Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dreams & Rejoicing

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." There they are again: even the stupid demons. Jesus replied, "... I have given you authority... to overcome all the power of the enemy... however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

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Before my dad ever seemed sick, I started to dream of the ocean. I dreamt of dizzying and crashing waves from the vantage point of a cliff; I dreamt of a wall of water approaching large glass windows of a 30th floor hotel room; and then I started to dream of tidal waves. Sometimes they were tidal pools that would slowly, eerily morph into something larger and more threatening: but these waves would never land. They merely lifted up, on tippy toes, and filled me with terror, as I struggled to perceive a way out or a way to save the ones I loved. I once dreamt that my brothers and I sent Dad out in the waves, knowing it was time to say goodbye: again, I suppose.

After more than a year of these exhausting scenes, and avoiding the beach for fear of their prophetic value (or at least using sarcasm to endure the fear), I had a realization: what if I could end these dreams?

There's not enough blank space below me, or time, to reasonably convey the required history here, but to make it short, I used to be haunted by nightmares. It was a defining feature of my childhood, and an embarrassing feature of my adulthood. It was wrapped up in my journey of faith, so it came and went with my belief in anything immaterial. Until I heard, yes heard (but that's the long version), that I was not alone in my dreams. That God was with me, that He knew, and that He wanted to change things. From that point on, the dream version of me learned to speak the name of Jesus, to sing worship, and to bring light into the darkness. The dream version of me learned to call on the power of the Holy Spirit and to twist the arm of evil. The dream version of me learned that evil is less like a lion, and more like a mouse and learned that awe and fear are reserved for God alone: His goodness, glory, and mercy.

So, the realization was simple: couldn't a wave be told to go away, in the name of Jesus? And while I realized this in waking, I wrote it down. I committed in words that I would give this thing a shot, and I prayed for God to help me out. Within three days (give or take), the dream came with the wave. Within moments of it rising up to terrorize, dream me called on the name of Jesus and watched the wave fall and crash in the opposite direction, spreading out until the flattened horizon could be seen again. But there, off in the distance, an ugly thing rose up from the water's surface: an ugly, dark, spiritual thing.

Now, the dreams are gone.

I remember how ecstatic I felt, and how I experienced this sense of intimacy with my God: my friend and Father. He helped me out. And as juvenile as these words might sound, I thought He was so cool. He made me feel strong in the presence of a "thing" that stole so much peace in my life. This "thing" had returned from my childhood, cloaked in a wave, and God showed up to call it for what it was and put it back into its place: not my life.

Having just read Luke, though, I'm reminded that my rejoicing need not be in this story of the wave, or the story of dreams that used to be. I am praying right now that God would give me the wisdom and peace to rejoice in dreams that await: dreams of my name written in heaven, or our names written in heaven (which sounds even better). What does that even mean to have our names written there? I ask with a sense of wonder, not confusion. I am fine not knowing, yet.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Her spirit returned

Dear Internet,

Today my grandpa died. Grandpa Chris. Dad's dad. He was special to me: smelled like a pipe; reminded me of classy belt buckles; sounded like Denmark and childhood; smiled like Dad; I could go on and on. This last year and a half has been more painful than anything I have ever known. I've done hard things before, but I've never kicked and screamed as much on the inside while doing the simplest of things. I cannot tell you how many pep talks I've given myself in elevator rides on the way to see Grandpa. Seeing Grandpa was always more than seeing him; it was not seeing Dad.

Tonight, he is gone, and it's starting to settle in. It settled a bit more as I rested my head on Grandma's shoulder and felt her rest hers on mine, in return. She knows. Through all of the dementia and the silly conversations we seem to have lately, she knows this time. And she shakes her head and wonders how she lost "both," and I wonder too. I just don't have the energy to bring my lips together, expel the breath, and say the same words. Or, is it even energy? I'm not sure what it takes to feel anymore.

I am going to miss what it felt like to have a dad, and to have a dad's dad. I'm going to miss the stories, the simplicity, the love. I don't even want to write down what I'm going to miss right now, because right now, I'm not so much in the mood.

