Monthly Archives: August 2013

Distractions

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“So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,  I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:7-10

At the end of the day, in the middle of the day, while at work or at home, when pressed to a deadline or on the second page of my mental to do list I submit to distractions.  So much so that I have been known to work them into my schedule.  I have some distractions that have been with me for a long time.  Those I am ready to admit are more than just distractions, they are idols.  They have served me well throughout the years in pulling me away from the better things that God provides.

In an attempt to nullify their power in my life I have become an expert at justification.  These altars of interruption that I frequently visit serve me best when I am tired, anxious, or depressed.  They reward my spent energy, celebrate my busy hands, and distract painful thoughts and disturbing memories.  I have those things that I turn to daily for rest, removal, and diversion.  And when these methods of relaxation and means to clear my mind also drown out the whispers of the Spirit and the words of God, then they become idolatrous distractions that enslave my heart and bind my spirit to the worship of my own chains.

When the day is long, and thoughts meld together instead of running to the Shepherd for the gentle prodding towards the river, I run back into my cell and put on broken chains and waste away.  They are what they are—time-wasting, mind-numbing, heart-breaking thieves.  With every perceived benefit is the reality of stolen glory and missed blessing.

But, “fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2a)” who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature… (Hebrews 1:3),” we need not long for a distraction or run to a false god of rest for removal of those things and thoughts, both past and present, that we have believed had the power to destroy us.  No, it is Jesus, who without distraction restores our tired bones (Psalm 23:2-3), renews our mind (Ephesians 4:22-23), and fills our heart with healing grace (Jeremiah 24:6-7).

Psalm 34:17-19; Isaiah 42:3; 57:15  “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit…a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench…For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”


A Fixed Place

“By this we shall know we are of the truth and can reassure our heart before Him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” 1 John 3 19-20

“…He knows everything.”  I want to be encouraged by that truth.  To be assured and be comforted that all that is known by the Knower of all things, did and does have control over all those things.  A control that is rooted in love and purpose and with each wielded stroke of sovereign direction, life happened.

Life is movement.  There is nothing static about it.  It is always in motion even when we feel like we have been planted in cement.  God is always making and breaking us.  He uses all that He puts around us and when things are chaotic, assaulting, and destructive—He is present.  When episodes of time wound and weary us and memories are hidden under band-aids of distractions, He washes us with healing waters of grace and wraps our heart with His Spirit.

My life has always moved very fast, with many turns and blind curves that gave me many years of motion sickness.  At age 25, I realized that by keeping my eyes on a fixed place in the horizon, the motion sickness would ease.  Jesus is my fixed place.  His patient and constant intercession is my hiding place and with Him I am free from the condemning chains of a wounded past.

What I have realized is that even though I don’t always trust Him and I know I have not surrendered my whole heart—out of the fear of seeing exactly what it is I am chained to—He continues to move me forward and patiently reveals how and helps me to surrender every day.  It is Jesus who builds my trust in Him and increases my faith.  For when I am weak, He is strong and when I am faithless, He is faithful.  Even more, He doesn’t rush the mending of my heart, but allows me to keep the band-aids on till I am ready to remove them.

The song below is one that is continually in my head and has become a soothing thought when memories assault.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

At one with Him, I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God.

~ Before the Throne of God Above, by Charitie Lees Bancroft