In the Midst

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My Dad called them “God’s Calling Cards.”  He meant those instances in our lives that are attributed to coincidence but, when seen through the lens of us living and moving and having our being in Jesus Christ; are recognized as God’s Calling Cards.

I have had these little coincidences on my mind over the last few weeks and was discussing them with a co-worker when I remembered my Dad’s term for them.  I’ve continued to meditate on them and have been looking at them in terms of my study on darkness.

But first, some context for these Calling Cards.  I am now recovering from surgery-less than four years after my last one-to remove yet another tumor.  The particular path I’m on started in 2017 when my Primary Care Physician found a lump in my breast.  No doubt a cyst fueled by hormones but it still needed to be looked at.  I started praying immediately.  I know Jesus bore all my sicknesses and iniquities so of course I was healed.  Except I wasn’t.  I was referred to a specialist who ran tests and said the lump didn’t look right which led to another referral and a biopsy.  I then had to wait for the results of that biopsy and I spent days wondering “what if?”  Would it be benign or did I have the C-word?  I wrote about this in my post Just a Butterfly which I will put in the Featured Posts section in case anyone is interested in reading it.

I didn’t have to have this lump surgically removed but it did seem to be a catalyst for a cascade of tests and procedures culminating in the major surgery in December of 2018.  I had fought for years to avoid it.  I’d tried diet, exercise, prayer…nothing worked.  Once more my concerned PCP referred me to a specialist who was also a surgeon and who ended up removing thirteen fibroids from my abdomen.  It was both a devastating surgery and yet a blessing because I was freed from quite a bit of pain.  I began walking the road to recovery whilst also striving to understand, where was God in all of this?  Where was my healing?  If I’m to expect results when I pray, what results should I be expecting? 

I was sure that surgery in 2018 would be my last.  Then only a year later another growth appeared in a different part of my body.  It also ended up being benign and the procedure to remove it was relatively minor.  Just a snip and a couple days recovery but it did concern me.  This growth could not be attributed to hormone imbalance or endometriosis.  Was my body randomly growing tumors?  What if one grew in my brain?  Was there anything I could do to stop them?

And then, I began experiencing weird pain in my abdomen.  Once more, my concerned PCP sent me for a test then referred me to a specialist who took another test and then went “hmm…that doesn’t look right” and referred me to an Oncologist.  Once more, I’ve had surgery to remove a rather large tumor-or endometrial lesion-and once more I am grateful the growth is benign.  I am again walking the road to recovery but I will say this time it is different.  I do not wonder where God is in all of this: I have seen Him in a series of coincidences.

I intended to discuss my weird pain with my Doctor at an appointment in January of this year but then I contracted the ‘rona and had to postpone.  The earliest I could get was June.  No big deal.  I was sure it was nothing serious.  Then my Doctor’s office called and confirmed my appointment in March.  I didn’t have an appointment in March.  There had to be a cancellation and I had to be penciled in but no one called me to ask if I was available: they called to confirm. The appointment was scheduled for the next day and I had no conflict so I went.  I ended up having a CT scan that afternoon which put me on the referral and tests path I’ve already mentioned.  I met with the Oncologist on a Friday and was scheduled for surgery the following Monday.  I write this two weeks into my recovery and I can’t help but think of all the things that just happened to fall into place so that I am on the road to recovery a full month before that June appointment. 

There has not been a moment when I have not known God with me.  I don’t do well with surgery.  Anesthesia is not my friend and recovery is difficult for me.  Recovery from this last surgery was especially difficult and I ended up having to spend an extra day in the hospital.  This was hard news to take and I had a moment where I thought I might tear out my IV and run screaming.  Or shuffle screaming, as the incision made running impossible.  I clung to God in that moment and knew He was with me.  I was not only aware of His presence but felt His touch in the hands of my care-givers.  I don’t know anything personal about anyone who nursed me: I do know that each person who cared for me showed me kindness, gentleness, and the true meaning of ministry which is to serve. 

