I live, and yet methinks I do not breathe; I thirst and drink; I drink and thirst again; I sleep, and yet I dream I am awake; I hope for that I have; I have and want; I sing and sigh; I love and hate at once. O tell me restless soul, what uncouth jar Doth cause such want in store, in peace such war?
The author of this lovely gem is anonymous, but it very well could be any one of us; I know it could be me. Restless. Unsatisfied. Fitful. Unsettled. Anxious. That's me, at least lately. I feel so tumulted! (I'm making that word up.) I feel sad then sweet then carefree then obligated then afraid then happy then needy then angry then hurt then something else and something else again.
God is really shaking me up, and I'm on to Him. You know how we read the story of Elijah hiding in the cave and we always say, "God wasn't in the wind. God wasn't in the earthquake. God wasn't in the fire. He was in the little quiet voice"? Yeah, well, sometimes God comes to ME in wind and fire. Sometimes He shakes the earth right beneath my feet, sending me reeling and confused. All the porcelain plates in my emotional cabinets have been rattled and smashed. There is a crack in the wall of my habitation. The message is: Find a new place to live.
But I would rather not find a new place to live. I feel that this old place had been quite comfortable; not perfect, prone to leaking and a little exposed to the elements, but it was familiar. And I like familiar!
God is calling me into deeper surrender, and I'm afraid of it. I'm afraid of what I might have to give up, afraid of who I might become, afraid of what that new future might look like, afraid of not being up to the task, yet afraid of NOT trying it. I'm afraid to be a real disciple of Jesus. All of the sudden all these hymns sound so scary, the story of James and John leaving their nets has become frightening. I want to avoid it, avoid it all. Frankly, I want to avoid HIM. Stop calling me! Leave me alone! Let me splash in the shallow waters! The water is so warm here and so safe here. . . .
I just got really upset at Joshua, and all my upsetness seemed to come from nowhere really but when it came, it really came, and it shot out of my fingertips and moved through my feet and poured out of my mouth and spilled over my eyelashes. But now that all that anger has gone back out to tide and left only puddles around my feet, I realize that I wasn't angry at Joshua. I'm just reeling from this tumult, I'm just tired of this struggle. I want solid ground. I want a house-- even if it has to be a new one.Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
. . . .
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come."
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?