Thursday, 20 October 2016

Deep Calls to Deep

We went to visit a huge waterfall in the summer holidays.  The exciting thing about it was that we could walk behind it. Standing in the spray, unable to hear each other speak over the top of the powerful roar was thrilling.  I never knew how majestic and awe-inspiring (and actually quite scary) a waterfall could be.  I had always thought about gentle trickles but this was like something I had never experienced.

This morning I was bringing my many friends before God who are seriously struggling.  Pain, heartbreak, grief, exhaustion, depression and anxiety are high up on the list.  I am finding life tough myself with so many burdens to carry and feeling the pain of others so intensely.  And then I read these words of David in Psalm 42:

"Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me."

I've read them before but, if I'm honest, I always skipped over them.  I thought it was a bit weird to suddenly start writing about waterfalls.  This morning, however, was different.  I remembered the power of the waterfall we'd seen in the summer.  I remembered how it hit the water below with such a force that I was worried the boys would be swept away.  And I realised that it's with that power that God's goodness meets our depths.

It doesn't matter how deep we go.  It doesn't matter how low we sink.  The depth of God's riches, his faithfulness, his goodness, his grace, his sustaining power, his justice, his mercy, his love, his constancy is flooding down to meet the depth of our pain, our sorrow, our exhaustion, our confusion and our overwhelming brokenness.  He roars with power as his love and gentleness sweep over us.

His deep goodness calls to my deep pain.

Deep calls to deep.

Can you hear the roar of the waterfall?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Wasting My Life?

I have some incredible friends.  They are teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, psychologists and other superhero type careers.  They amaze me with the way they manage to have such polite, fun children, clean houses AND demanding jobs.  I try my best to celebrate their successes with them and support them with life is tough.  I'm not jealous in any way.


Recently I have noticed Comparison tapping me on the shoulder more and more often.  While my awesome friends are putting on their capes and teaching classes of 30 noisy children, treating cancer patients, completing intelligent sounding training courses and racing around with their important busy lives, I am cleaning bathrooms, cooking meals, making myself available to our lodger and boys, hoovering, taking in odd pieces of writing and other such mundane tasks.

Comparison whispers in my ear, "Look at all of them!  They are doing important things.  You're not." Comparison tells me I should be doing more, earning more, training more and that unless I do, I am not worth much in our society.  I am purpose-less and unfulfilled.  I have no real ambition and am wasting my life.

Comparison doesn't realise that this is all lies.

This morning, I read the truth in 1 Peter 1 (paraphrase mine):

"You were chosen.... to be obedient to Jesus Christ."

Right there is my purpose.  Obedience.  If Jesus had asked me to be a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer, I would have said yes.  But he hasn't.  He's asked me to stay in my home pouring myself out over and over again to the people who he's given me to love.  This includes my boys but is also our lodgers who need to know the consistency and faithfulness of a love that won't give up on them.

No ambition?  I have a ton of the stuff.  My ambition is to see the people I love, who come to us so damaged they are almost beyond repair, find total and utter freedom.  I want to see them throw their heads back and laugh extravagantly.  I want to see them finding independence and a new life for themselves.  I want them to know how precious they are.  I want to see them find love for themselves and one day marriage and a family.  I want them to see the beauty in them that others see.  I want them to feel proud of who they are.  I want them to know they are worth an education.  I want to see in them an audacity that can only be found in those who have been through hell and come out the other side.  If that's not ambition, I don't know what is.

And so, Comparison, my friends are being obedient to Jesus by doing their incredible jobs whilst my purpose is obedience through staying home.  The races marked out for us are different ones.  As boring as it sounds (and, like all jobs, it IS pretty dull some days), I wouldn't give up what I am doing for anything else.

If I'm wasting my life on obedience and love, I'm happy to go with that one.  After all, that's what Jesus did.