Amid the Smoke and Rubble

Life has knocked me around a little bit this last month.

I’ve been retreating. I’ve been processing. I’ve been curling up into myself and my God and I have felt too raw to speak beyond a hushed and fervent plea for grace.

In the landscape of life, the terrain that is our little family is green and thriving. Just beyond that place land mines seem to be detonating left and right. They have blown up and bled over and left me reeling.

Things have happened that have made me feel much too grown up and like a little child all at the same time. Foundations have trembled and shifted and cracked apart. The chasms left in their wake have felt too deep and wide to maneuver at times. Where I was once sure-footed I have been surprised to find that the ground there is quaking and moving and I must cling to grace or be flung sideways.

Not just the nice, pleasant, peaceful brand of grace. That won’t do. I need more than a tidy bit of grace. I need the kind that overturns. I need grace like a wave, that rushes in and crashes over and carries me away on the tide of truth.

Because when you are brought to your knees, when you’ve had the wind knocked out of you, you can no longer tolerate to spare the kind of grace-prayers that are distracted or shallow. There is no time for “Please’s” and “Thank you’s” when you are in turmoil.  It’s only a gutteral cry of, “Oh God, help!” It’s, “Be here now.” and, “Are you still here?”

Sometimes, those are the prayers, the kind you pray when you are bent low with burden and when you are alone with your maker, they are the prayers that reveal what you really believe when no one else is looking.

Maybe you thought you knew what you believed already. It was as basic and fundamental and familiar as the sunrise. Except then a storm rolled in that cast a shadow, the winds picked up, and they blew you around a little bit. So you get low, you get grounded, you make yourself small, and it is there- there on that ground is where you find out what you really believe.

It is there that you know for sure. It is there that God does not calm the storm but he doesnt let you drown either. It is there that you know that He is good and true and even near. It is there that grace lays himself down across the chasm for you to pass through. Not over. Through. With ears still ringing, you remove your hands from your face and look up to see the landscape is different. Some of the buildings have collapsed. But before the smoke even clears, you know in your heart that the foundations are still standing. They’ve trembled and cracked open from the pressure, but they remain in place. It is there among the smoke and the rubble that you find Him carefully, lovingly building a new thing. 

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