I am caught in a struggle this morning. A struggle that requires my penned obedience. A struggle that calls for some words that have yet to breathe and to find their home within my heart and upon this paper. I know they are here … simmering just beneath the surface of my chaotic thoughts, but getting them out into the open requires a bold and mighty wrestling.
I’m fighting for some words today because, quite frankly, I am not sure there is anything I could write that would embody as much passion and need as the last words I penned. How does one begin to trump the sanctity of life? What follow up could be written that would matter in comparison? At this moment in our nation’s history, could there be any other issue that warrants our more needful attention?
Some would suggest my need to “lighten up” a bit. To take a load off and to marinate my weary with some comfortable complacency. I would argue that this world’s collective propensity toward complacent and “lightened up” living has landed us on the current road of our confusion. We are people desperately wanting to live at ease with our convictions. The problem? Convictions were never designed with ease in mind.
Strong held convictions are deeply sewn into the fabric of our souls. When pulled upon by the arduous contrary of a rebelled cause, we cannot help but feel the tightening of their threaded grip. The resulting “ouch” is not permission for us to stay focused on the pain. Rather, it is God’s invitation for us to put voice to the pull and to put his convictions ahead of our comfort.
This is almost always … a difficult deliberate.
True and eternal conviction is never birthed through accidental measure. We don’t wake up one day with a sacred depth. We cultivate it through the intentional pursuit of the one God who created us with depth in mind. Who designed us with a heart and soul and mind capable of hosting embedded convictions.
God never intended for us to mealy mouth our way through important debate. He means for us to win the debate. Not with our words, but with his—with the truth of his Gospel written and firmly rooted within our hearts. With love-driven actions that boast the visible witness of such a holy planting. We are never more fully alive then when we are fully operating from the conviction of God’s Word within. All other living breathes temporary and complacent and less essential.
I’ve lived most of my life half-way. I am no longer content to do so. Thus, the struggle to find a mattering word this day.
I stand in good company. Not long ago, there was a young woman who faced a similar struggle … a wrestling with the word. She was given the awesome responsibility of bringing God’s Word to the world. She allowed her innocence to be cloaked with the perceived shame of an unplanned pregnancy, and rather than offering her objections in the matter, she simply bowed and offered her words of surrender that would seed eternal and that would convict everlasting:
“I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38).
A difficult deliberate, indeed. It came to pass, just as the angel had said. The Word became flesh via her flesh. He walked among us. Died because of us. Rose again for us, and now lives forever through us.
What could be written to trump the sanctity of human life? What “follow up” could be penned that would trump my impassioned pleas for the life of the unborn child? There is only one Word that surfaces.
Emmanuel. God with us. The Author of human life. The One who found his voice because his mother allowed him the room to grow and breathe and become the certain and final consolation of all mankind.
In just a few weeks, Christians will celebrate Jesus’ birth by remembering his humble beginnings. At least we should, shouldn’t we? Or will that, too, fall prey to our complacency and to the world’s cry for us to “lighten up”? To resign our convictions in order to soothe the nagging ache of naysayers who can’t quite put their finger on their discontent?
Oh, my friends. Hear me if you will. Better yet, go with me if you can. Just for a minute to that stabled manger and hear the cries of our Consolation as he wrestles with our humanity and weeps because of our chosen and deliberate silence. It may sing as a Silent Night in our carols, but nothing could be further from the truth. The silence of our eternal dark was shattered that night through the obedience of one who whispered her “yes” and through the willingness of One who shouted his “YES” accordingly.
I don’t know just exactly how my Christmas season will breathe. But of this I am certain. Most of the world will miss Christmas this year because most of the world intends to do so. They will wrap and spend and shove their version of contentment beneath the tree, but true and lasting peace will never be found shoved beneath a tree.
Lasting Peace spent himself upon a tree—high and lifted up, unwrapped for all the world to review. Some wisely received him as their own, but most turned away. Most still do because most will choose complacency over conviction when given the choice. “Lightening up” has become the politically correct preference of our barely visible standards. It has also become the stench in our Father’s nostrils—an offense to the Consolation who cried his surrendered tears 2000 years ago so that we could fully live the freedom of salvation’s grace.
A baby named Jesus changed my life. If you know him as your Savior, then you can voice the same. We may not fully understand his incarnation. On this side of eternity, understanding comes in part. But there is coming a day of full perception, when the pull of our convictions will thread directly back to the heart of our Father. We will see the connection and be thankful for all of the difficult deliberates that have weaved for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
It won’t be long, friends, so stay the course. Keep to the road. Keep to the Word and find your voice on his behalf. He is so worthy, and this is not the time to shrink back in our faith, but rather the time when we must stand as a bold witness to the convictions he threads the deepest. Thus, I pray…
Strengthen our convictions, Father, with the pull of your truth … with the depth of your Word. Forgive us for our silence and our willingness to concede our witness. May this season be the one in which we testify to the grace we have known, the forgiveness we have tasted, and to the sure hope we harbor for how this “thing” is all going to end. You are our end, God. Our Consolation and our Savior. Keep us willing and keep us certain … all the way home to your heart. Amen.
Copyright © November 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved
Thanks to Sassy Granny for the wonderful song and picture. Please head over to her blog today for her thought-provoking post, “Not in a Million Years.” Shalom.