What do I expect from God?  He has not come crashing into any of these situations, snapped His fingers, and made any of these growths disappear.  He has not delivered me unless you count sixteen separate growths-not counting moles removed-and not one of them being cancerous as deliverance.  He has not spared me trials on top of the pain and issues I deal with from the car accident.  What He has done is knit Himself to me in the midst of these situations and made me so aware of His presence that I’ve gone through them without fear.  I have not been a paragon of faith:  I may have begged a bit when it became clear I wasn’t going to get to go home but even then, He was with me.  He was faithful every moment.

Faithful every moment.  That is what I see in this study of darkness.  The Hebrew letters spelling darkness-Chet, Shin, and Caph-reveal to me a picture of the God who is Love with me every moment.  Even when it feels the circumstances of my life are chewing me up and spitting me out (Shin), there is nothing I go through alone.  He is not hidden from me nor I from Him but He holds me in the palm of His hand (Caph).  I am not only held but His Spirit is poured out on me and in me and His life is knit to mine (Chet).  I’ve started looking deeper into the word bara which is translated “create” and one of my Teachers told me bara meant “to fill”.  I am looking deeper into that but find that definition beautiful.  He fills my darkness with Himself.

My study of darkness brought me to Psalm 18 and verse 11 in particular. My NKJV begins this verse as, “He made darkness His secret place.”  The New Living says “He shrouded Himself in darkness” and the English Standard Version has, “He made darkness His covering”.  I wondered about this verse because, at first glance, it did seem to be saying that God hides Himself in darkness which didn’t make much sense.  Once I’d looked a little further into the meaning of darkness, looked into the context of the Psalm, and discussed it with two of my Teachers, this passage became so wonderfully clear.  My Bible places this Psalm within the time period of King David’s fleeing from King Saul.  Reading through the Psalm, I can see David was not having a pleasant time: the pangs of death and sorrows of Sheol surround him.  His enemies are too strong for him, he is hated, and he refers to “his day of calamity”.  He is in darkness.

But!  The Lord God comes with darkness under His feet!  He made the darkness His secret place, He fills it, and His brilliance destroys it from within.  The Lord lights the lamp and enlightens the darkness.  I am reminded of what I shared two weeks ago that the eye is referred to as a lamp in the NT.  It is as the eyes of our understanding are enlightened and made single by the Holy Spirit-and the Greek carries the idea of being braided with-that He enlightens our darkness.  This Psalm in particular stayed with me because, throughout this entire process, I could see the truth written in this beautiful Psalm: God armed me with strength, He set me in a broad path, and He upheld me.  Even when I didn’t fully understand why things were happening the way they were, He filled every moment with Himself.

I have “what if” thoughts: I can’t help that.  All I can do is answer every “what if” with the truth “God is with me.”  I mentioned having to stay an extra night in the hospital.  I’d been told my stay would be one night only so, when I couldn’t stop being ill and had to stay that extra night, I panicked a little.  I am a disabled person with no disability benefits (which is a long story in itself) and I only work part time.  On top of dealing with the physical difficulties, I worried about the cost of that extra night, what my insurance would do, and what bills might be coming my way, etc.  A couple of days after being released, I received a letter from my insurance.  The surgeon had submitted me for two days stay and my insurance had approved it.  It’s such a small thing but it’s another one of those little coincidences.  Here I was panicking and feeling like a failure.  If willpower was any sort of power at all, I’d have been able to get better and would never have stayed that extra night.  All I could do was trust that He was bigger than even this and then the letter arrived showing me it had all been taken care of before the surgery began. 

Truly, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself goes before me and is with me.  He never leaves me nor forsakes me.  There is never a circumstance that discourages me or fills me with fear (See Deuteronomy 31: 8, Isaiah 45:2).  He fills not only the darkness but all things (Ephesians 4:10).  In Him I live and move and have my being and, because He lives and lives in me; I can face tomorrow and whatever else might come. 

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Amen.

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982

References

Bentorah, Chaim, Hebrew Word Study: Beyond the Lexicon, Trafford Publishing, 2014, Pages 92, 108, 148

Haralick, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995, Pages 113, 161, 293

choshek, “darkness,” strong’s H2822 (alittleperspective.com)

(2) “Darkness” in ancient Hebrew! (Part I) – YouTube

God’s Appointed Times: Aleph Tav Meaning (godsappointedtimes.com)

What Are You Looking At?

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Hello, Readers!  Welcome to another post on darkness.

Part of my word study process is reading every scripture where my study word appears.  I did so with both the Hebrew and Greek words translated “darkness” and did read some things that made me wonder: what does this passage mean?  Once such passage is in Luke’s Gospel: “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness” (11:35).  I’ve been turning this verse over and over in my mind for weeks all the time wondering just what Jesus is saying here.

The verse occurs within a point Jesus is making about the eye.  He says, “The lamp of the body is the eye.  Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.  Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.  If your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light” (Luke 11:34-36)

This same speech is quoted a bit differently in Matthew: “The lamp of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

Having already read these passages, they were foremost in my mind when I read through the “darkness” entry in the Dictionary of New Testament Theology and found this: (on skotos) “The words are given a clearly negative sense in those passages which contrast a sound eye (as the organ which guides) in a body full of light with an evil eye in a body full of darkness (Matt. 6:22 f, Lk. 11:34-36).  By looking in the wrong direction the body succumbs to the power of darkness.”

The idea expressed here made more sense to me when I looked at the same passages in the King James Version where “good” as in “if your eye be good” is translated “single”.  Having a single eye must mean an eye undivided, meaning not having our attention divided, meaning gazing always and forever into the face of Jesus and thus being full of light.  If we look away from Him and focus our attention on the things of this world, then our eye is no longer single and we are full of darkness.  It’s like the song says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim…”

This idea of the body succumbing to the power of darkness because the eye looks in the wrong direction also made sense when I considered how the human eye works.  Our eye is complex and functions by bending and focusing light rays.  The light rays enter the eye via the cornea which is curved so the light is bent slightly.  Light then passes through the pupil, which is actually a hole surrounded by the muscular structure of the iris which contracts and relaxes to let in more or less light.  Behind the pupil is the lens where the fine focusing is done.  The lens is a clear disc held in place by suspensory ligaments and ciliary muscles which contract to bend the light more or relax to bend the light less.  All of these parts of the eye serve to focus light on the retina which responds to the light by sending electrical impulses to the brain via the optic nerve.  There are two types of light sensitive cells in the retina: rods and cones.  Rods are found mostly in the periphery of the retina, are used in peripheral vision, are more light sensitive than cones but cannot distinguish colors.  Cones are concentrated in a small, central area of the retina, provide color vision, and work best in bright light.  The eye, if deprived of light, does not properly function.

All of this reminded me of a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne titled The Great Stone Face.  This story is about a rock formation in the mountains overhanging a village.  The rock formation is shaped like a wise and noble face.  There’s a prophecy among the villagers that, one day, a man would come who would be the exact image of the Great Face.  There’s a young boy fascinated with the Face and the prophecy and spends as much time as he can gazing at the Face.  As he grows, there are some who come to the village who are proclaimed as the embodiment of The Face but that proves to be false.  The young boy grows to manhood and then old age, always waiting for the One prophesied to come, always gazing on the Great Face, not realizing the he himself was growing into the same image.  It’s a beautiful story and, again, the idea expressed does seem to make sense of the scripture passages.

Except…

The Greek word translated “single” in the KJV and “good” in the NKJV doesn’t mean undivided or focused.  The word is haplos (G573) and the definition in Strong’s is “folded together, single, clear.”  Haplos is a compound word comprised of alpha and pleko.  Pleko (G4120) is a primary word meaning “to twine or braid.”  When I read this, I was reminded of one of the Hebrew words translated “wait” in the OT.  The word is qavah (H6960) and one of its meanings is, “to bind together by twisting”.  This particular word is the one used in Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  This isn’t a twiddling the thumbs sort of waiting: it’s being intertwined with the very life of God.

