I watched as they rushed forward, desperate to know if God would touch them, heal them, love them with love that could be felt. I watched them as they rushed towards me, because I was one of a line of people there to help them discover the answers to their questions.
Over and over again He answered yes…I will.
And He did. He tangibly touched them, healed them, loved them.
For many years I felt guilty because I wanted to feel God’s love. I believed it, so that should be enough, right?
Except not feeling it kept me in a shame-induced limbo: if I really believed it, I would not need to feel it., and the fact that I needed to feel it only indicated that I was immature and not very spiritual.
This only drove me deeper into a “faith” that fed my brain and not so much my heart. I felt guilty about that, too, because scripture is clear that God is after our hearts.
My head and my heart were at war, and there was no way I could win. In fact, I was about to learn some terrible but valuable lessons about collateral damage.
I am so grateful for the patience of my Daddy. He gently taught me how to live loved as He set to cleaning up the war zone.
There are days I don’t feel much. There are days I feel good things and days I feel bad things. There are days that I have some serious doubts about His affinity for the human race.
But I never feel unloved.
Once I gave myself permission to really pursue what my heart needed, He met me in my hunger and need. It was a painful pursuit and still sometimes is when I find myself aching between the now and the not yet. But He is not a liar. He told the truth when He said that those who seek Him will eventually find Him.
He wants to be found…and loved.
It does my heart good to see the level of hunger and pursuit here in Brazil. They come with such hunger and childlike faith that He will really touch them. They are not disappointed.
And as I watch the scene before me unfold, neither am I.
My suitcases are open on the bedroom floor, waiting for the final items to be tucked inside and the zippers pulled closed.
Cats do not count as final items. I just feel the need to make that clear in case Mr. Sparky gets any bright ideas.
I only have a little bit more to do before leaving tomorrow.
I’ve been trying to balance out the weight I have to cart around on this trip. One suitcase for checking, one carry-on for…well, carrying on, and one fabulous hand-crafted crossbody hobo bag for the stuff I want to keep on hand.
And yet…the most important thing I carry to Brazil isn’t in any of those bags.
Anywhere we carry the Light and the name of Jesus, we’ve just tilted the scales on the baggage allowance. Infinite love backed by infinite power is a weighty thing. Thank heavens it’s not measured in pounds or kilos or some planes would never make it off the ground. Shoot, some people wouldn’t even be able to walk.
I will be part of a prayer ministry team for various meetings and trainings. I love doing that sort of thing. It’s seriously one of my favorite things to do…someone walks up with a problem, we talk to Jesus about it and maybe make some spiritual transactions, and then the person walks away restored. It’s one wild, glorious, holy moment after another as the Holy Spirit works to see that Jesus gets what He paid for: all His siblings made free and whole to dance before their Father without fear or shame, love flowing freely both ways.
It’s tempting to try to make these spiritual transactions as matters of principle. And there is a level on which that works, because the One who established those principles is unfailingly faithful. But some principles are simply that: principles. They aren’t rules. And He doesn’t bind Himself to them simply because we humans have a penchant for rules and step-by-step programs. He can pull the Sovereign Card and do things pretty much any way He wants.
Frankly, His ways don’t always make sense.
I find that if you’re going to be in the business of brokering spiritual transactions, you’d best tank up on the preferred currency of heaven.
The fractured world is starving for it. Freedom and wholeness are good as principles, but as the outflow of love they are deeply powerful to change hearts, minds, families, communities, countries.
That is what i really want to carry to Brazil. I want to go loaded with love and all the hope and power that partner with it. I want to help reconnect some kids with their Daddy who longs to love them like they never knew they could be loved.
And that just won’t fit in a suitcase.
Lists and piles. Organizing and before-I-go chores. Suitcases waiting to be filled with the laundry that’s waiting to be done.
The trip to Brazil with Global Awakening is only a day away.
Two weeks from now I will be on the other end of the trip. Some things will automatically be different from now. I will have been to Brazil—my first time in that country, or South America, or the southern hemisphere. I will have traveled alone internationally. I will have navigated a culture that doesn’t bother much with English, and I will have tested the language boundaries of all decent Portuguese comprehension by native speakers who may be wondering why that American keeps asking for striped hamster glue.
Interesting stuff, but none of that is why I’m going.
From where I sit now, the questions filter wordlessly through my mind.
What will I see there?
What will God do there?
How will I get to participate in what He’s doing?
Will I hear Him clearly enough?
What does it look like to bring the kingdom of God to the people of Brazil?
What does spiritual hunger look like in the people I’ll meet?
How will this trip change me?
I can’t know any of this ahead of time. Life simply has to happen. The story has to unfold.
And I want to be in the mix as it does.