I came home and read my Bible, and it felt comforting and confusing. There's a lot to that, and I'm not going to dig deeply as I write. But, at the end of the eighth chapter of Luke, is it any wonder that the scripture to catch my eye was "... Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up." Yes, this is the dead girl: the one they said not to bother with because it was too late. Jesus walked into the room and her spirit returned to her. Where had it gone? And, how? I don't want your answers, reader. With all due respect... I know you mean well. I know you probably have lovely things to say, and I would like to sit and soak up all of the lovely and believe in it, without ceasing. But Jesus, I'm talking to you tonight. Where had her spirit gone? Where are the spirits of the ones I love?

Imagining this girl's spirit returning feels comforting to me, somehow. To see that she is dead, but there is this part of her very much alive, reminds me that what I saw today is not death but separation. I don't know how all of it works. I just put my hope in Jesus that all of it does work. I put my hope in His voice and power; the One who reunites the spirit with the body and restores life. I want that. I want these three people I love, Dad, Grandpa, and even Grandma, to step out of this flat image on my desk with their smiles and radiant skin, with their beating hearts, with their tender voices, and I want to hear them laughing and telling stories again. I want to eat sheet brownies and sip lemonade out of turquoise glass cups.

Jesus, would you peel back some of the mystery and comfort my family this evening, please? And then, would you add some of the mystery back in and keep drawing us nearer to you... desiring more and more to have a closer look at your beauty? Give me more than belief; give me confidence in You. And Lord, please comfort my sweet grandma, who feels as if she has lost so much (and she has), but who has yet to gain so much, as well. Show her hope and a future. Show her You. 


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Withdrawing

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." -Luke 5:16

"Often," it says. While He could have continued teaching and healing more and more people in the crowd, He chose to retreat often. God knows, He had all the power, strength, and energy to spend every second in the midst of those who were hurting... but He didn't. He intentionally set these seconds, minutes, hours, and maybe even days aside. 

Is this about rest, as in the seventh day, or is it a detail that teaches us something else?

Perhaps Jesus meant to teach us about the importance of solitude for cultivating intimacy with God. Perhaps He meant to show us that resting from the masses, stepping aside to lonely places where we can pray, is not something to rush through as a mere necessitated recharge, but rather, rest is part of the work: it's important. And, even in the working, there are these words from God, present as a part of so many declarations throughout the scriptures: "I will." I will do this, and I will do that. Whatever Jesus did not do, while He was off praying, is not worth considering. Because He was doing exactly what He should have been doing; I bet He never felt bad about it or wondered when He might be getting back to work. I bet He knew that God would handle it all.



I don't want to say much more on this, except that I am thinking about withdrawing more often to lonely places where I can pray. Maybe then, I'll have more to share: more wisdom regarding Luke 5:16.

God, help me to withdraw this year, especially. Help me to seek you out in lonely places, and give me words to pray. Guide me in pursuing You, and open my heart up to the right now that matters, no matter tomorrow's demands. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Even the stupid demons...

Anytime Jesus is in the same place as the devil, or God is in the same place as satan (as in Job), I'm a bit confused, and yet excited, about what-the-what is going on. Confused because it's hard to understand how good and evil can collide in one space, the presence of the former encroached upon by the latter; I struggle at times with the weight of the existential thinking it evokes in me... the "problem of evil" conundrums, etc. But reading it as literature, and adding in faith and hope, I begin to see our God in the presence of evil as a thrilling scene; it's the drama behind every exciting plot, and it's the setting for the war we know we have already won. I can feel the adrenaline rush through me, my heart pounding for Jesus.

In one of these moments in scripture, I noticed something that I haven't noticed as clearly before: something helpful.

Luke 4:10 - "The devil said... 'For it is written'," and then he quoted scripture.
Luke 4:33 - "A man possessed by a demon... cried out... I know who you are: the Holy One of God!"
Luke 4:41 - "...demons came out of many people, shouting, 'You are the Son of God!'"

I have always remembered that "even the demons believe," but to me, this always meant that believing is not the same as worshipping. I took the statement so personally; I only allowed it to convict me and encourage me to move beyond belief. I suppose I never took the time to stop and imagine what it could mean for me as someone who needs to discern, as Jesus did in the wilderness... between voices that appear to be preaching the scriptures, speaking the truth, and even proclaiming His true name, as opposed to voices that are actually powerfully good. Because sometimes, these voices can seem to be saying the same things, and it takes wisdom to know the difference: wisdom that only comes from knowing Jesus. His heart. His motives. His vision. His voice.

