Saturday, May 23

Refreshed for the journey....

"[Elijah] then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the LORD, "I've had enough. Just let me die! I'm no better off than my ancestors." Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel woke him up and said, "Get up and eat." Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread. He sat up, ate and drank, then lay down and went back to sleep. Soon the LORD's angel woke him again and said, "Get up and eat, or else you'll get too tired to travel." So Elijah sat up and ate and drank. The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, and he spent the night there in a cave. While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the LORD asked, "Elijah, why are you here?" He answered, "LORD God All-Powerful, I've always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!" "Go out and stand on the mountain," the LORD replied. "I want you to see me when I pass by." All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the LORD was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. Then there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. The LORD asked, "Elijah, why are you here?" Elijah answered, "LORD God All-Powerful, I've always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!" The LORD said: Elijah, you can go back to the desert near Damascus. And when you get there, appoint Hazael to be king of Syria. Then appoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat to take your place as my prophet. Hazael will start killing the people who worship Baal. Jehu will kill those who escape from Hazael, and Elisha will kill those who escape from Jehu. But seven thousand Israelites have refused to worship Baal, and they will live." (1 Kings 19:4-18 CEV)

Elijah, one of the great prophets of Israel's history, who followed in the footsteps of one seemingly even mightier than he was, was finished.....the road of following God's purpose defeating him and bringing his own humanity into death's grip. So he far and as fast as he could until exhaustion seemed to overtake him and he fell asleep under the shade of a tree, his mind shutting down from the stress of what he was running from. God, nothing more than the confrontation that God was bringing by Elijah's prophecying. God is a pretty mighty foe to run from. He had reached the 'breaking point' of his humanity and wanted it finished, over with. Elijah and I are soul brothers in this feeling.

The nails are removed from the boards that I had sealed the door to that childhood home I once 'lived' in human terms but where my spirit, in Christ's terms (or Eldridge's terms), died at the hand of the despot ruler of the kingdom contained within the walls of the Wormer home......that is where the atrocities of the King happened....the apartment in Ferndale on the street off of Woodward where he served as a landlord tenant still stands but there is only one of the happy memories of my mother...that short fiery woman of Polish descent....stirring a big shiny pot on the stove in the tiny kitchen and an innocent little boy asking shyly what she was cooking and her response that was made in jest but had frightened that little one so bad he didn't want to eat it....."My witch's brew". The shock and guilt that flashed across her face when she realized the fear that it caused was one of the many faces that her love showed in the years that I was blessed to have her in my life.

The giants pound on the walls of that house on Wormer, in the shadow of St. Paul's monastary, as if they can smell the very blood that flows in my veins and remember the delicious taste of my young soul....wanting it more, since they haven't been fed in years and years since I've nailed the door shut and tried my best to make the vision of the King's prophecies come true. I shake with a fear that comes from the core of my being....sweat from the incredible heat that seems to consume even the sweet air of the Lord's gifting of the Counselor making my body try and regulate my body's overheating condition. The knob in my hand, to the front door on that little porch that was in front of the house, seems to turn against my hand is actually straining to keep it closed..."Oh, tried it," I'd say, "but it was locked up tight. So sorry Lord." It opens, the creaking reaching down into my soul with naily barbs to run fresh wounding jagged lines into the depth of my soul. I can imagine the depth of Christ's cry when His Heavenly Father had to turn His back on Him....the despair that formed the words, "My God, My God! Why have you forsaken Me!"

The darkness is total, though the sun is high in the sky...nothing prenetrates the soul of this house. Nothing good, at least. What is God doing in this place, why must I travel the roads that are best forgotten and erased? To face my father is to face myself, to find accountability for his actions and inactions to hold myself to account for those actions, for I share too much of him to disassociate myself even if I could try. The door is open.....and I am of Elijah's "Kill me, I''ve had enough!"

I don't want to go in; to face the reaction of the man who hated so much the curse of having a son who looked like him but was so much 'weaker' than he would ever be or ever was. A boy who was prone to 'daydreaming' because there could be no illness in his family...from his seed. Even when the epliepsy was diagnosed, after I fell off the kitchen table and bit off my tongue (or at least bit it badly) was unacceptable for him. It would set the tone for our relationship all of my life, until the week before he died of a massive heart explosion (doctor's words). I told him that I had given up on trying to please him and be like him, and of hating him for seeing his face in the mirror each morning.....I had come to bury the hatchet. He seemed surprised that I would ever think that he would be disappointed in me. Apparently the life I led was as much a mystery to him as it was to me in that childhood; a father divorced from his family for the sake of work....classic Lewis. But, an accounting was never given and so resolution and redemption never obtained. A week later, my sister called with the news.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I fear to face those giants contained within these walls; the images haunting my sleep and my waking hours, yet Christ overcame the world and therefore I have within me, as kinsmen, the same ability.

But God knows me so well and knows this journey home is impossible without Him and even then, it will have to stretch my faith and my relationship with Him to new depths. He knows the journey ahead into the darkened depths of this house will cost me in strength, pain and He gives me the grace to refresh at each turn, each discovery, to come to a place where an accounting is given, responsibility assigned and then healing through the forgiveness of a absent father who created a ghost son can be more real and encompassing that it was before. He promises me, and so I refresh before I enter.

"When we choose to believe the promises of God, we will have the strength to endure all the broken promises of the world." Teresa Ortiz tells us in her blog, "If we set our hearts and minds on heavenly things – Knowing and loving God by studying His word, and loving people, He promises to walk with us through our trials – or carry us when we can no longer stand."

God has shown me, in the end of this journey, what prizes He has for me to give; the ability to walk into the darkness of another's soul and sit within with them speaking God's love, provision, and strength until they too obtain that which God has brought them to get and freedom from sin, from humanly assigned purposes and from the past are realized under the flowing water of Christ's sacrifice. This is the taste of heaven we can have on earth.

This is the song He has begun to teach me in the gathering darkness of the past, as a journey into its depths is begun and the end of it comes into sing, to praise and to worship the I AM in the blessings of His friendship, His love and His promises. For when I walk into the purpose to which He calls me, these things I will need to know in the depth of my heart so that I can give it to others in their need, in their journeys.........

"You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever." Psalm 30:11-12

For the few who will be saved through the telling of my story, through the encompassing of my smaller story in the greater context of God's bigger story......through the trials, tribulations and destruction of a dead and dying world as man walks further and further from God's hand...

Oh Lord, let me speak that they hear You, let me live that they see You and let me die that they might see that You live........not in the storm, earthquake or tempest but in the gentle wind that comes before it....speaking the promises of Your love into the souls in need of refreshment...


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