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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Strengthened, but not petrified

Ernest Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."  He also said his life had a "tendency to fall apart" when he was awake, so he advocated for periods of sleep to lessen the effects of being awake! Isn't that the truth!  Our day-to-day life probably doesn't so much have the earth-shattering events which do us in as much as it has the constant "erosion" of time which seems to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that away from us without us even being the wiser it has done so!  As much as we need to be vigilant for the "big" things which might leave us toppled and seeking some type of grounding again in our lives, we probably need to be more aware of the things which come upon us in these gradual, and almost undetectable ways!

What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit because a broken spirit, O God, a heart that honestly regrets the past, You won’t detest. (Psalm 51:17 VOICE)

I recently revisited the Petrified Forest in northern Arizona with my BFF.  We absolutely marveled at the mystery of this great forest felled by a flood of some sort, then those grand trees resting there covered by sand and debris for who knows how long until one day they were so hardened by what came upon them in that moment in time.  Life sometimes does that to us - it comes upon us with such force and magnitude as to literally topple us - uprooting us from what we once believed to be our secure foundation.  Then it leaves us under the weight of the debris which comes after this type of catastrophic event. In the end, because we remain covered by the debris, we begin to "petrify" under the weight - but even with the passage of time after such an event, God can bring something strong and beautiful from it.

Although most of life doesn't come at us in "flood-type" proportions, it does have a way of changing us by what it does bring our way.  If what the world brings upon us is allowed to break us, we often regret making the passage.  I believe when we reach out to God at our breaking point, grace is allowed to strengthen us instead of the events being able to fell us and leave us buried under weights we weren't designed to bear! Grace isn't really appreciated until we need it!  We don't need grace if we are doing everything and life is seemingly okay, do we?  We don't need it when life seems to be sailing right along, without much effort.  We often don't realize we need grace until whatever we see coming toward us seems to be coming at gale force speed, or earth-turning force!  No mystery there - we begin to cry out for grace because we just cannot withstand the impact of what is about to take us under!

I think God might just be more delighted by us seeking his grace even when we don't know we need it yet!  Instead of us waiting for the charging forces of the "flood" to come our way, causing us to call out in despair, I think he might just be more delighted if we'd trust him for the grace we need even when the only "disaster" we face is a little bit of "wear and tear"!  Just sayin!