The Better Thing

A Very Confused, But Heartfelt Prayer

I want to say that I forgive You, but maybe I should be thanking You instead. Thanking You that You know me better than I know myself. Thanking You that You gave me the best thing, even though I couldn’t see it in the moment.

Because, in a way, You gave me exactly what I asked for—exactly what I thought I wanted. And even though it stung enough to make me question if maybe I thought wrong, it’s exactly what I needed after all.

But then, You always give me what I need. Even when it hurts. Even when it breaks my heart and sets my world to spinning. Even when I’m left asking, “Why?” only to find the why in the form of a prayer I prayed only a few weeks or months earlier. I asked for this. And You said, “Okay.” Then You said that things will only get better from here on out.

And I struggled to believe You. To trust Your promise that this was for the best. To know that Your arms would be there to catch me. But now that I’m coming out of the fog, I see… I see that the view is so much better from up here. That the world seems so much brighter from this vantage point.

I think of all the times I believed I knew the best way—believed my will was more important than Yours. You proved me wrong every single time. Not out of spite, but out of love. Because You saw where my path ended. You saw the destruction that waited up ahead. And You guided me—sometimes gently and more often with a forceful tug—onto the better path.

And here I sit once again, in a place more beautiful than I could have imagined when You first said, “Let’s go this way.” And as I look over the view You’ve set before me, I realize there’s really nothing to forgive. So here is my prayer of thanks… For caring enough about me to not give me what I want. For knowing me better than I know myself. And for always giving me the better thing.

You Are.

Confrontational Savior,

When I read John 8, I find that it’s no wonder the Jews wanted You dead. Children of the devil? Liars? Snakes? Hypocrites?

You called them out. Publically. You slandered their holier-than-thou reputations. Don’t You know that these aren’t the kind of people You want to anger?

You used every way possible to tell them that You were the Messiah. God incarnate. Immanuel.

They didn’t believe You.

It’s hard to believe You. Even for those of us who know how the story ends.

They hated You. Wanted You dead. But the words that incited them to pick up their stones are the same words that move me to awe:

“Before Abraham was born, I Am.”

Such a bold statement from such a dangerous God. Those two, simple words are all it takes to describe You. You Are. You just Are.

And because You Are, my life has purpose. Because You Are, there is meaning in every moment of my existence. Because You Are, I am free to simply be.

What You Became

Today is a day that we celebrate sacrifice – the ultimate sacrifice where the Son of God entered the world and surrendered His life to restore us to Himself. In honor of this hauntingly beautiful day, I’ve composed the following letter to the God who saves:

How did You do it? How did You endure the pain of crucifixion? How did You suffer through the taunting and torture and love them anyway? How did You find it in Your heart to forgive those who meant only harm? What did You see deep in their souls that would cause You to love them? To love me?

How Your heart must have grieved when Your people screamed the words, “We have no king but Caesar!” Peter was not the only one who denied You that day. The very people You fashioned with Your hands cried out for Your destruction on that day… and You knew that they would. When You elected to come to earth, You foresaw that day. How did You feel, knowing that the creation You delight in found no delight in You?

Even as You were dying, You whispered words that would free us. “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” And by the time we realized what it was that we did, it was too late. Tho soldier only fell to his knees when the earth and sky trembled – when the Father roared in pain. The earth shuddered with sobs, but the human heart remained unmoved on the day Your words came true. The rocks did cry out when no one else dared to speak Your Name.

And for three days, the world was a dark and lonely place.

Then You came again.

To a people most undeserving, You lavished extravagant love.

I stand in awe of who You are and what You became for me.

Sometimes…

To the One Who Came to Free Prisoners,

Sometimes I look out at the mountains and forget that they’re a reflection of how big You are. Sometimes I watch the clouds drift by on the canvas of the sky and fail to see the proof that You’re still creating beautiful things. Sometimes I watch the seasons change without realizing that they’re a reminder that You’re in control. Sometimes I forget that every single day I wake up breathing is a gift. Sometimes I forget to live the journey. And by sometimes, I mean most times.

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful; it’s just that I find it so easy to forget – so easy to allow myself to get caught up in the mundane and weighed down in the trivial. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life this way.

Today… Today I want to see. I want to live. I want to embrace each moment as they come.

So if You don’t mind, I’m asking You to open up my eyes and help me embrace the wonder of this moment here and now. And the moment after that. And the moment after that. Until I am, at last, fully and wonderfully alive.

 

Oh My Mysterious God

“Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you.

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.”

-Christina Rossetti

Your Presence washes over my spirit today and I know. Though I cannot see Your hand, I see that You’re opening doors for me. Though I can’t see Your face, I feel the warmth of Your smile.

If I could wrap my mind around You, You wouldn’t be God.

If You lived within the bounds of human comprehension, You wouldn’t be divine.

If You were something I could study and scientifically prove, You wouldn’t fill me with wonder.

But as the breeze proves its existence to me by playing with my hair, the tiny miracles surrounding me remind me that You’re alive and You are here.

And that is all of the mystery I need to know.

A Handful of Moments

You pass me another handful of moments and I watch them fall like petals around my feet.” -Steven James

And I’ve missed them. I’ve missed them again. It would seem that I miss them every time.

How long has it been since I truly embraced the moment? How many times do I forget to inhale the fragrance of Your presence because I’m so caught up in my everyday, ordinary life?

Please don’t give up on me yet. Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day that I finally open my eyes and see.

Embracing the Fairytale

I won’t be Rapunzel sitting in a tower,

staring out the window and dreaming of the hour

I’ll be free from my gilded cage.

I’ll rewrite the story. I will turn the page.

I’ll be the Little Mermaid stretching out my hand,

reaching toward the surface and dreaming of dry land.

I’ll be Cinderella going to the ball,

escaping from the everyday and standing there in awe.

Part of that world, more than a dream,

more than a life of espressos and cream.

Somewhere, somehow,

I’ll live the life I’m merely dreaming of now.

Faith, hope and trust, second star to the right,

straight on ’til morning, I’ll fly through the night.

Fairytale endings, dreams coming true,

and I’m lost in wonder – glorious wonder –

experiencing the mundane with You.