him in His mission, His prodigal with enduring wounds and intense regret.  I only have to recall the price He paid to reconcile my rebellion and I’m left kneeling at the foot of His cross begging for His mercy.   There is no greater reward this side of heaven then to join with Christ in sharing the gift He gives so freely to those who only have to receive.  How can I possibly keep this gift a secret? 

I will still wrestle with Christ regarding the requirements of this sacred position.  The responsibility of representing Him to a fallen world is significant and causes me to panic.  My greatest fear is misrepresenting His love and grace.  How could I possibly take on this type of responsibility?  The testimony we have around other people is of utmost importance.  People are watching how we react in the normal ebb and flow of life.   And I love Him so much and only desire to please Him so how can I continue to say no to a Savior who gave His life to allow an unworthy, unlovable, and unclean soul like me to have one?   There is a world just outside my door that is hurting and lost and I know without doubt Jesus loves them as much as He loves me.

 “It is not the prostitutes and tax-collectors who find it most difficult to repent; it is the devout who feel they have no need to repent, secure in not having broken rules on the Sabbath.”

–Brennan Manning 

How can I remain silent and not share with them the good news?   …What began simply as a spark and turned into a flame, which has now become a persistent and burning desire is beginning to slowly engulf my panic and fears…. 

personal-evangelism 1

It has been well over a year since my promise was made to You…and yes!  I now feel and now realize Your strict discipline to my broken promise….

Jesus…Please help me believe I can do this!

“Fear not, for I am with you; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 (Isa 41: 10 ESV)