i am the moon with no light of my own / still You have made me to shine
and as i glow in this cold dark night / i know i can't be a light unless i turn my face to You
- sara groves, "You are the sun"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

jumping ship.

it's ironic that the last (and only) posts i've written here were about jonah's jumping ship, because that is showing up as a theme in my life right now. we've come full circle again, it seems.

there's a key difference this time, though.

whereas jonah abandoned his ship as a last resort to save his fellow shipmates and repent of his sins, it seems like the temptation surrounding me and a few people in my life now is to jump ship at the first sign of the storm (or maybe the second, but certainly not longer than that). in other words, it feels like people are cutting out when the going gets too rough -- and exactly when God would be calling them to stick it out rather than peace out.

our God is a God of staying the course, not one of cut-and-run.

why else would He allow His people to continue their shenanigans generation after generation, allowing them (us) second, third, fourth, and seventy-seventh chances -- and directing us to offer the same? (Matthew 18:21-22) why would He say things like "never forsake" (Deuteronomy 31:8) and "unfailing love" (Isaiah 54:10) when talking about you and me?

i have a lot to learn about not jumping ship. while it has been very tempting to point at others around me and say, "they're all abandoning ME!", the truth of the matter is that i am just as tempted to say in response, "fine, be that way, i don't really care anyway." (which isn't true, of course. oh, haughty spirit of mine, just you wait for that inevitable fall...) so, as usual, God is using others to shine a light on my own darkness.* humbled once again.

since we're in the middle of this learning process, i don't have a take-away yet. but i will leave you with something i've been mulling over the last few days, in light of this abandonment theme:

imagine someone willingly enduring torture that was meant for someone else -- and not opening his mouth at all about it. physical torture that left the person unrecognizable, and spiritual torture that we can't even begin to comprehend. and, every. single. step. of the way, making the choice to keep going. one foot in front of the other. one labored breath after another. one silent prayer, and then another, and then another. all choices to endure pain that He never deserved. 
(Isaiah 53:7, Isaiah 52:14, Psalm 22:1-2, John 10:11)

if anyone should have jumped ship, it should have been Jesus. i am so not worth what He went through for me.

except that's a lie. because i am. and you are too. because Love says so.

could it be that, in those cases when we are tempted to cut and run (originally a nautical term, by the way -- see what i did there?) because of our pride, or fear, or whatever else would keep us from staying the course, God wants us to hang in there so that Life can conquer death and Love can win once more? maybe, for Love to win, there has to be a storm first?

or maybe, just maybe, Love is winning in the middle of the storm. maybe without the storm, Love would not be as miraculous or necessary. maybe Love is simply staying the course when the option to jump ship is present -- and without that option, it isn't truly Love.

may you find encouragement in the middle of your respective storms, dear readers -- and may you stay the course today. God bless you!

Isaiah 53:3,10
John 16:33
1 John 3:16

* note of full disclosure: while it has felt like many others have been jumping ship, as i have prayed and meditated on each of the individual situations -- and taken time to talk with the individuals more and understand their stories -- i have learned that i, in fact, have been the one who is quick to jump to conclusions. truly, i have been the only one cutting and running here -- and then blaming everyone else. i should know by now that when it seems like something is happening all around me, there is only one consistent common factor in all those situations... and, hint to self, it's not those at the end of the pointing finger. thank you Jesus for your mercy, grace, and persistence with me!

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