Monday, April 25, 2016

Come Away

This morning, I reached for a devotional book that's been set aside for about a year: Charles Spurgeon's Morning by Morning.

For the past few weeks, I've felt a longing to say something. I've felt words stirring up in my heart, but they've only been fragments of thoughts; a kind of straining, a grasping, that's never become fully formed enough to write down. I think that's partly because there's been so much on my mind lately. Perspective—how to find the right one, and how to hold on to it once it's been discovered and defined. Time—how quickly it passes and the fact that, so often, the unknown future looms over my head like a dark cloud rather than a journey waiting to be taken. Truth—what (or rather Who) it is in every hot-button issue associated with these changing times.

Maybe these thoughts have remained fragments because I so rarely slow down for long enough to let them sink in and take shape. Or maybe the swirling is just a calling to look up; a reminder that I'll never uncover the answers, the direction, or the comfort I crave by looking inward. That the only true security and stability and unshakeable certainty I'll ever find is in Christ alone.

Yet this swelling in my heart remains, reminding me that there is more than what I so frequently choose to fix my eyes upon. And still I want to say something, no matter how imperfectly. The devotional I read this morning finally helped give direction to that desire.

"He is risen" (Matthew 28:6) and I am risen in Him. Then why should I cling to the dust? From lesser loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations I desire to rise toward Him...Further and further from everything selfish, lowly, wordly, and sinful He calls me. Yes, from the outwardly religious world that does not know Him, and which has no understanding of the mystery of the higher way, He calls me. "Come with Me." The call has no harsh sound to it in my ears. Yet what is there that holds me to this wilderness of vanity and sin? —Charles Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

What a rich longing, followed by such a powerful question! I am so thankful that the Lord put these words into the heart and the pen of Charles Spurgeon. Although originally written in the year 1865, they continue to resonate so deeply.

"Come with Me," the Lord calls, and how I long to. When I'm at the summit of the word "overwhelmed," I wonder if I should go away with Him to a foreign country. I wonder if working the ground and feeding the hungry with its produce would be more worthy than working in marketing and feeding the world one more social media post. I wonder if "loving like Jesus does" would seem easier if the people I was trying to love didn't look, and talk, and think so much like me. I wonder if seeing and experiencing Hunger and Lack and Lowliness on a regular basis would break me of the cycle of consuming, accumulating, comparing, and longing for elevation.

Maybe abandoning everything I know right now and going after God and the things of Him in India or Romania or Africa would "fix me." Give me a right perspective that lasts. Slow down time to a crawl rather than a sprint. Remind me of Truth in every circumstance. But then again, maybe it wouldn't. Because deep down, I know that if I follow the call of my own feelings rather than the direction Christ is leading me toward, all I'll find at the end of the rainbow is more of myself, no matter where in the world I run to, or what holy and good endeavor I throw myself into.

"Come with Me," the Lord calls, and how I long to. To see Him right where I am, in the midst of the overwhelm and the burn-out. To fix my eyes on the eternal in the very midst of the mundane. To see and to hear and to selflessly love the culture I'm in, in the same way He has loved me. To know him as Provider and All in All and King of Kings in the midst of busyness and abundance and cell phones and schedules.

Teach me, Lord, how to "come away" with You as I stay exactly where I am.

"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:8-10 

"Come Away" by Bryan McCleery

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