I usually say I don’t believe in bad days, and I don’t – in that everyday with God is still guaranteed to be moving from glory to glory (even when I don’t observe that with my eyes); it is at its core, a GOOD day. However, rough spots happen. Personally, I’m terrifically exasperated and looking for resolution in the midst of it. I’m living in the divine tension of resting in knowing God is moving on my behalf, and also doing the part I am responsible for. I’m stir crazy and yet, I simply want to be still. I want to go somewhere wonderfully intoxicating like the Amazon and yet I want to simply be in Redding and drink the luscious stars in the night sky. I want to see whole cities engulfed by love and I want the homeless guy I passed today on the street to be engulfed too. In all that I am waiting for several major things to take flight. Like a housecat who sits at the door calmly waiting to be let in, and moments later is digging her claws deep into the door in frustration and eagerness – I am torn between patience and impatience.
These times are an opportunity to let love lead, not emotions, not circumstances, but the forever FULL love of God. For me they are a time to practice the fine art of rejoicing when I don’t feel like it. One’s soul, the seat of one’s emotions, is subject to one’s spirit, the part of you seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and thus innocuous to one’s atmosphere. God turns even exasperation into joy. Sometimes it’s merely about getting alone with Him in quiet, laying down, and chatting with Him – not for answers, but just to chat. It’s like having a conversation with a good friend – you don’t only talk when you “need” answers, you talk to get to know the person and to be known by her.
If you are in the exasperation zone, I declare NEWNESS to you today. Today is a day when mountains will move, peace will come, and HOPE will rise. God wants to meet with you. He wants to talk with you. He wants to share His heart with you. He LOVES you and accepts you fully. He champions your dreams. He is your GOOD Father.
Today I was asking God what I should do to move onward today: having finished ministry school Friday, gradually working on writing my book, eagerly waiting for job(s) to come together, feeling stir-crazy and frustrated. I felt that He said, “Read some poetry.” I thought it was a good idea, but less “practical” than my mind preferred. Nevertheless, I got out a book of poetry. This particular book is Shelley’s Poems and is over one hundred years old. I flipped open to a couple sections and read. In my reading, I floated across this:
“Asia Answers” from Shelley’s “Hymn to Asia”
My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
And thine doth like an angel sit
Beside a helm conducting it,
Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
It seems to float ever, forever,
Upon that many-winding river,
Between mountains, woods, abysses,
A paradise of wildernesses!
Till, like one in slumber bound,
Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound.
And so, in my restlessness, I find the mental image of a sleeping swan: the promise of rest for those who dare to believe it is possible to rest while travelling down the river into the great ocean of destiny. God has lived in Rest since creation, and through Jesus we are invited into it – not merely one day a week, but ongoing rest – the peace that passes understanding sort of rest. Ahhhhh… time to curl up our swan necks and tuck our heads into soft feathers, to travel while at rest. Sweet Jesus, making all things possible as usual.
“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it . . .
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrew 4:1 & 4:16)