Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Crucible - a poem

Just took a few minutes to begin letting the poetic inclinations flow. It feels unfinished, but it also ceased to flow. This is an interesting gift I bear... if it is in fact a gift at all. Anyway, here it is...

The Crucible

Tender mercies draw me near
In the darkness I see You here

“Come to Me,” I hear You call
Into Your arms I long to fall

Hold me dear and whisper sweet,
Into Your grace I must retreat

In the silence I seek Your voice
To pursue Your heart is my choice

Things about not as they ought to be
My faith in You is an anchor for me

The storms about it twists and blows
What comes next no one knows

Changing always is this life
This world replete with pain and strife

‘Tis not our home is what You’ve said
Heaven’s our home on up ahead

This season’s purpose is to refine
To knit Your heart into mine

This crucible is to test and distill
Pressure and pain purifies for Your will

Change and growth it will demand
But in Your likeness I'll someday stand

That’s the promise You’ve made to me
In my reflection more of You I'll see

That’s the joy to be found in the trial
The pain of the crucible is but for a while

But the glory’s eternal and belongs to You
As You’ll redeem my life the way that You do

Your Word is certain, Your promise sure
On these alone I stand secure

Though now Your work is yet complete
Your purpose for me none can defeat

All things together knit by Your hand
In Your likeness I’ll eventually stand

Whenever my dying breath may be
Until that day You’re working in me

Sometimes the pain and pressure great
But the curse of self it will abate

Your work You continue in love and care
Shaping me into a proper heir

A perfect reflection eventually seen
Lifetime of sanctifying making me clean

That’s the someday that’ll eventually come
Today is the place I’ll journey from

So when in this darkness it’s hard to see
I will look for You beckoning me

And in tender mercies as You draw me near
I’ll surrender to Your purposes here.

And in the crucible I’ll find my joy
For it’s a place You build not destroy

Character, hope, and faith will grow
And more of You I’ll truly know

By Diana DePriest
© January 8, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Things not seen...

As I am looking around lately, I do not see a lot that instills hope in me - not personally, not financially, not nationally, not globally. I look about and see so much more that wants to water fear and discouragement.

This morning I am a bit overwhelmed by several of these things that fan fear and angst. I had to stop myself and take a deep breath walking up the stairs at work. My thoughts like a gut punch, I had to just be still for a moment and take a slow, deep breath.

Bent a little and gripping to the side rails up the stairs a phrase of scripture wafted through my brain. "...things not seen..."

I know the verse it comes from, I recite it to myself quickly:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Now if I am going to be honest, I must confess that as much as I treasure this scripture and accept it as truth, I also find it one of the hardest things to do a s Christian, to be the champion of "things not seen." But it is in fact as Christians a large part of our calling, because so much, dare I say most, of the essence of our faith is UNSEEN.

In the midst of difficulty and tragedy even, we as Christians hold to a promise that (even this) "All things work together for good for those that love God." We hold to it over sickbeds, in prayer over wayward children, at the loss of jobs, homes, marriages, family members. We stand in faith holding on to the promise we cannot see yet fulfilled.

It's good that with our brothers and sisters we can stand together on the "unseen." But it is challenging when we stand before those who hold no hope of Christ. I think it is the challenge of our faith, and yet perhaps also the essence of it. In the perplexity of those who do not share our beliefs, might it not rise up an envy or admiration for a peace they cannot comprehend? In some ways, I think perhaps that is the goal. Too woo those who do not know the truth, who long for a peace that surpasses understanding (of what is seen) and settles in the heart of those who believe and stand on what is not.

I think that's why we are told "perfect peace" is kept for those whose mind is fixed on God (Isaiah 26:3). Who in all practicality is also "unseen."

Sometimes I am tempted to pray (or guilty of praying) "God give me a sign. Show me something that gives me hope." And as I type that it occurs to me, I think God's answer is simply, "Look at Me."

That's what I did when I stood back up straight and walked the rest of the way up the stairs. I took my eyes off of all that felt like the gut punch and looked to what I cannot see with my physical eyes, but I know to be real and true to the very depth of my being: God, His Word, His promises.

As I look ahead, I stand as the dichotomy of flesh and spirit - everything in my "self" that sees reason and justification to fear and doubt is silenced by my soul who knows intimately well the goodness and faithfulness of God, the truthfulness of His promises and the Hope that IS in the person of Christ.

Things not seen.... Beautiful.