Jesus in the wilderness proves that even quoting scripture can be a form of evil. For when the devil encourages Jesus to throw Himself down and call upon the angels, as the scriptures say He is able, He refuses; inches down the page, he provides His own "it is written," clarifying that His purpose is not to show off, or reveal the full power He yields as God, but to "proclaim good news to the poor... freedom for the prisoners... sight for the blind... to set the oppressed free." He knows which words apply, and in what moment, and in what way, when it comes to establishing truth and fulfilling the perfect plans of God. We should learn, therefore, that merely saying "it is written" or "the Bible says," doesn't guarantee that we stand on the side of Him. Even the demons believe; they whisper scriptures in our ears and speak true sentiments in false ways, as they oppose the work of the Spirit. I know this because I've heard their whispers, and right now, I'm ready to say no. What I heard then was wrong. I refuse every single bit of it, and I rest completely in the peace of God that was given as a gift long before I ever heard these weak and pathetic lies about the smallness of God in matters of saving His children. 


God, free me from deception, and I pray the same for any of my friends who need the same freedom tonight. Once again, you are so much stronger, and so much lovelier... and when I fail to see, you never fail to take my eyes and open them wider... to take my ears and open them farther. I hear you, and I am grateful to be yours. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"Come out of the ark"

In a world fallen with violence, which doesn't seem too much different than today, God commanded His righteous child Noah to build an ark and preserve creation during a violent flood that would steal the breath of all living things on earth. The scriptures say that once the ark was assembled and the rains started to pour, "God shut him in" (Genesis 7:16). I'm not sure if this meant that Noah was trapped, or not, but I'd never seen God's hand there before, closing the door and protecting His chosen child from what was about to take place.

As I pondered Noah's story, I thought... perhaps it's not too much different than our own, for a storm is coming someday: not of water, but of fire. A storm that was written about in Luke 3, and one that John called "the good news," though I've always had a hard time seeing fire as good. Then again, God's fire doesn't always burn, like in the case of the burning bush. By His fire, He will refine all of creation and restore all things; who knows what will remain untouched. Certainly, we cannot know. We, like Noah, merely step into the ark that is Jesus; we reside in Him through the storm. Unlike Noah, we are are not the only ones with the invite, or perhaps it's best to say, we are all invited: we are all seen by God as worthy of stepping aboard, though none of us is truly worthy: our hearts corrupt with violence since childhood, He says. Nonetheless, God shuts us in as the storm carries on outside, and evil perishes from the ground of the earth.

But the fire recedes, just as the water did, and what will it be like to hear God say, or what was it like for Noah when he heard, "Come out of the ark"?

With his family, and with the pairs of every creature, he filed out and felt the familiar sensation of dust on his toes, and breathed the familiar air. No more violence. No more corruption. Nothing left to fear in this new covenant with God, marked by a vibrant rainbow in the sky. Post-flood earth must have felt like the new Eden to Noah and his family; it must have felt like heaven, for he had been kept alive and given back the earth as the gift it was always made to be from the God who loves us.


Whatever it looked like for Noah, I think that's as close as I can get to imagining heaven. Perhaps even more so than the Garden of Eden, because Adam and Eve never knew what they were living in, but there's something about having been through a fall... something that makes the gift seem so much sweeter. Perhaps because creation drips with mercy now; it spills over with the promise of being restored; it screams of a future without violence... a future that is on the way. I love imagining the sound of God's voice saying, "Come out of the ark." I can see myself standing there, standing here... I'm standing next to Dad, and all of the animals of the earth and every other covenant being is standing with us. I love that I cannot know any of this for sure, but that it feels sweet and mysterious to imagine, and I love that my imaginings are probably barely a sliver of the good things He has in store.

Thank you, Jesus, for opening yourself up in the midst of the storm and shutting us in. You are my refuge and my hiding place; you are the beauty in my life. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Amateurish Moves

"...Her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger." (Luke 2:7)

I have to start with Christmas Eve, of course. We were gathering that morning when I received a text from a friend with pictures of her newborn, wrapped in cloths and showing off his mommy-daddy features. I've never been much of a queasy baby-freak, but the closer I feel to a friend, the more my heart seems to leap these days at the thought of their hearts multiplying to form new life. All throughout the morning gathering, as Eric and I led the church in singing Christmas worship songs, my eyes could not help but wander to visions of this newborn: imagining that our baby Jesus was as real, and as born, as the little guy on my iPhone. Trying to grasp that our baby Jesus was as real, and as born

