Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Spring in the Desert: the Well of the Living One Who Sees

There is a particular desert I visit time and again.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
some souvenir stones
remember and be helped

Between Egypt and Philistia

These are badlands. I went––exiled by the ignorance of others or driven by their cruelty and dishonor only rarely. More often I have returned there to the familiar stench of vomit, withdrawing into a tempting habit of self-pity.

Deserts are fine places to visit. Not so great places to be indefinitely on the run and without adequate supplies. They can be treacherous if you're unprepared. Many have died in that wild. Sometimes deserved, for leaving safety in the first place.

But! there is a fountain there. Mercy.

Hope, hydration, a chance of surviving the desert, making it out.

I did not build the well. I did not name it first, though I know its name now, Beer-lahai-roi. It springs up in the depleting wilderness that is the feeling of being unnoticed and uncared for––hurting alone––in pain. A hideaway, a runaway, ashamed, invalidated. It is an incredibly disorienting experience; it is maybe untrue, but definitely felt.

There is fellowship there. With, at the very least, those who are drawn to the same desert spring. This on its own already begins to lift the you're alone nobody sees nobody cares lie –– because so many other people share in the fellowship of this suffering, feeling invisible or like they don't matter, like they or their pains are insignificant and unworthy of mention, that they ought not burden nor blame others but should bear it alone and struggle against wearing a chipped shoulder as a special badge.

Recently, I met a woman there.

She was fleeing. Toward home, maybe, safety. Away, at any rate.

And the angel of the LORD found her.

–– by a fountain of water in the wilderness,
 by a spring on her way to lostness.

He found her, intercepted her in her dishonor and panicked grief.

She was contemptuous and bitter and in flight.

And his first word to her:


Seen, known by name. Not scorned, but sought:
Hagar, whence camest thou? and whither goest thou?

She said: "I flee. From the face of my mistress Sarai."

The LORD has listened to your affliction.
You will know this deep in your bones, in your blood.
The fruit of your body, the life that comes
out of what you thought would kill you
will be defined by God's hearing.

She named the LORD who spoke to her:

You are a God of seeing.

She, that exploited foreigner, fleeing her station, named the LORD!
God who names people was named by her, by her experience.
He drew near to her, to be experienced and known by her!
A spring in the desert.

You are a God of seeing. What a beautiful confession of faith.

She said, Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.

there is Fellowship here

And not just in the company of other outcasts, wanderers, exiles – though that is precious. There is the still-beating heart center of reality, that cosmic Christ, God with us.

Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while. Mark 6:31

He meets me in the desert, every time, whether I go there to seek Him (escaping into Reality) or am just escaping from something else. Sweet to my secret heart is that living water. So I'm learning to Sabbath there intentionally and regularly, to that lonely place, to find that I'm not alone. There is an altar there where I can exchange the state of my heart for a fully sated one, and find not just the commiseration and consolation of others on the run.

But in lovely, brooding stillness, responding to come away my Love, resting with the only One who suffered alone, who wandered the wilderness and won over all its deadliness. To rest with Him, be alone with the Burden-Bearing, Safe, Hearing, Seeing One.


Heart, never be tragic.

Live in His gaze, His attentive Love. 

Instead of licking your wounds, lift up your eyes.

See Him seeing you, be with Him as He meets you.

Return to the land of the living.

He shines His face on you.

So I stack another stone, to remember and be helped by Hagar. Years later when she looked away from the face of the Living God Who Saw her, He came to her help again. And He comes after me again and again, bids me come away with Him, nevermore alone. in Genesis 21.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Good Rebbe

why do you call Me good?

but Rebbe,
You are!

You do not only require
that i reform
my mind

rebuild ruined streets
repair breached walls
renew parched land
resurrect the dead

restore my soul
before You

first responder
total rehabilitator

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Learning to Be a Child, 7


it will take all
my life
my diligent
to graduate
this school
to wake
to be as true
and small
a child
as the eternal son
to face
that already
i am

And the next thing she knew was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane. 
"Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan," sobbed Lucy. "At last." 
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face. 
"Welcome, child," he said. 
"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger." 
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he. 
"Not because you are?" 
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger." 
// Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis