Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Emptiness

I probably should be in bed. I imagine that is what the apostles thought at this same time those many thousands of years ago. I can imagine their grief. They had lost their teacher, their mentor, their friend. He claimed to be this mighty ruler, the one to restore Israel, to bring a new Kingdom upon the Earth. He died though, and was put in the ground the afternoon before last. Jesus had a way of getting them excited. They were hopeful, they believed the claims he made. But now, now their hopes are deflated... empty.

I sorta feel like that now. Empty. I guess I'm just thinking too much about my life, where I am, where I'm going. You see, I'm finishing my time at CCU. I haven't taken any classes this semester, finished those in the Fall. I settled for a job that is not challenging and pays poorly. I have three weeks left with some of the greatest people I'll ever know. I have no place in Colorado after graduation. I need to move back home. At least for now. I'm sad because things just started to pick up here. I prayed a while back that God would take me on an adventure. After going to Nicaragua, and making new friends, there is a lot more I feel I could do here in Colorado.
Glendale doesn't seem like an adventure most times. Not for me. It's too familiar, too full of the obvious. Living at home again. Also, too familiar. So I feel like this adventure I felt God beginning to take me on is much like how the disciples must have felt about their adventure with Christ... derailed.

I remember a Psalm. It was one I was told to read by God (through his servant Amber). Psalm 77.
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
"Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

I was told then, and I believe I'm being told now, that when in a low state, feeling empty and abandoned, that I need to remember what the Lord has done already, for it is with that perspective that I am able to see the present for what it really is. The morning is nearly here. The Son will shine brightly in glory, victorious over the darkness. Jesus is King, he has not been defeated by death, but his Kingdom has come and is here now, in my heart and yours (I pray)! My adventure is not derailed, it is continuing strongly, with a change in setting, introducing familiar characters that need to see change. My short time remaining is not a thing to be grieved over, wishing there was more of it, but a thing to be grasped and enjoyed, taking every opportunity to savor for what it is, a perfect gift from God. And who knows, I may end up back here in the Fall, or in Nicaragua at the Project... the possibilities are endless. But for now, I will delight in the Lord for the blessings he is pouring over me: time with my dear friends, time to grow closer together and closer to God... time with my family to continue to struggle through what our relationships will look like as a approach adulthood... time to walk the path the Lord has for me, whether it is living in the States, serving in some capacity, or in Nicaragua, supporting a beautiful hope for more in life than living and working in trash.

You see the emptiness of Easter has nothing to do with the feeling of defeat and has everything to do with the grave. Christ is Risen. And his story is not over but continues this day in my life and yours. I have Jesus in my life and he leads me in truth. He leads along a tough path, full of twists, turns, fog and smoke. I lose my way sometimes. But Jesus always knows where I am and calls me back to continue on. And so I go, excited, for I know no harm can come to me.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

1 comment:

Don said...

come live with me in poor urban LA! it'll be an adventure, and we'll find Jesus there. i don't have plans yet, but maybe someday i will.