Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pursuing Faith

I came across an old poem I had written based on the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15, who was looking to Jesus to free her daughter from demons. The message of her relentless trust still stirs my heart this morning. For those of you feeling rejected by God despite your coming to Him, over and over again, please -- Be encouraged.

I ran to You and called You
by someone else's Name.
I did not know You well myself
But followed just the same-
for somewhere deep inside I knew
that You could heal her pain
And so to ask for gifts of change,
My Canaanite heart came.

You didn't even turn around
I worried You would pass
Go on your way, ignore my heart
That shattered quick like glass.
Would You not shape my future
Since You knew my darkest past?
My desperate cries for mercy bounced
off heavens made of brass.

I kept on running after You
Though setting was the day
And my constant crying for Your grace
Got in Your foll'wers' way.
Then You stopped and looked at me
I barely heard You say-
"I was not meant to feed you first"
As You turned and walked away.

All pretense gone, I still drew near
And fell before Your feet.
I worshipped You and You alone
Truth warmed me like the heat...
But You stepped back and from Your lips
These words my ears did meet,
"It is not fit for dogs to have
The food that children eat."

"Tis true, O Lord," my heart agreed,
"and yet, to Thee, I come.
You are the just and living God
where all good gifts come from.
And so I ask you once again,
Not for the meal- just some
of the vast bounty that You give;
I'm satisfied with crumbs."

And while I worshiped, You bent down
To hand to me my Fate.
A smile spread across Your face
in midst an hour so late.
The agony of all my cries
was worth the endless wait--
as You said, "Be it unto you,
For, lo, your faith is great."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thoughts on Genesis: chapter 25

I've been reading through Genesis again, and I started writing down the thoughts that I've been pondering on these familiar passages. They are not profound in even the smallest stretch of imagination, but they are personal. I may share some old ones, so they could be out of order, but here is one that keeps cropping up in my conversations with Christ and with my friends.

Yesterday I read about Jacob and Esau and the selling of the birthright. How quickly I saw a parallel between me and Esau! How weary I become and how hungry I am for something -- and when it is near me, I overemphasize its importance-- it becomes my entire gaze, and the future no longer matters. I have to have that. I just have to.

Recognize the extreme emotionalism of Esau? "I'm about to die-- of what use is a birthright to me?" Doesn't it ring hauntingly familiar to our own remarks in times of loneliness or sorrow? "I'll never figure this out"... "My life is over"... "It's always the same thing; I may as well give up".

Notice how exhaustion plays such a hand in this outlook that had no basis in truth. There really was no fear of a young strapping man collapsing in death because he had little to eat and a long work day, but then again, hunger and weariness never act on reason or logic, do they? Instead, we allow them to become relentless imaginations until they are submitted to as inevitable masters.

So what was the pawn sacrificed in this small, momentary game? Esau's birthright. His standing in the patriarchal line.
His inheritance,
his honorable name,
his rights and privileges of a firstborn---
all traded for a taste on the tongue and a satisfied stomach!

Had Esau rested in the hope of his future instead of grasping at the relief of the present, we would today be praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau. Instead, his obedience to relieving the hunger-- even for one brief hour-- led to his brother's blessing and his own obscurity.

Oh weary heart who is hungry for temporary relief-- do not be swayed in this moment to abandon the good standing in which you have been called! You are an adopted child of the King of Kings! Your every step is guarded and designed by this loving Father. He knows you are tired; He sees your frailty... but He asks you to embrace the honor of your birthright instead of sitting down to one bowl of stew. Will you yet look at the Jacob-bargain being offered you now and choose to falter at the abundant (though seemingly far-off) promises of your Patriarchal Dad? May it not be! Do not, dear one, do NOT settle here!