Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Before the Throne of God Above

(please press play for music that accompanies this post)

I was having what I thought was a ‘bad’ day - or week - or season… whatever. Then I started looking around. I guess we all have these moments of awakening, but I am amazed at how easily and how often I don’t look beyond my own nose.

Last Friday a vibrant young man we are acquainted with came by to explain his passion… the mission field…specifically Missionary Aviation. He knew at age 8 that he was created for this one thing and he has not stepped off the path in pursuit of obedience to this great call ~ Matthew 28: 18-20 ~ Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.".

He has been called to a place where there is mortal danger and a culture that hates him and his God. He sees them with the eyes of Christ and with the purest love and compassion. I think I have been missing that same view in my own self~ness.
I saw part of the movie “The Kingdom” and (on a lighter note) “Ironman” - each dealing with terrorists in middle eastern locations and my heart fought to look at the people there through the eyes of this gentle missionary pilot/mechanic.

Today I saw more numbers adding up from the tragedies in Myanmar and in China. I can’t count that high. I wandered off from the online news sites looking for colorful images to get inspired to paint something with meaning and substance today … and I was sucked into another place I hadn’t anticipated when I found those colorful images in Darfur. Beautiful people in gorgeous hues - suffering in ways we just don’t know anything about.

I often hear the cries to blame God. I hear the question “How could He let this be?”. I might feebly express in response that He is in control and that somehow it all will get resolved to His great glory and to our own salvation if we open our hearts and believe Him…

But it is impossible to embrace all that without trusting Him.

I trust it is beyond comprehension. I trust I just don’t know the details. I trust Him.

I know one thing - He loves us with an everlasting love. I know He has a plan for every soul - every face I see in every news reel - every skeletal child in Darfur - every person trapped under rubble and every person swept away by water in the cyclone … and every housewife, teacher, unemployed dad, wayward son, pregnant daughter, and big executive.

In the summer of 2006 our area was ravaged by a freakish 100-year flood. Most of us were unscathed, but for the few places that were washed away - it was their own Katrina. I remember when we arrived to “help” in a small neighborhood of condos that were completely submerged in murky, silty mud (by then receded) that the world on that one street had lost all color. It was as if we stepped into a black and white movie set. Everything was a pale hideous gray-tan mud wash. We stopped at the very first unit and walked up to a still-in-shock husband and wife who were standing out front (they had been rescued by a boat from the 2nd floor window a few days before - I saw them on the news). We introduced our little family and said we were there to help. We went inside and began emptying the contents while their minds reeled. I sifted through wet mud to find mementos I thought might be washable. It was all so surreal.

The street was buzzing with volunteers and residents by midday and we recognized one particularly cheerful face go by in a truck. We found him a bit later diligently and joyfully emptying a unit down the road. It was the hopeful missionary aviator … and the unit was his own family’s.

Last Friday he reflected on that flood and explained he would have had to get rid of everything anyway. There was no bitterness or sense of loss. He knows trust - he trusts the One who holds it all and who brings the rains and shakes the foundations of the earth.

Each of us has had or will have our own flood, famine, earthquake, and fire … all as breathtaking to each of us as these huge global events that capture our hearts and leave us feeling so tiny.
I stand before the Throne of God Above only by His grace - I can stand nowhere else.

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. ~ Job 13:15

Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ~ Luke 12:23-25

He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." ~ Mark 9:36-37

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and 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,
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 to 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,
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.
One with Himself, 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!

One with Himself, 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!

~joy in this journey,


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Raspberry Grace said...

Katey, you know what?

Your posts are just beautiful, they always touch my heart, in all ways.. humbling, convicting, uplifting me,sometimes making me cry.

All these things, through you, by the grace of God alone.

Thank you.

As my stubborn, evil, despairing, undeserving but hoping for mercy heart clings to everything that I can only ever really lose in the end as if it all actually meant something :( , I thank God for hearing about your aviator boy.. I thank Him for you too.

love, Rasp xx

BLUEYEDUCKstudios said...

Thanks Dearest Raspberry - I feel the same way about your blog - the deep and reflective and the sweet and normal - it all touches me.

I wrestle with many of the same things.

I kind of winced at myself momentarily last week (since I am not surrendering all my "stuff" and facing huge unknowns ... ) and then I considered the piles of kids (whom I LOVE dearly) hanging out at our house much of the time -- and who were here when this young man was over sharing his missionary plans... and Our Great God reminded me that our kitchen table has been a beautiful mission field for a long while.
Our house is the place where the kids all gather - I am so blessed.

Raspberry Grace said...

You are very blessed Katey :)

Bloom where you are planted .. thats exactly what you are doing (or what He is doing in and with yo!):)

I think I've yet to even sprout.

Love, Rasp xxx

Cookie said...

what a wonderful post ... my mind immediately went to Nate Saint, the pilot missionary that was killed along with Jim Elliot and 3 others back in 1955 in Ecuador. God used these men in such magnificent ways - and changed the hearts of a whole tribe of headhunters through their experience.
We dont know how God works and our little peabrains should only grasp one thing: trust and obey!
What a blessing to know with certainty the mission that God has for you - and to stay focused on that.
I love your blog! Thanks for touching my heart.

AuntE said...

Katey, Thank you for blessing me today with God's word through you!
God's favor is truly upon you! Through all things, God is Good and God is Good, all the time!