I am not saying fixing our attention-our sight, if you will-on Jesus Christ is wrong.  There is a moment in our lives when the light of Jesus Christ shines into our darkness and we see what we never saw before.  And yet, there is so much more to the passages in Matthew and Luke.  Ephesians 1:18 says, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”  This passage is not speaking of our physical human eyes or our ability to fix our attention on Jesus but is referring to a kind of seeing possible only by the action of the Holy  Spirit.  I think the passages in Matthew and Luke are making the same reference.  They are not speaking about us gazing at a Jesus located outside of ourselves but rather being knit to Him so that we don’t see with our eyes only but our vision is intertwined with His. The best quote I’ve found that puts into words what I am seeing in this passage is one I copied from Malcolm Smith’s teaching series The Search for Self Worth.  He says, “In that moment of miracle (meaning the moment the light of the truth of Jesus Christ shone in my life) I have been taken out of the darkness.  Now, that process begins of taking out of me the ways of darkness.”

Skotos, the Greek word for darkness, carries the meaning of obscurity and the Greek word for “single” or “good” also means clear.  When I looked at the Hebrew letters comprising “darkness” in my original study passage of Isaiah 45:7, I saw the picture of God joining Himself to us and transforming us.  I see the same picture in the passages in Matthew and Luke: Jesus Christ Himself coming into our darkness and joining Himself to us.  His life is formed in us.  In Him we are a New Creation. This life that He is in us is ours through His Spirit in us. We are full of light when we abide in Him and His Spirit is the river of life within us. It is my firm conviction this light becomes darkness when His Spirit is quenched. Truly, how great is that darkness.

I meditate on all of this and no longer think the question I am asking myself is “what are you looking at?” but “how are you seeing?”

I see Jesus.           

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982

References

Brown, Colin, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume I, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967-1971, Pages 420-425

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Great Stone Face, Greatest Short Stories, Volume I, P.F. Collier & Son Corporation, New York, New York, 1915, 1940, Pages 89-120

Pilcher, Dr. Helen, Mind Maps Biology: How to Navigate the Living World, Unipress Books Limited, China, 2020, Pages 74-75

Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990

The Ways of Darkness

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Welcome, Readers, to the Month of May and the return to my study of Isaiah 45:7. 

I am still looking at the second part of the first line of this passage: “I create darkness”.  I’ve already looked at the meaning of the Hebrew letters comprising the word translated “darkness” and was curious what I might discover in the Greek. 

A brief recap: the Hebrew word for darkness in Isaiah 45:7 is choshek and, in the OT, is used for the darkness of night as well as metaphorical darkness.  The NT does use separate words to express these concepts.  In a previous post, I mentioned there are five different words for darkness in the New Testament.  I ought to have been more specific and I will endeavor to be so in the future.  There are five reference numbers for darkness in the Strong’s Concordance but only two unique words used: zophos and skotos.  The other three words corresponding to the Strong’s numbers are all related to skotos.  They are skoteinos, skotia, and skotoo.  “Night” is nyx (or nox-pronounced noox).  I looked up “darkness” in the Dictionary of New Testament Theology and found nyx can also have the metaphorical meaning of “darkness” equivalent to skotos in some passages (John 11:10, 9:4, 1 Thess. 5:5-7) which made me wonder just which word would correspond to choshek in Isaiah 45:7.  I purchased a copy of the Septuagint and found the word was skotos. 

The Dictionary of New Testament Theology says this about skotos:  “In classical Greek, darkness applies primarily to the state characterized by the absence of light (phos) without any special metaphysical overtones.  The thought is chiefly of the effect of darkness upon man.  In the dark man gropes around uncertainly (Plato, Phaedo, 99b), since his ability to see is severely limited.  Thus the man who can see may become blind in the darkness and no longer know which way to turn.  Hence darkness appears as the “sphere of objective peril and of subjective anxiety”. (H. Conzelmann, TDNT VII 424).  Since all anxiety ultimately derives from the fear of death, the ominous character of darkness culminates in the darkness of death which no man can escape (cf. Homer, IL., 4, 461).  Darkness is therefore Hades, the world of the dead, which already reaches out into our world in the mythical figures of the Eumenides, the children of Skotos and Gaia (Soph., Oedipus Coloneus, 40).

A little further into the entry for “darkness”, I found a mention of Gnosticism and read; “Here the concept of darkness goes beyond the purely relative to become an independent force, seen as the unlimited ruler of the earthly world.  This world is so filled with darkness that even its luminaries are but skoteinon phos-dark light (Corp. Herm. 1, 28).  In radical contrast to this world of darkness shines the transcendent world, the priority of which is stressed in Gnostic literature.  Man has been endowed with a soul, coming from a spark of light.  It is his task by means of gnosis (knowledge) to attain to enlightenment.”

I went through a period of time where I was fascinated by the stories of the Greek gods and goddesses and read everything I could get my hands on.  Thus, I was already aware Nyx was the Night goddess but did not remember coming across Skotos.  Darkness was deified by the Greeks as Erebus and such was the information I could find in the volumes I have.  Once I went online I did find websites that told me Scotus (or Skotos) was another name for Erebus.  I find this fascinating.  It’s important to remember the Bible was not written in a vacuum.  These Greek words were part of a vibrant culture and had ideas and belief systems connected with them far and beyond the way they were being used by the writers of the NT. 

So many passages in the NT equate darkness with a way of thinking.  Looking at two examples; Romans 1:21 says, “they…became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened” and Ephesians 4:18 says, “having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”  As I read the section on darkness in the Theology Dictionary, I thought about the belief systems the NT writers were so steadfastly against: Gnosticism, Pantheism, etc.  One of my Bible Teachers recently spoke on the way our thought processes come down to us from our ancestors as well as being formed by the world around us.  I have been thinking about how true that is.  I believe words mean certain things because of how I’ve heard them used.  There are words spoken that evoke pictures in my mind and these pictures come from movies or books.  Anyone who has seen my bookshelves know I am not one to eschew books or movies because of the messages contained in them but I think making the realization is important.  Everything I hear and see affects my thought processes.  It is only through careful study and learning to discern the voice of Jesus Christ in the midst of innumerable other voices that I come to see which of my own thought processes are resting on a foundation of lies.  This is true of the world at large: age-old thought processes are still with us.  I read sermons preached today that sound a great deal like the excerpt on Gnosticism.  I hear fellow believers saying things that sound a great deal like Greco-Roman Pantheism. 

Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am the Lord and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”  This is a truth universally recognized among believers except when it comes to talking about Satan.  Satan is spoken of in terms that infer he is somehow God’s opposite.  He is said to be the Prince of Darkness and ruler over hell.  I do understand where these ideas come from.  John 12:31 and John 14:30 speak of the “ruler of this world”.  Ephesians 2:2 uses the term “the prince of the power of the air” and then there is Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  I acknowledge there are spiritual powers of darkness at work but let us who know the Living God not give Satan more power than he is due and let us never in our words equate him with God.

The Theology Dictionary says, “The key to the OT view of light and darkness is faith in God as Creator who stands above both.  He is not only the Lord of light; darkness also has to bow before Him.”  In the NT, in the very Day we are living in, we see Jesus who, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:4).  Finishing out the passages in John, we find the ruler of this world is “cast out” and “has nothing” in Jesus.  Whatever usurped rule the devil might have had, he is utterly defeated.  He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short and it is Jesus Himself who holds the keys to death and hades (Revelation 12:12, 1:18). 

The entire NT proclaims Jesus Christ’s total victory and it also speaks against this Gnostic idea that we attain enlightenment.  We cannot because “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7) and “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  Left to ourselves, we would forever walk in darkness.  Praise God our Father and the precious Lord Jesus Christ that we are NOT left to ourselves!  “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

What about the Gnostic idea that darkness is the ruling force here on Earth?  All I have to do is turn on the news to see that much is true, right?  No.  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18).  There is no other power beside Him.  Why then are people still in darkness?  The Strong’s defines skotos as “shadiness, obscurity”.  Skotos comes from the root skia which means “darkness of error or an adumbration”.  I had to look up “adumbration” and found it means, “shadow or faint image…concealment or overshadowing.”  The darkness obscures and mars what is true.  Its power is based in lies but, again, I do not discount it.  Human beings are capable of terrible things when they believe a lie. 

