Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Between the Holy & untouchable.

There's something about words that have the ability to unlock what's hidden.

Just the other morning I sat down, reached deep in my gut, and pulled out one of the million stories hidden there. I dusted it off and began playing it over and over in my mind until I was sure I was there in that moment again.
Then I wrote it out.
I gave it words.
I gave it space.

I let the Lord speak and tell me what He saw in the story.
I shared it with my mom for a project she is working on.

And then I took it back, tucked it back into my gut, and went about my day.

But the thing with words, at least in my history with God, is that they bridge the gap between the supernatural and the natural, the inside me and the outside me, the unseen and the seen.
Once they've been written, or spoken, or read, they don't go away. They sit in me, silently working their way to reality until I can grasp them, see them, touch them, understand them in the natural.

They're a way of the intangible and personal becoming tangible and collective.

After writing and sharing that story, I have been undone by a Jesus who comes close to me, who fills the room with perfect peace.
I have sat with the wild Lion and realized that he draws in nearer when I am still, not when I am frazzled and anxious and desperately pacing for answers, confirmation, provision, or a way out.

In short, this was the story I shared. I hope it unlocks something for you, too:

If you've known me or read this blog for any length of time, you know I spent the summer of 2015 quietly coming undone in a remote Indian corner of the world at a leprosy and HIV/AIDS mission hospital (for a description of leprosy click here).

It was there that I quickly began to see myself as the leper.
Numb to sin and wrong thinking.
Numb to pain.
Numb to heartache.
Numb to feeling anything, and allowing the numbness to spread, because that was easier than dealing with the issue and acknowledging that I had a problem or two or three million.

As I began to realize the trillion areas of my life that needed restoration, I dug in my heels and fought even harder to come close to Jesus. I would spend hours each night lying on my cement floor, crying out for His presence and restoration, begging for his voice, longing for something tangible from him.

Because, in India, that’s how it is.

I was unclean and He was clean.
I was an outcast and He was the Highest of the high.
I was untouchable and He was Holy.
The only way for me to get his attention was to beg, to make myself look pathetic and desperate and cry out for his touch. And if not his touch, maybe just the corner of his garment like the woman with the issue of bleeding in Luke 8.

The funny thing with wrongful thinking is that we often don’t know we’re thinking it until we find the truth. In all my hours on the floor, I never considered that what I was doing was misguided or wrong.
I was desperate. 
I needed Jesus, and this was my way of showing him that. I was hoping that my desperation would attract his presence.

And then one day, on a walk through the village the Lord introduced me to a young girl named Monica. We laughed and played, held hands and swapped sentences in broken English and Telugu. As the sun set, she went home to her hut and I went back into the walled, guarded, gated compound, walked through another gate and security station, into the inner compound, past the gate for the guesthouse, climbed to the second story, and finally reached my guest room.

The next morning I woke, dressed, and readied for my day. I unlocked my door, stepped out, and gasped as I saw Monica sitting on my balcony. Shocked, I asked her what she was doing and, with a beaming smile of pride, she announced, “I got past the walls and the guards. I was desperate to see you again.” Ignoring my slight terror at our lack of security, I quickly wrapped her in a hug and thanked her for coming to see me.

And then it hit me. This is Jesus.
This is what he does.

He breaks through every wall of self-protection.
He walks right past every guard.
He opens every gate.
He comes to us.
He risks it all.
He pays every price.
Because He is desperate for us.

No amount of begging or pleading will make him come.
Not because he doesn’t care about our desperation, but because He is already there, sitting on our balcony, just waiting for us to open the door.
His presence is a promise, no matter how untouchable we are.


After putting this story back in my gut that day, I went on to emphatically whimper and desperately demand things in prayer as I paced about my room.

And then I stilled.
I let the story resurface.

And I prayed, "If there's anything thing I'm certain of, Jesus, it's that you're here, that you're with me, that you're in my midst, and that you've paid every price to get here." 

...&, even if I didn't believe it then, I fully believe it now. 
Because words unlock things, 
& words have purpose, 
& words have weight,
& words bridge the gap. 

Not just my words. 
Your words, too.

What do you need to say?

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