I've been tossing around the idea for this post for some time now. I have put it off for various reasons...
First, I've come to realize through hurtful experiences and a little maturity that I am actually not an "Island Unto Myself". I know many of you may have already discovered this years ago but for me, it's been a little slow in coming. There was a time that I would voice any feeling, thought or idea I had with no regard to whom it may hurt or affect but I know now...It's better to be quiet.
You see, like everyone else, my story is not my story alone. It intertwines itself amongst other's journeys and because of that, I'm careful. "Blog world" has given us a platform for discussion and a chance to share our thoughts and opinions without having to give much of an account to our readers. While it offers a connection, the price has become high.
It's taken our discretion.
Simply "blog surf" and you will find that out for yourself.
Secondly, I feel a lot better about writing something when I'm at the "end" of a particular path. I always think I've got things figured out and that I can see clearly what is to be learned and then I turn another corner to find my hastiness has decorated me ignorant. I hate that. It's very humiliating.
The problem is...Are we ever at the end of a path? I believe that we walk, and we walk until we, quite simply, stop earthly walking. Every step taken with God in view is a moment of learning. It's in that refining classroom, that we look to our peers and share. We share out of amazement, we share out of confusion...We share out of a desperation to survive together.
So, I share...
I was driving along one evening and thinking about this idea of "exchange". As human beings we exchange with each other every day on different levels. From the change owed back to us at Wal-mart to the glance from one stranger to another...Exchanging something has become a part of our every day lives. I've gotten to where I do it and I don't even notice it. I believe this is so because in most cases, the exchanges costs me very little.
Give and take is a customary practice. It's involved in every phone call or business transaction. From the internet to the doctor's office you will find exchange.
But then, it gets complicated, doesn't it?
What about the soldiers in World War II that hit the ground running into enemy fire ready to exchange their life for freedom, or the firefighters that climbed the steps of the Twin Towers knowing they might not make it out again. I'm not even sure how to mentally grapple with the exchange taking place in those situations.
Then there's the young mother that hands her new baby to another woman for adoption so that her child might have a more secure and successful life. What weight does that moment of exchange hold?
I'm just skimming the surface of the sacrificial trade offs that complicate and often devastate the lives of so many far more heroic than I, but there is a greater exchange still and surprisingly, it involves me.
All of me.
I'm beginning to see as the years pass and as life becomes more real and frankly, more hard, that I am involved in a daily exchange. I wish it was as simple as cash or the extra few pounds from the cake I had last night but it goes much deeper and the cost is everything I have.
I feel a little baffled because I'm starting to process that the initial and what should have been final exchange was acted out and I didn't realize the depth of it. I was bowing there, at the moment of salvation and in exchange for my redemption, I gave Him my life.
I imagine it just like that. A little girl, kneeling down with head bowed and arms reaching up to the heavens and in her hands was the small and insignificant measure of a life. Maybe she was whispering within herself, "Here..It's Yours. It's not a fair exchange but it's all I have."
Sadly for me, the exchange goes on as one by one, He waits for me to willingly give up the parts of myself that I childishly think I'm still holding onto. I know with my intellect that He has it all. He's had it all along but as with most people, I'm clinging onto those things that seem like I can control.
I then imagine that same little girl, with eyes squeezed tightly shut in a denial that He is there and as she opens and looks at her clenched hands, she finds she's been grasping onto nothing. Her hands are empty after all and He is still holding everything that she is.
My family, my friends, my marriage, my money, my lost baby, my body and all it's quirks and disorders, my boys, my home (and every electrical outlet!), my car, my job, my reputation, my hurts and disappointments, my past, my now and my future...He is holding all of it.
In return, He asks only for my trust. A pretty small and again "unfair" exchange for the orchestration of a life with every direction and each decision motivated in perfect love and goodness.
I look at others around me..Believers that truly love God and are suffering. I see their pain and in moments where my focus streamlines on the hardship which in turn narrows out God's presence in it, I wonder why the exchange has to be so great? Why can't He keep it all at a minimum? Shouldn't we, His chosen children, get a break from the chaos and heartache that is trademark to the human existence?
Should He not be required or at least expected to step in and "save the day"...every day?
And then my gaze softens and I see Him there in every moment of every situation, holding it all together with spirited hands that are far bigger than my feeble mind can imagine, and I'm reminded of why He is allowing it. I know the answer because the truth has been ingrained in my mind for years now.
I am a joint heir to all that is heavenly with Christ. He was sent for the One great exchange and His hands were open and willing every day of His earthly life. He is my hero, the Famous One. He is my Savior and His exchange unto death was brought about for my example. It is in that daily exchange that I make that a supernatural explanation is called for and the only answer can be God and all His glory.
In spite of this knowledge, I still struggle. I often wish I could be allowed to arrange my life and curb the hard days. My pride deceives me to believe that I know better what I need and what I want. My desires for the things that are forbidden tempts my thoughts and cloud my perspective about resting in the sovereignty of God and the joy of the pursuit of holiness.
And I know that I am not alone. Person after person..Friend after dear friend has sat at my table or in my car or on my phone and questioned with me..."How do we do the impossible?" How do we say "no" to something God says "no" to? How do we love when we are being mistreated? How do we let go when what we want makes us feel happy? How do we forgive..."That"? How do we find satisfaction in God alone?
My answer is short.
We can only hope in the power, patience and the grace of a loving Father that with each thing that He rattles out of our false stability, We will come to hold on to the ONE whose very glance makes all things secure and that that in exchange will produce a devotion and passion and a fulfillment that exceeds any we have ever known.