Wednesday, September 16

“God is not a man, that He should lie. He is not a human, that He should change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 (NLT)

My neighbor at work in the shop, “Junior” (as I call him), was telling me today about the repair to the roof of his new home that he has recently purchased. He said that as the roofers were walking on his roof, they would pause, shake their heads and proceed to rip out the boards underneath. As he watched the boards sail off the roof, he said, many were so badly rotten that they literally crumpled in the air, others were so warped they wobbled as they descended….the repair is going to require more than was originally estimated when the shingles covered the boards. My thought, sadly, wasn’t empathy for this young man and the adventures of home ownership but one of self-pity….”If only I had that problem.”

Yesterday was my birthday, the physical one. Forty-two years ago this day, a baby boy was born.

And, as is usually my practice on this day, I look back at my life….some twelve years past where I thought it would end…..and wonder about the journey I’ve travelled so far and the journey I have yet to go before I arrive before that great white throne of judgment and receive my ‘review’ of what I have done with what God has given to me.

And the struggles that I face…..even today, smack up against the deadline of the secular world and fully exposed to defeat yet again. With a mustard seed of faith…..crying out to the Lord for salvation from the distress yet again. Will He come through or will He finally shake His mighty head in sadness and let go……..
God is not a man, human or bound by anything other than His righteousness and holiness.

He is mighty and powerful indeed to save. Even a wretch like me.

Some people look at my life and where I am now; shaking their heads. I drive a car that has seen better days years ago. I have no degree, no ‘highly’ skilled job to match my desires, talents and skills. I have no home even, having fallen upon the graces of family….living in a home that is not my own and burdening someone else with the needs of my family. My bank account is seriously vacant and my financial outlook grimmer than a necessary roof repair….I have broken relationships and children who have had to grow up beyond their years…..I struggle with smoking, with depression and self-depreciating self-image…

And yet, on this day of my physical birth….I can only look back, even in the face of the burden of possibly being without a ‘legal’ car by the end of the day because of insurance and plates that expire and no funds to obtain their renewal……and see a God that is so much more than human eyes can behold and human minds can encompass.
And who has spelled out the proof of His love, the might of His grace and the redemptive peace of His mercy throughout history and even in the smaller story of my own life…time and time and time again.

Even in the midst of this latest deadline; I hope for an outcome that would not only rescue me from this disaster but would bring Him undeniable glory through the testimony of its resolution……or that the darkness of the road ahead is the one He has set my feet to and that my movement into its inky blackness would speak of His love and peace that is mine to have, if only I trust in Him.

But to testify to His power, to show His grace and to live in His mercy…we have to live exposed…and willing, by human hands and words, to be wounded. Honor scars, John Eldridge calls them…..the infliction of which bear no difference from the painful wounds of our hearts outside of Christ’s salvation.

“Have you ‘renounced secret and shameful ways’---the things that your sense of honour will not allow to come to the light? …………….. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone which you would not like to be dragged into the light?” Oswald Chambers asks us today in My Utmost For His Highest. “Renounce it as soon as it springs up; renounce the whole thing until there is no hidden thing of dishonesty or craftiness about you. Envy, jealousy, strife---these things arise not necessarily from the disposition of sin, but from the make-up of your body which was used for this kind of thing in days gone by.”

Today, forty-two years ago, a baby boy was born to Sharon Lee Nitchie and Ronald Lawrence Hutson. Shortly thereafter, the heart of that little boy was brutally murdered unconsciously and consciously at the hands of his parents….. At the age of sixteen, abandoned by a church that refused to step up and defiant of a father whom chose to live a life beyond the focus of children, that now-teenager left home and moved in with his birth mother for a week, then his half-sister for a few months, eventually living on his own during his senior year of High School, turning his back upon God and this religiosity called “Christianity.” Renouncing everything and anything to do with “God”, this young man departed into a life that would leave many quivering in their shoes and ill with contempt. It is hard to live life when your heart has been stilled…..and you are unaware of a life flowing around you when your ambition is to kill the body as the soul is by the age of thirty.

