Pine needles of an evergreen tree crunching underfoot; the freshness of rosemary in the air, even my toes feeling wetness from the thick grasses I walked in. I delighted in each of these simple pleasures. I had left my house hungry. A desire beyond my belly drove me to seek something more. Even the water I carried in a bottle could not quench a thirst in me.
I came to a rock where an embedded plaque declared it to be a memorial to someone long gone. Memorializing our love in a Rock pleased me and I felt peace. I could not think of death when I was in the presence of He who offers life; everlasting life for those who would seek the better food and believe it to be nourishing.
Joh 6:27 (Message) “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
The Roman poet Catullus gave us an offering in Latin, “odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requires? nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.” The literal translation is “I hate and I love. Why do I do this, perhaps you ask? I know not, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.” The poet had written this in response to his conflicted feelings about a mistress.
A short poem to provoke thoughts relating to the battle we fight every day individually. Catullus was being literal about his own mistress, but I see its metaphor. We are in love with our flesh, hating what we do in that love because it goes against the greater love of our spirit.
Apostle Paul wrote “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” He asked God to remove the “thorn in the flesh” but the response he received was “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” *
This thorn inside my soul
has taken its toll
I’d have given up this race
if it had not been for grace **
*NKJV Rom 7:15, 2Cor 12:7,9
** Lyrics from Thorn (Here With You, Jessie Goodman)
The misty rain fell over me as I walked to my car. I didn’t see the gray skies, I only felt the cleansing water. More water was coming, more cleansing, more, so much more…
I love “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19
That such a passage would be shared with us brings me comfort to know my Father understands how my mind can become so anxious. He really knows me. He knows the seriousness of attacks upon my soul to remain steadied in the heat of my trials.
In my restlessness of thoughts, I stood at the window looking out at the dark of night. A fog bank was obscuring all the stars, yet the lights of men lit up the night. For all my efforts I could not capture the truth of what I could see with only my human eyes. I instead closed my eyes to sit alone, asking to see beyond the false lights.
“Desperate but not serious”! I was cleaning up some of my mp3 files on my computer and I stopped on this one. The song no longer mattered to me but the title stung me in the heart.
Friends, family and even new acquaintances came immediately to mind. In the crush of the recent economics, over and over again I was hearing the same story with different details. “I’m desperate!” being the repetitive statement either spoken or implied.
I can empathize and share what material goods I am able, but I know I’m not the answer for the real help and hope they need. I am only a light shining in a dark situation. As I point to Jesus as the final solution, often the initial response is very heartfelt. Their desperation draws them to wonder if maybe He really is their answer, but so often they walk away never taking this truth seriously.
Luk 12:29-31 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”
I’ve been made blue, I’ve been lied to
When will I be loved
I’ve been turned down, I’ve been pushed ’round
When will I be loved *
1John 4:9-10 (NLT) God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
* Lyrics by Everly Brothers
“Am I worth the effort?” Face to face, I come into contact with that question. The words are not that direct. I only hear it when I listen to hearts speaking.
When I listen with my own ears, I find myself disappointed. My logic and even my words seem to fall upon deaf ears. Truthfully, I find myself wanting to walk away from the problem of helping because I can only think, “What will change?”
About the time I desire to again seek my own comfort……I hear the truth…
Luke 6:36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
In the story of the prodigal son we know he asked his father for his portion of inheritance early. Soon after the father gives his son what he’s asked for, the son leaves his home squandering his wealth in wanton living. Now with his money gone, a famine comes and we learn this son “began to be in want”.
Even in the position of “wanting” this son still remained prideful to try and take care of his own needs by hiring himself out. It’s not until his hunger is so great as to drool over pig slop that we read, “but when he came to himself”.
An awakening needs to happen in our hearts today. America is rich with wealth and we are very busy being distracted with our wanton living. We need to “come to ourselves” before we reach “being in want”, or we too will be taught humility in a way we never dreamed could happen to us.
Sidestepping around crushed purple olives, I kept wondering why a fruitful olive tree was put smack in the middle of a playground for children? Who had planted this tree? What was the thought behind it? I did a quick look around at other trees planted in the park and in total there were only three olive trees.
Inwardly, I began laughing to myself. It was time to release the child in me. I balanced myself to walk the cement wall surrounding the playground. The equipment design was like a spider’s web, but there was a bigger plan at work to release these young one’s into a destiny of purpose. They won’t be captured in the web of deception.
Jer 11:16a The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit.