30 March 2012

A Quest, of Sorts

Recently I pulled away for some reading.  In  "Love Has a Face" by Michele Perry and "Compelled by Love" by Heidi Baker, I find myself on a quest of sorts, as I often do, when the Lord is revealing something new to me.  Like most people, the stories of orphan children in the streets of third world countries, starving, physically, emotionally and spiritually, catches my heart and stirs a desire in me to make a difference.  The phrase, to "stop for the one" rings in my ears.  When I read books and articles by these women and others, my heart cries out more and more, "Just let me touch them, Lord.  Just let me touch them." In the vision of my minds eye, I simply want to be in the midst of the children and the mama's whose only desire is for the purest love that flows through the hands of a lover. 
Quickly, I find myself looking at those so needy in front of me, in our western world; in our church pews.  I find myself reeling with emotion.  I long to touch these as much, if not more, but how?  So often it seems that loving the 'most needy' is like putting water in a broken cup.  It never fills, it leaks quickly and the broken edges cut and tear those who attempt to drink from it.  I'm fully aware that Christ in me is the hope of glory, but remain at a loss as to how to get it into them.  The Father is so good to make all things new.  I long to take them to Him.  I know they would relish His gentle touch and enjoy the newness of life.  But so often they assure me that they have indeed been with the Father, and yet they have not been made whole.  My heart breaks.  Many times I know that they have known the Father, and yet, the father of lies has masqueraded himself and sold them lies.  Now, they fear exchanging their purchase, lest they become more broken, bruised and battered.

Appeal to their educated minds is of no effect.  Experience speaks louder to them than the scriptures that collect dust on the shelf of their heart.  A call to emotion brings forth only regret and shame in the light of His grace.  At last, a wooing of their spirit-man echoes back as if in the hollowness of an empty tomb where hope and peace have been laid.  My heart breaks again.  Words are of no use.
Touch.  We are a tactile creature.  Nothing communicates pure love, like a pure touch.  And, perfect love casts out all fear.  Perfect love received will enable the broken to yield to the potter's hand.  Perfect love will dust off the truths of scripture, give grace for works of repentance and breathe life into hope and peace.  Jesus often ministered perfect love with touch.  From John's head on His breast to raising the dead, From Peter's denial to the woman with the issue of blood, from a man with leprosy to a woman with an alabaster box, He receives and He gives - touch.  Of course, it's a combination of word and deed.  Stopping for the one, whatever their need.  Jesus was never in such a hurry to save one, that He would neglect another.
 But here, in the busy world of 2012, there can be a voice of arrogance that is to be pittied.  It sounds something like this, "Those who come to us are naturally easier to love, assuming they recognize their dreadful state and quickly renounce the enemy.  Surely they aren't expecting friendship while they entertain demons and fail to bathe. They must understand, we will visit when they are 'right' in their thinking and acceptable in their behavior.  Oh, of course we love them in this foul state, we just don't like them on this particular date. And after all, what would people think, if we kept company with such as these? Protecting ourselves is what we must do, no appearance of evil would ever do.  Feed the hungry- but not the prime rib, give them leftovers instead.  Clothe the naked- with hand me downs, they're not yet worthy of tiaras and crowns. Give drink to the thirsty- in their own cup, I couldn't possibly share what I have stored up."  
Then there are those that appear to have it all together.  They know we are a Body but they are quite certain that they have no need of you or me.  Like porcupine quills and vipors' venom, in fear, they lash out biting, tearing and scratching at anyone who attempts to touch them.  Screaming, with fingers in their ears, at anyone who tries to speak kindly to them.  Refusing to be loved, rejecting comfort, they opt to sit in the street or turn in with strangers that intend evil upon them. At best, they sit alone in the dark, rocking back and forth in a fetal position, consumed with themselves, longing for the love they continually spurn.
Like orphans in the dusty streets of Mozambique or Sudan, they need the love of the Father, of mothers and brothers and sisters, they need their bellies filled and their thirst quenched.  They require a washing in the water of the Word, white garments to cover their shame, salve for their eyes,  and - gold refined in the fire.
It seems reasonable to hold a flailing child as she bites and scratches and hits, when you love her and you hold her with the arms of Christ, knowing you will soon feed her with the manna from heaven and give her drink from the fountain of life.  On the streets of a third world country, as difficult as it must be, it seems reasonable to touch - and hold - and give - life.  Here in America, the flailing child is often a well dressed adult, believing he has need of nothing.  Thus, my quest, I sit in a plush sanctuary on Sunday morning, around the room I see the rich increased with goods,who think they have need of nothing, those who know they have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, those who have been told they are joint heirs with Christ - children of the King - in them, I see the wretched, the miserable, the poor, the blind, and the naked, in them I see a barren Bride, widowed in her youth and the orphaned heart, longing for the arms of the Father.  My quest then, is two fold, first, to discover just how to love a barren Bride in such a way that her gaze is set in the eyes of the Lover of her soul, so that secondly, she can be the mama to love an unsure and unwilling orphan heart, into a sureness of acceptance in a loving family with a loving Father. 
For some days now my heart has raced to know my Lover more, to look deeply into His flaming eyes, and to touch His face.  He meets me there, in our secret place, arms wrapped around me, He holds me close and reminds me of His precious promises. In this, hope is ignited, joy is inexpressible and love is overflowing.

Isa 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
Isa 54:2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
Isa 54:3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
Isa 54:4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
Isa 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
Isa 54:6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

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