I am like a little kid waiting on Christmas morning. The very first, hard-copy proof of my book will be delivered any day now and I am so excited! I stalk the mailman, waiting and watching to see what they will have for me each day. Seeing this “project” through to completion over a decade has been such a personal journey. Sharing in such a transparent way has been a very significant step in growing my faith, one which doesn’t come naturally. (And it continues through the hand of my Lord, as I ramble and rant on my virtual home here.) This feels very much to me like the ruins coming to life, rising up from the ashes and destruction. Something beautiful and encouraging coming to life out of disease and death. The picture painted in Isaiah 61. “Just as the ashes, symbolic of mourning and loss, are transformed into a crown of beauty. God works our struggles into beautiful stories of good triumphant over evil. When we are shattered, God lovingly restores our lives, putting our brokenness together again. When the harsh desert sun beats down, we find shelter in God’s protective span. It is time to turn up the volume on the powerful message of hopeful chaos, beautiful ashes and glorious ruins. When we ask, “Where are you, God?” we’ll surely see that our loving Father is right here with us as we are revived in a salvation story of redemption and restoration.” (Glorious Ruins Small Group Study excerpt) AMEN!
I want to share with you the passage of scripture that I have hid in many times when life has gotten to be too much. Use it as the basis to form your own cry to God for redemption and refuge and rescue. Cease striving and allow the words of Psalm 91 to soothe your weary soul…
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”