When I was driving by my mommy-friend's home a handful of days later, I had the sudden thought that I should stop by! It felt so cozy to slip into her front door, to hide out there with our soft voices and the glow of Christmas tree lights and decorations lingering. I lifted her five-day-old child from his rest with a fumbl-y, but confident, wiggle of both my hands and forearms until he was rested against me, warm and secure, and then we laughed about my amateurish moves :)

I wonder about Mary. How did her amateurish hands move when she lifted her newborn son for the first time to not only place him in a manger, but wrap him in cloths? Did she fumble? Did she laugh? Did she tremble as she wondered if what she had to offer was enough? Two more times in Luke 3, the scriptures say that she "pondered them in her heart" or "these things in her heart," and I want to know what was in there: in her heart, that is. I want to know of this treasure she stored up and just more about the woman who moved so quickly from fear to faith in the presence of angels and had the courage to mother Christ.


The previous chapter referred to the "tender mercy of our God," and these reflections give imagery to that mercy, don't they? For the God we rejected in the garden, the God with power to create, and bless, and curse, and redeem us, used His own mighty hands to write a story where the amateurish hands of a woman would hold him in his most vulnerable state: would wrap him, or confine and comfort him. What kind of madness is that? What kind of privilege and love and trust is that? Before we were worthy, He entrusted even Himself to our care.

Thinking back to yesterday, I have to close with this final thought: the creator of humankind allowed humankind to "create" Him. Again, what madness and love...?

God, I thank you that while Genesis 1 and 2 seemed to end so abruptly in the fall of 3, you always planned for Jesus. You always intended to be so near to us, connected to us so closely as in a mother's womb and arms. Even now, your presence resides, quite literally, in our hearts, and how I long to feel the warmth of you there, more and more, like a mother longs to feel her child move... to wonder and to marvel at the miracle of it all. Be near to me, God. Open my eyes to see more of your mercy, and to know more of your story. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

And it was so.

I've always said that it's amazing to think God created something from nothing, when we as creators only have the ability to create something from what already is. This afternoon, however, when I was reflecting on the first two chapters of Genesis... I could see that God, instead, created from within Himself. He was there to create from, which is everything more than nothing. And His paint palette was an array of atoms, perhaps, which He could mix in any way he pleased. And beyond His material means, there was the essence of His artistry, which He used to breathe life and animation into all creatures of the earth, setting His work apart from all other material work. Taking our breath away, by giving us breath in the first place.


Let there be, and it was so. Just like that. We are His dream, and His vision; we are His masterpiece come true. What kind of majestic being could have dreamed up such complexity, such enormity, such beauty, such mystery? Every tiny detail we are, every tiny detail we know and will ever, or never, come to know rested within Him before His very words brought them to be. 

If only I could read chapters 1 and 2 over and over again, forever. They remind me of the wonder of every single thing, and they fill me with an undeterminable amount of admiration and hope that maybe I could take after Him, as His child. I want to look into this world and say, let there be light; I want to feel and know how good it is when I take a step back; I want my heart to be full of His good dreams that come to be; and, I want to rest from it all in a sweet and pleasant sleep that only comes from the deepest security of knowing all is well and lovely in the presence of God. 

God, I praise you for your complexity, your enormity, your beauty, and your mystery. I wonder at who you must be, the artist of all things! I long to be a part of what you dream and what you bring into being by the mere movement of your lips. I thank you for these origins and gifts that you give; I thank you that this story is what we long for, and that you have created a way to bring all creation back together for good. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

For the lazy.

I don't know exactly what I want to write about this evening, but I know I want to write. I penciled in the date in my Little Prince planner: "start blogging again." I picked the date out, March 14th, so that it would line up with the last significant post I made in 2014 when I was reading through the Bible in a year and trying to write nearly every day. That was two years ago. Oops. Try, try again. This time, I think I'll try a little less and see what happens, here and there. 