Drugs, immoral behavior, theft, alcohol abuse and involvement in things that would be questionable for even the hardiest of criminally-driven minds were my attempts….and they all failed in the self-set purpose they were engaged for.
Five years ago on February 14th, 2004 that boy was redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and the grace of the Father in Heaven….and took the first steps on a journey that has stepped into the darkness of a wounded soul…and found peace in the midst of exposure. My life is disrupted, disturbed and disorientated; completely worthless but in the hands of the Creator who made it ‘wonderfully and fearfully’, naming me before I was even born and purposing me to the work He has set aside to do with me for the sake of His glory.

I have been blessed, even if the only blessing I can see is the love of a Savior that was so powerfully felt within the fabric of His being that He allowed Himself to be sacrificed upon a cross, nailed brutally with iron nails through the human flesh He set aside His rightful place to assume by my own hands. I cringe when the image of that hammer driving the nails through His flesh plays in my mind.

Yet, even in those times of open rebellion and defiance when I walked willfully away from Him, His promise and His purpose….He stood there and offered the protection of a father’s love…..until that day He knew I would turn around and seek Him once more in the summer of my youth. He waited and rejoiced once He saw me walking over that hill and didn’t even wait for me to complete the miles to the front door of the home He’s kept for me before His arms wrapped themselves around me, His robe tightly wrapped around my shoulders and His love flowing over me like waves of cleansing rain…..tears of joy that once were tears of sorrow and pain for the son who wandered so far from home’s warmth and grace.

Where I am only fit to be a servant in my Father’s house, He would throw a banquet…..where I am only fit to slop the pens of the pigs and livestock, He would cloak me in finest silks…..where I am even unfit to tie the sandals on His feet, He would bend down and wash the grime and filth of the journey in this decayed and corrupt world from my feet.

I have nothing to give and yet He looks at me with the eyes of a Master Craftsman and nods His head….”This is what I was looking for when I first took you from the clay of the ground, and I can do much with this.”

He has begun that developing work; shaping this burnt, misshapen and brittle wood into the vision He holds in His eye for it. Whittling dependency on worldly things here, cutting off decayed and corrupted material there, sanding off the sharpness of an edge here and there…..listening with a craftsman’s ear to the story that the wood has to tell…one He knows from its beginnings…….working as He knows to do towards the final work of beauty that He sees already formed.

I am far from where the finished piece is, but I am being shaped by the Father’s hands.

That is why I struggle despite the certainty of my doubts, why I move into the darkness of a small and narrow way and why I desire nothing more than to stand before those seeking, those hungering and those thirsting for His truth and speak it from personal experience; the hope that flows within me that He has begun a work in me and will not stop until He is finished.

On that day, however many birthdays on this world I have yet to celebrate….I want to stand before Him in judgment and know that I am the beautiful work He has made in me, that those who stand with me that I have come across in this journey were blessed by my testimony, empowered by my sorrow and impacted by my love for His work.
That is my purpose, to which I have given my life freely to Him to be used as He sees fit. To serve others that they might see Him.

“Do not use deception,” that is, resorting to what will carry your point. This is a great snare. You know that God will only let you work in one way, then be careful never to catch people the other way………………..” Chambers concludes his devotion for today, “For you to do a certain thing would mean the incoming of craftiness for an end other than the highest, and the blunting of the motive God has given you. Many have gone back because they are afraid of looking at things from God’s standpoint. The great crisis comes spiritually when a man has to emerge a bit farther on than the creed he has accepted.”

Fully exposed…….in the midst of this deadline, where the doubt of my flesh war with the assurance of my spirit, I will stand; praying for God’s provision and understanding His authority to answer in His way, His timing and His plan….even to the point of my distress in the physical. I will continue to praise Him if the plane continues to the ground…..I can do nothing else.

Because on this day forty-two years ago, a baby boy was born…..and is walking closer and closer to home in the arms of his loving Savior.

There was no resolution for the mountain that I face....but I am confident in the Lord to do what He has purposed to do in this situation and bring me to greater testimony about the power, grace and love of our Father in Heaven.

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