“Test everything,” Paul says in 1 Thessalonians, “hold fast to what is true.”  What is true?  Jesus Christ Himself is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) and each one of us must know Him for ourselves.  Study is important.  The Bereans in Acts took everything Paul said and compared it to the scriptures to see if it was true.  I cannot stress how important it is not to accept anything anyone says, especially if they are telling you who Jesus is, and to search the scriptures for yourself.  More importantly, know Him.  It is the will of God for everyone to know Him (Jeremiah 31:34, Hebrews 8:11).  You do not need someone with a long string of letters attached to the last name to tell you who He is.  The Holy Spirit does that.  (John 15:26, John 16:13). 

Let us ask to know Him and trust His promise is sure that in asking we will receive.  Let us trust in our Glorious Heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Let us know that, having received His Spirit, the same mind that was in Christ Jesus is in us.  And then, let us marvel at how He transforms us as He renews our minds.

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982

References

Erebus | Classical Mythology Wiki | Fandom

EREBUS (Erebos) – Greek Primordial God of Darkness (theoi.com)

Greek & Roman Mythology – Tools (upenn.edu)

Adumbration Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

Brown, Colin, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume I, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967-1971, Pages 420-425

Bulfinch, Thomas, Bulfinch’s Mythology, Avenel Books, Crown Publishers, Inc., USA, 1978, Page 4

Cotterell, Arthur, The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology, Hermes House, Annes Publishing Limited, London, UK, 2005, Pages 41, 55

Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990

In the Garden

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This poem is inspired by Song of Solomon 2:10-13.

In the Garden
I blink and find I am
in a long and darkened hall
The door I thought had opened
for me was not mine at all
"God doesn't close but what He opens"
others call as they brush by
They mean to offer comfort
but all I want to do is cry
I don't understand all the locked doors
or why You leave me so bereft
Your presence is always with me
but You don't say why I'm left
alone in this darkened hall
with windows and doors locked up tight
I have to grope as I make my way
searching for a glimmer of light
Finally at the end of the hall
a door opens the merest crack
I ought to rush but I'm hesitant
but there is no going back
I look through the door opened for me
unsure just what to expect
Never I could I have guessed
this barren and dry aspect
of wilderness waiting for me
once I step through the open door
Would be the thing You want for me
I think I'm too heart sore
to walk the wilderness again
though I do long to obey
Your voice-I hear you call to me
"Rise up, my love, and come away"
Step by step I wander through
this dry and thirsty land
There are no colors to assuage my eyes
as I struggle through the sand
For a time there's relentless heat
but then I swear I feel a breeze
I blink my dry and reddened eyes
and see that there are trees
I hear birdsong come from them
there is cook green grass below
now everywhere I turn my eyes
bushes and flowers grow
I don't know when it happened
that hot and barren wilderness
had utterly transformed 
into a garden of such lusciousness
the likes of which I never dreamed
nor caught the merest glimmer of
until I had obeyed all You said
and trusted in Your love

Meditation From A Bridge

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Meditation From A Bridge
I stand alone and listen
To the water rushing
Over obstacles it's flowing
Ever onward it is heading
Wherever it will go
If only time were not a river
In one direction surging
From past to future moving
Every instant carrying
Passed mistakes of long ago
If I could ride that river backwards
To those mistakes I am wishing
I had the option of fixing
Certain I could knowing
Everything I now know
I stand and watch the water
This is idle thinking
New mistakes I would be making
Besides time is ongoing
I cannot reverse the flow.

Your peace is like a river
Ever swelling
Never ceasing
In Your showing
Though the past is set in stone
And I cannot hope to change it
My way You were attending
Your promise You were keeping
Even though I was unseeing
I was not alone
You were always with me
In this joining
There's no hindering
Your redeeming
You have made my past Your own
Your peace the greater river
The flow revealing
You give meaning
The past measuring
Just how much I have grown.

Life in You is like a river
First the wading
Then the swimming
Then the full immersing
As you carry me along
I am surrounded by the water
Truest living
All consuming
Perfect cleaning
Of all I have done wrong
Your Spirit is the water
He's imbuing
And renewing
Then He's teaching
Words of a new song
In this river of Your life
Constant flowing
Forever growing
Eternal knowing
In You is where I belong.