On Sunday night, I was about seven days behind in my Bible reading plan and trying to catch up, but also trying to slow down in case God might show me something that I was really struggling to see in Numbers (I think I'm in Numbers, at least). I was agitated. The truth is that I've been reading the Old Testament at the beginning of almost every year for I don't even want to admit to how many years. The desperation for the New Testament should have been enough to get me to August or September, but no. My life is a blur: the kind of blur produced by a thrilling, yet frightening and sometimes sickening, roller coaster ride that you feel pressured to stand in line for but that you are kind of glad you did stand in line for when the adrenaline is running through you at the end. Is that dramatic? :)

Again, I was agitated. It's difficult to like God when all you read are the first few books of the Bible over and over each year. Genesis is like magic for me, but then so much of it feels really questionable from there besides a bit of poetry that I can cherry-pick along the way, excellent scenery, and the thought of Moses's face sparkling. I was thinking about this Old Testament stuff the other day, wondering if I'll read through the entire Bible again after I finally get through it once. The thought of it reminded me of deep cleaning and how I despise the idea that I will have to do the same task over and over for the rest of my life because it keeps getting undone. Stupid memory. 

I think I'm supposed to believe that the Bible is not like my kitchen floor, though. Unlike my kitchen floor, the Bible can be new each time I open it. Of course, someone somewhere might argue that their kitchen floor is new each time, too, and if that makes a person feel better, then so be it. 

The point is that the Bible has been new to me this year (even though I had completely forgotten until just now when I wrote that)... like when I was reading in Exodus about Pharaoh enslaving God's people and working them harder, expecting them to do more with less and then calling them lazy whenever they cried out that the work was too much to bear. I was reading this story and obsessing over the familiarity of it all: "do more with less!" In education, and I'm sure all throughout the workplaces of this nation, this phrase plays on like the broken record. I used to think it was something to be proud of, and I'd challenge myself to see if I could pull it off: this more with less trick. These days, I'm feeling more and more that I am one with the Israelites: exhausted and unable to meet my quota.

I didn't realize this is what I would be writing about, but sure!... because I do have something really important to share about this Exodus story. When I was able to see the pages differently, I realized that the word "lazy" had been tumbling around in my heart and mind for some time. I have a list at work that seems to grow longer each day no matter how much I give, and I bet you do too. I keep telling myself that I am going to come in one day and blow that list up, knock it out of the park, demolish it, completely obliterate it and take back my work day for the dreams I've always dreamed my job would be. The reality, however, is that the list always wins. At some point, I became overwhelmed by the list and started listening to the quiet whisper inside saying, lazy. I'm clearly too slow. Too distracted. Too average. A foolish waster of energy and time. Lazy. 

Pharaoh was wrong about the Israelites, though, and God had a different plan for them: a plan for them to work hard, building and refining his temple, but also for them to worship. God did not design His people to be slaves; He designed them to be free to work and worship, as if work and worship were one in the same. So, he delivered them from Egypt! Do you know what this means for us as children of this God of the Old Testament? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I'll admit that when I was putting all of this together in my mind, there was this sweet sense of intimacy that I experienced when I thought I could hear Him saying, I will deliver you from slavery. He actually wants to. 

I fully believe I am doing the work God has designed me to do, but I also believe that I am blindly working for Pharaoh at times: when I call myself lazy, when I allow perfectionism to destroy my self-confidence, when I am so focused on production and quotas that I refuse to worship with my work, and when I am too afraid or overwhelmed to take time off and rest. I think you know exactly what I mean. We don't need to get out of Egypt, necessarily; we need to start working for the One who makes our souls come alive, instead. 

I told Eric that reading the Old Testament made it difficult for me to like God. He told me that I should take a break from it for a bit, so I did. I wrote this, and then I saw this small thread of continuity between Father and Son, and my heart felt light again. 

Every blog needs a picture, so here's a picture of a lizard slave who lives at the college where I teach. He actually escaped shortly after this picture was taken :) only to be captured again. 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Where am I?

In April of this year, I fell behind on my New Year's resolution to read the Bible in a single year. I haven't caught up since, though I've hit the "catch me up" button on my iPhone a couple of times. You can't say I didn't warn you, though. Remember the "I will fail" post? And remember how I can be so prideful? It was inevitable, wasn't it? :)

So, I've been somewhat afraid to write. But then I got to thinking: where are you? I'm starting to sense that I'm probably not the only one who wanders down a trail, and then another one, and then another, and sits down to rest for a while, and forgets the way back, and feels overwhelmed by the effort it would take to get there anyway.

Work on the left, this blog on the right... I think I'll stay right where I am. 


But that's not the story, exactly.

