Thursday, May 21, 2015

Visions of Rapture

Delight yourself  in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4

Perfect submission, perfect delight....-Fanny J. Crosby

Folding up clothes today and putting them away in boxes.

So many of them that I can see that I will not be able to do this all in a single sitting (or folding, or putting away, or packing up, or whatever the  proper term is).

And in light of all that (or maybe these things are completely unrelated), what is the desire of my heart?

I think it has to do with the word, "delight."

I also think that maybe "delight" is missing from my prayers. Or at least meditations are missing in which I dwell upon what it truly means to be "delighted." And especially to be "delighted in the LORD."  

I desire many things when I pray. I desire the salvation of loved ones, for healing of the sick, to be able to share the Gospel, and many other things which are common, I suppose, to all the prayers of God's saints.

Billy is still preaching through Job in our mid-week worship services. The thing about a good preacher (and I pray you are blessed with one too) is that he studies the Bible to such an extent that he sheds new light, even on familiar passages.

Sometimes this light can have the candle power intensity of a searchlight. Call it an epiphany, if you like. I like to call it an "oh yeah" moment.

You see, Fanny Crosby wasn't really blind in the truest sense of the word. I believe those "visions of rapture" she wrote about were as real, in her sanctified imagination, as this page-full of words is to me.

So what is my desire? To be relieved of pain, of longing, of trial, of temptation?

I have prayed to have these removed from me.

But God says, "My strength is sufficient for you."

My desire, then, must be for God's comforting presence. To strengthen me, to guide me. That I might realize, as Fanny Crosby surely did, the greatness of His love.  

That I might delight in Him.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Dream

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?                         

                       -Edgar Allan Poe

"It all seemed so real."

Ever try to relate an especially vivid dream to someone?

That which seemed so real, so true; that which I could almost taste, smell and feel, slips from my grasp; it becomes, well, dreamlike when I attempt to put into words what I experienced.

I have been struck by the dreamlike quality of life itself. I reflect upon my life's events, whether recent or long-past, and the reality fades. As though I were trying to relate to myself a dream I had dreamt.

Even this faith to which I cling.

Sometimes I try to meditate on all I know about my unseen God and ponder whether even this is but a figment of my fevered brain's imagining.

But you know, I cannot do this for very long or actually conjure up a real sense of unreality (!). I cannot escape this ingrained sense of God's realness. He surrounds me.

Everywhere I look I am reminded. Even in my addled thoughts, I am eventually returned to the foundational thought: He is.

A bold statement, I know, in an age when our fleeting (?) sense of unreality is exalted and proclaimed to be ultimate truth.

I suppose we could blame Descartes, who said, "I think, therefore I am." Reality grounded in self-awareness. But haven't we been over this ground already? As early as the Garden of Eden, it seems.

I would revise Descartes' proposition: "God is, therefore I am."

I once analyzed Poe's mental state for a psychology class. It occurs to me that I have wronged him. Perhaps he was not a poor deranged alcoholic. Perhaps, while admiring the beauty of his work, we must also deeply pity him.

He may have simply been the first postmodern man.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This Perfect Love

Jesus loves me, this I know.... -Anna B. Warner

May be that this is the first hymn most of us learned to sing.

What a great and blessed first lesson in song to have learned. In its first six words, it sums up all the comfort and assurance of the Christian's faith.

And the melody, played one note at a time, upon the keys of the piano is so simple, yet so memorable. To hear it played, in an unexpected place, perhaps a lifetime after we first heard it, is to be moved to tears at its beauty. And to weep, yet be comforted, as we recall the words and reflect on the simple truth contained in them.

This love. Undeserved. Unearned. But palpable in its reality. It is a mystery, really.

It occurs to me that all the love I ever experienced in this life flows from this love. All the blessings of friendship and marriage, companionship and kinship find their source in this perfect, transcendent love.


When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. -Psalm 91:15-16