I wonder why birds’ feet don’t freeze in the winter?
What I mean to say is I want a bowl of cornflakes. I don’t really want a bowl of cornflakes; I want warm chocolate chip cookies, but I don’t have any of those and I’m trying not to eat much of that kind of stuff anyway.
My brain is done. It is connecting random firings of half-awake neurons and processing them without a time stamp.
Sounds like maybe it’s going postal. And it’s doing it to the soundtrack of little bits of songs to which I don’t know all the words. Not that that’s a hindrance in any way. I’ll just keep singing the same dozen words or so over and over again.
And over again.
I am going to eat rice krispies and watch youtube videos about how to pack a suitcase.
I figure I’ll be snoozing in no time flat.
We sat motionless,
side by side
as the sun came up
and the world spun ’round.
I didn’t say a word
and neither did you
and we each pretended
to be alone,
lost in parallel galaxies
that shared little common language.
I wished you would laugh
and you wished I would stop.
We both wished the other
would go find a nice hobby,
or growing heirloom roses from cuttings
or maybe building flying machines
out of leftover lawnmower parts.
“I’m not going anywhere” I announced
to nobody in particular.
“Neither am I”you whispered to the sky.
And it struck me that this could go on for a while.
My to-do list is slowly dwindling.
By the time I leave for Brazil next Thursday, everything that really has to be done will be done. I don’t know if that means the list will be completed; it’s probable that I’ll yet add things to the list, and just as probable that I’ll decide that some things weren’t as important as I first thought.
The to-do list helps me get ready. But it can’t really help me be prepared.
I don’t even know what prepared looks like.
Expectations are a mixed bag on this deal. On one hand I don’t know what to expect, so I’m not really setting myself up to expect anything. But on the other hand…I have very high expectations. I can’t explain to you how it is possible to have no expectations and high expectations at the same time. But somehow, it’s true.
I guess maybe I’m expecting this to be more than I could ask or imagine, since God is a more-than-I-can-ask-or-imagine kind of Person. But that means expecting more than I know how to expect. Which, of course, I can’t do. And yet I can.
Today the iPhone 6 was released. People get in line for these things, expecting a newer version of the iPhone to be a better version of the iPhone, hoping it can wow and amaze them. We can kind of imagine an iPhone 6 before we have it, and maybe even an iPhone 7. But can you imagine an iPhone 24?
You can probably believe an iPhone 24 will one day exist. You expect that it would be pretty awesome and probably do more than you can currently imagine any phone doing. But…you have no realistic grid for that “more”.
I have no realistic grid for this trip.
I just know it’s going to be “more”.
I’m writing this late at night. I know that’s not really any big news; I often write late at night. But tonight I got waylaid by Apple’s iOS 8.0 update to my iPhone.
I was reminded that there is a reason I don’t usually do major updates without major supervision.
In a nutshell, I lost all but one of my photos from 2014. I don’t know why it left me with one random photo of a recipe I found in a magazine at the optometrist’s office back in June. Maybe it’s a sign from God that I really need to make that recipe. The bigger bummer was that I lost all my more recent photos of the GrandSparks, including those from when GS3 was born.
After doing a little research, I think those photos still exist, but they are lost in some iCloud drive that I didn’t know to say I didn’t want. I usually say no to everything because I don’t know what any of it is, but this time I guess I didn’t. And until the update to Yosemite, those photos are in iCloud jail.
Good thing I have them all backed up on my computer and on an external hard drive, huh?
It’s annoying to lose those photos. But even if they don’t reappear when Yosemite is installed (and I can assure you I will NOT be doing that update myself), they’re really more misplaced than lost.
It’s a first world problem.
My knee is a little achy tonight. I went to see the Ortho Guy today and he once again poked me with the little tiny pinchy needle so that I wouldn’t feel it when he poked me with the giant needle and aspirated 20ccs of fluid out of my knee joint and then shot another dose of cortisone in.
I already feel somewhat better because the removal of my personal knee water balloon means some of the stiffness has been relieved. And by the time I go back to work on Saturday my knee will likely be feeling much more normal. It aches now because, you know, needles jammed in places meant to stay all tidy and enclosed.
But pain with a purpose is always far more bearable than pain that just hurts.
As far as I can tell, that is true of every kind of pain. Pain of the body, pain of the soul. It all hurts, it’s all redeemable, but pain with a purpose comes wrapped in hope, and contains a gift that is unwrapped by perseverance.
God never wastes a thing we give Him access to in our lives.
We may judge some things as too trivial, too ugly, too dark, too appalling, too deserved, too unchangeable to be redeemed and used to benefit us and the kingdom of God. But God never judges them that way. He can reveal Himself through anything.
Including ouchy knees and misplaced photos.