Because I've been getting my work done. And, I've been trying my best to make time for the ones I love. It's just that I haven't been flipping through silky pages of wisdom, lately. In fact, I've been reading only fragments of scripture, quickly, out of context, and lightly understood. It's been nauseating. And, I feel as if I've lost all memory of what I was learning in January, February, and March.

Let me admit: there's something heart-wrenching that takes place when I move my eyes away from the Word of God and allow myself to function undisciplined in the rhythms of each day. Something numbing. So even though I'm often bothered by the idea of writing you at times (seriously, you dramatic blog, you), I'm grateful for the space that you provide. Your blank pages, encouraging me to engage with the Spirit of God once again, to pick up the book, to whisper a prayer, to listen, and to fumble through to some kind of sense.

So, where am I?

I'm with Eric and Harvard, at the beach, cuddling, sipping tea, watching children fall down in the wind, dogs prance on the sand, and waves crash in the distance. It's freezing here. It's peaceful, and it's renewing. And I can't help but smile and feel unworthy. Honestly. Because Jesus doesn't skip a beat with me. March is like yesterday, and I can feel His presence as quickly as I desire it. His mercy, as real and as powerful as the ocean before me.

I'm with Him, even when I'm lost. 





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where is Jesus?

I wonder what God expects me to feel as I read through the Old Testament. I'm postured with open palms and waiting for Him to take these things inside of me, these images that flash against my eyelids as they are closed in prayer, and to make sense of them. To help me out when I'm bothered by Moses, and I don't know if I can trust everything that he says, and I don't know if I believe that every time he says "The Lord says" it really captures what the Lord said, in that moment, in that place. Because isn't he just as flawed as any of us? And I wouldn't want anyone reading the words that I attribute to God in my own life as if they were truly His, without seeking Him for themselves. But I wouldn't want to overlook what "The Lord says" if He really said it either, and I mean no disrespect, and I desire to fear the Lord.

Moses would stone me to death for most of that, I'm sure. Moses, the man who seemed so grand at first, and then so violent, so degrading, so whiny, so mighty, so wicked, so wise, and so dominating. I really like Moses; I'm filled with respect for him, and I'm so thankful for the words he penned! It's just up. And, then it's down. With me.

Again, I wonder what God expects me to feel: wants me to feel when these words begin running through the mazes of my mind, meeting dead ends, colliding with gray matter, becoming exhausted as they find themselves carving out the same paths and never reaching the end.

Today, I'll say that I don't trust what the scriptures say all the time; I do, however, trust the Spirit to guide me through them, but that takes time. And in time, I trust that God will rest on my heart and my mind, and that I'll find something more true, a treasure more precious, than I could have ever found without being honest about what is between us. Without recognizing the tension in my heart and just telling Him it's there!

With palms open, I'm thinking... God, where is Jesus? 

Where is Jesus when the Israelites start cutting animal throats, draining out their blood, and presenting them as burnt sacrifices, with their pleasing aromas, to the Lord? Where is Jesus when the Israelites learn that there are many sins that require them to stone their people, men and women, to death: to purge the evil from among them? Where is Jesus when the Israelites head into battle, and their enemies are conquered, and they must return to ensure that all of the people--man, woman, and child--are completely annihilated?

God, I miss Jesus. Here in these ancient words. Where is He?

I miss the part of you who became the lamb and walked, willingly, brutally, to the cross where you suffered to die for us all. I miss Jesus who, when faced with a woman who was about to be stoned, challenged the crowd to examine their own hearts until every single one of them walked away, aware of their own sins. Jesus, you stood there alone. You could have cast the first stone. You could have purged the evil from among you. But you took no pleasure in the option of death, and you healed her instead, and you commanded her to live! 

Where is that part of you in the era of Moses? 

I know that I'm supposed to see Him there, and that others do. It's just up. And, then it's down. With me. And all I can say, today, is that I'm learning to be desperate for Jesus. To crave Him with all of my being. Because my mind desires His company when faced with these moral riddles, and my heart is easily disgusted with the bloodshed. I don't want to put God on trial; I want to know Him. I long for a deeper relationship with Him. I hope it's possible that these feelings in my gut are a sign of His mark upon my being, His humanity and forgiveness, and His grace within me.

I'm reading the Old Testament, crying out, where is Jesus? I am grateful, through it all, that He is within me.