“John shrugs his shoulders, looks out across our wheat field. ‘Farmers, we think we control so much, do so much right to make a crop. And when you’re farming,’ he turns back toward me, ‘you are faced with it every day. You control so little. Really. It’s God who decides it all. Not us.’ He slips his big Dutch hands into frayed pockets, smiles easily. ‘It’s all good.’
‘…How do you know that, John? Deep down, how do you know that it really is all good. That God is good. That you can say yes – to whatever He gives?’ I know the story of the man I’m asking…
‘Tiff just noticed Dietrich had started breathing a bit heavier this afternoon. …they said his lung had collapsed. It will just be a matter of hours. Like it was at the end for Austin.’ His firstborn, Austin, had died of the same genetic disease only eighteen months prior.
‘…Well, even our boys…I don’t know why that all happened. …But do I have to? …maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.’
…There’s a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.
…I wonder…if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually be places to see. …through to God. …that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. …To the God we endlessly crave.
…In our plain country church on the edge of that hayfield enclosed by an old cedar split-rail fence, once a week on Sunday, my soul’s macular holes spontaneously heal.”
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Isaiah 52:1, 2, “Wake up, wake up! Pull on your boots, …Dress up in your Sunday best… Those who want no part of God have been culled out. They won’t be coming along. Brush off the dust and get to your feet… Throw off your chains, captive…” The Message
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Isaiah 52:11, 12, “Out of here! Out of here! Leave this place! Don’t look back. Don’t contaminate yourself with plunder. Just leave, but leave clean. Purify yourselves in the process of worship… (12) But you don’t have to be in a hurry. You’re not running from anybody! God is leading you out of here, and the God of Israel is also your rear guard.” The Message
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Isaiah 54:7, 8, “Your Redeemer God says: ‘I left you but only for a moment. Now, with enormous compassion, I’m bringing you back. (8) In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you – but only for a moment. It’s with lasting love that I’m tenderly caring for you.” The Message
It doesn’t matter where you are on Saturday, brush off the dust and get up. Get out of there and purify yourself in worship. God is leading you and he has your back! You don’t want to miss a chance to have your soul’s holes heal.
You may say, “I don’t want to go back to church. I don’t like (fill in the blank) or I am angry and hurt by (fill in the blank).”
“If I’m looking for reasons to be offended, looking for reasons to be angry, I should not be surprised when I find myself in a low emotional state. …How can I expect to walk in freedom if I have not chosen to walk in forgiveness? …I don’t forgive you for you. I forgive you because I want to be free.”
I hope to see you there. We would like to introduce you to The Chain Breaker – Jesus Christ!
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