Original post: April 11, 2009; repost: April 3, 2010.
[Frank Bramley. A Hopeless Dawn. 1888. Oil on canvas.]
Daybreak brings cold, harsh sunlight. It’s the day after …
And he’s dead. The rabbi, the teacher, the prophet, the messiah. Dead as dead can be.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This wasn’t the glorious end we’d all imagined for the Chosen One. A walk of shame up to a hill of death instead of a procession of victory through the streets of the city. A cross instead of a throne. Jeering instead of cheering. Baying for blood instead of celebrating the grace and goodness of God.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My hope, my heart, feel like they’ve been ripped from my chest, torn into a million pieces and stomped into the gravel. Repeatedly.
The air seems somehow less oxygenated, and every breath is a gasp for life, for hope, for light, for anything to keep me going.
But there is nothing. Jesus is dead, and there is no hope.
Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise you? Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in hell? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness? (Ps. 88:10-12).
Sometimes I stray real far from where I want to be, from where I know I ought to be. Some days, I don’t look like a Christian at all. Sometimes I wonder whether I really have changed. Life, every day, is a series of decisions that lead me toward or away from God; sometimes I make wise decisions and sometimes I make stupid, sinful ones. But each time, I know God’s mercy and his grace.
And I know that he still loves me.
Original post: February 7, 2008; repost: March 18, 2010.
I was in a tough place when I wrote this, and I will admit that life is, and perhaps never will be, devoid of these experiences. But I think that these experiences can, if we let them, strengthen our sense of need and desperation for the One whom we cannot live without.
God of silence, hear me; hear my cry and speak.
Just as you heard the cries of the Israelites in Egypt and rescued them,hear my cry and rescue me; just as you heard the cries of humanity for a savior and dwelled among them, dwell with me.
You are God, maker of heaven and earth,the One who speaks in the whirlwind and the whisper, in the fire and the flood, in the desert and the city.
Yet I cannot hear you. Are you speaking? Am I not listening? I strain my ears to hear your voice. And all I hear is noise.
Have you gone away, left me to fend for myself? You promised to be with us always.
You spoke before, and I heard; I listened, and I heard, and I rejoiced.
So I will wait again, for you are a God whose timing is not my timing, whose ways are higher than mine, whose patience outstretches mine. I will trust in your faithfulness, in your commitment to me,for you have proved true time and again.
I will trust in your presence with me, even when I cannot feel you; even when I cannot hear you, I will follow you.
And you will prove true once more; I will hear you speak again.
— Justin Fung
“Maybe you’ll get married before you graduate,” my friend joked. I laughed, my mind going back to two years ago …
On August 7, 2005, Ally and I got back together for the last time. Of course, we thought it was the last time because we’d be getting married—that was the basis on which we got back together. We’d dated on and off for three years, we’d known each other for four; and we’d exhausted the other options, it seemed—there was no more time for ‘let’s just see what happens’.
Of course, in retrospect, this is not the best reason to get back together with a view to getting married. But retrospectively, I know that it didn’t work out. Looking back on my thoughts that week, though, I found myself alarmed at how sure I was about our decision. The conviction and confidence I had that nothing could sway my decision is shown up by the fact that we didn’t last two more months. I had a sense of peace about committing the rest of my life to this person that, two months later, became: “[we] broke up (again) tonight. It felt clear. It was right. We both knew it.”
I wasn’t in the right place at the time; I learned the hard way about the fickleness of emotions.
I’m still learning. And probably will be for many, many years …
P.S. I was reading 1 Chronicles this morning. In 26:32, it reads, “Jeriah had two thousand seven hundred relatives …” (and that’s just the men!). For those of you know how small the Christian world is, I’m employing this verse as proof that we might just be the new Israel. ☺