A Well-Worn Traveler

This morning, I woke up and had kind of a radical realization. I was reading my Bible and praying, as I try and do every morning, when suddenly it hit me. I am not afraid. (Pardon the long post, but this is something I have to write down, especially since fear and dealing with it has been a huge theme on this blog).

Those of you who know me and who regularly read my blog will know that the past year or so has been very intense. Job, David, and I became good friends. Not that I lost everything physically, but God certainly had plans for some major, major pruning. And just when I would relax and think, “Okay, this has to be it. I can rest now,” something else would happen. I mentioned in a post long ago that I had somehow managed to convince myself that because I am a Christian, nothing bad will happen to me, which of course is the opposite of truth. We have only to read the Bible to know that this is not the case. But when we are afraid of things, we will subconsciously twist words to mean what we want them to mean so that we can be falsely comforted. But I was wrong: something bad did happen. And it rocked my world view for months, and then more bad things happened, and they seemed to never stop.

You know those people who you look at and go, “He/she is weathered but they’re still here.” The well-worn travelers of the world, those people who have suffered and come out of it and they’re still standing. They are not afraid, because they know that no matter what happens, they will come out of it. They will be okay. God is sovereign. Life will go on; maybe not immediately, or even soon, but eventually, one day, life will go on, even if it is only in eternity.

I was not one of those people. I was afraid. Because, if I’m being honest, I was missing the point. If I live for myself and my own comfort, of course I’m going to be afraid. I have everything to lose. If my happiness, contentment, strength, and identity lie in the things I do, or the people around me, or what I own, or any circumstances around me, then of course I’m going to be afraid. Losing something of that, or, say, almost being mugged on my way home from campus, will shatter everything.

But I’m not here for me. I’m here for Him. And this morning I realized that I know that. That I can honestly say, as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” (13:15). Because, quite simply, I’m not the point. HE is the point. And quite easily and suddenly, my fear seemed to simply melt away and a brilliant peace took its place.

Humanity

not my image
not my image

I am contemplating what it is to be the change. To be the miracle.

I am tired of feeling like – and being – a hypocrite. A traitor to myself and to what I believe. A traitor to my King. A traitor to the world, the broken world in need of change. In need of a miracle. The hours I waste. The stuff life is made of, like water through my fingers.

It is like the truth is there, in the center; quiet and constant and everlasting. The truth will not defend itself because it speaks for itself. The truth will not shout to drown out the cacophony of noisy lies because regardless of how loud the noise becomes, the truth will not flinch or shrink or decay or fall into ruin. We are the ones who choose to fill our minds with noise. To fill our souls with a false peace. To fill our hearts with empty love promises that go unfulfilled and cold embraces of statues that cannot come to life. With words that once meant something and now crumble like ancient scrolls no one ever reads anymore.

We drown out the screams. We have done so in the past and we do so now. The screams of people outside, and the screams of our own decaying selves. What have we become? What have we come to? Why do we not care about the fast fading light? Why do we not see the midnight hour? Why do we not protest the slow, torturous death we are witnessing? Are we asleep? Have we given up?

The fast fading light. A glowing ember in the dark. Who has breath to blow it back into existence, that fire we can create? Immensely gifted, wasting hours, hours, with a dying ember in the dark and breath to ignite the fiercesome flames. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

Where Has the Light Gone From the Lanterns

For Charmaine Mare, for the Indian woman who was gang raped, for all those who suffer and go hungry and are in despair while the world turns a blind eye. This is not the mind of Christ, this is not the heart of God.

There is a whisper in the darkness,
a mournful wailing through the trees
that no one hears, for all their silence.Where Has the Light Gone From the Lanterns
There is a crying in the night;
a weeping voice that mourns the plight
of every innocence that’s taken,
each time that blood is drawn this night.

Where has the light gone from the lanterns,
why are the stars so dim tonight?
Where is the song we sang so brightly
for justice done and hearts alight
with passion burning for the helpless,
filled with a will to guide them right?
Where has the wind gone from the treetops,
why is the world so still tonight?

What can we say in this dark hour,
what can we do when hope is lost?
There’s no defense to shield our sorrows,
no compassion we can claim;
for every sinless life that’s taken
is the proof of our own shame.

Why have we not stood up to conquer,
but left the world to face its blame?
We have the light, we claim to carry
hope eternal, hope that’s real;
and yet we cower in the shadows,
fearful of our own demise.

When did we leave the candles burning
at the altar of our souls;
for we have sacrificed our freedom
for the comforts of this world.
We suck the marrow from its bones,
though dead it lies before our feet;
we who claim to be the light,
we cannot see our own defeat.

Where are we when the evil clamors,
breaking doors and throwing stones?
Where are we when the helpless suffer,
do we let them stand alone?
Is there no hope that they can cling to,
is there no truth that we possess?
We are like corpses, only shadows
light-filled beings, clothed in dark.
Will we forget the swords we carry,
will we neglect those whom He loves?

Where has the light gone from the lanterns,
where is the song we could not sing?
Where is the fire that once was burning,
and the hearts of strength, once young?
Will they come forward from the shadows,
let the beating of the drums
breathe fire into their sleeping souls,
recall them from the darkness sprung?

We are devoid of all our glory,
leaving songs of light unsung.
We are sleeping on their graves,
the brittle ropes to which they clung,
we left them in their deathly throes
and threw them to the devil’s tongue.
We watched with sleepy eyes, glazed over
as they perished in the flames
and gave no help to those who floundered,
even when they called our names.

This song is death, this song is darkness
but the truth must come to light
or never see the shadows flee;
so take the scales from our eyelids,
let us step into the night
brandish our weapons,
chase them from their perches high
and take the night back for ourselves
and make it shine as bright as day.

O come all warriors, come all carriers
of this light we crave with hope;
come and hear the mournful wail,
come and light the shadows dark.

Still the weeping spirits, sighing
for their pain is at an end;
embrace the ones whose lives were ended
at the flourish of a knife
and to the innocent down trodden,
give them hope that there is light.