When I was training for a marathon, I would fill my pockets with orange slices in Ziploc bags. As weariness snuck up, one or two slices popped in my mouth would push it back and give me strength to press on another few kilometers. God's words and His encouragement sometimes come in bite-sized slices -impressions, experiences, encounters - and are just enough to push weariness back and keep us pressing on a little further...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pieces and Pictures of You...

Dear God,

If I had a photo of You, this life might be easier.  If I could picture every one of Your million different glances or Your smile wrapped up around Your eyes, if I could watch the wind in Your hair when storms come whipping through my world my heart might not be so prone to doubt.  When tears come on like a clap of thunder, sudden and strong and heaving in my chest, I could see through the watery blindness to a face worn familiar by gazing.  I might not mind if I could look at You looking at me.  I might be stronger.

But You come to me in fragments, not all at once, like so many puzzle pieces.  I have found them scattered long and wide across the earth and collected them as far back as this mind can reach.  I find You in places I wouldn’t expect and when I don’t, it’s because You were right where I thought You’d be all along.  Every bit of You I find is worth hunting because I’d rather have an incomplete idea of You than none at all.  I’ll collect those bits till Your image comes as clear in my mind as You say it should be in my mirror.  I imagine I’ll collect them till I die. 

I found a piece of You laying at the base of trees once, with the sun all fine and dappled on leaves above it, the sugaring of nameless flowers in the air.  Its gentle corners revealed Your preference for peace, the edges curling round my heart and lips and soul until contentment pressed and stretched them into a grin unrestrained. I gathered that things might be made to be lovey simply because You like them so, and that green might be your favorite color.

I found a piece of You at the seaside, too.  Charging waves and sherbet stripes of sunset where sky and water kiss were on it, a double-sided coin of variability and stability.  It showed that change may blow through sky and sea and me, but You remain the same.  Crashing waves churn the same salty water, and the same heavens re-dressed debut every evening.  The hand that bids them come is the hand that beckons me, calling me to follow though waves of pain crash over and skies grow dark and dim.  When life moves in ways I don’t understand, the ground slipping beneath me like sand, I remember I saw You there (where Your favorite color is blue).

I have found You wild and untamable, humble and strong and passionate for joy in the papery thin rustle of Scripture. I’ve seen You walk steady and faithful across problems without answers, and questions without reply.  Your unwavering determination for love at all cost swaddles me like an infant when my soul flails and    Your presence is stitched in and out, up and down along the uneven edges of me, continually sewing back together scraps of a heart shabby and torn. The bits and fragments and puzzle pieces of You as protector and provider, healer and helper, father and fianc√© and friend have been gathered, collected and compared with those found by others.  They are clutched tightly, sweaty and slightly bent by fearful palms but legible if I look close, visible in the same manner as memory, pieced together to show a God who is no less real for lack of polaroid picture. 

And so, I suppose, a composite is building.  Your heart is taking form, Your hands nearly visible when I look at mine.  Your image is clearer than Your face and though I cannot see Your eyes, I feel your million different glances when I close my own.  It might be true that I’d be stronger if I saw You, but then maybe strength isn’t found as much in the seeing as in the knowing.  I’ve met You a thousand times over, through the pieces I’ve collected, and every time we meet I see You more clearly than I ever have before.  I know Your smile is all wrapped up around Your eyes though my eyes now are sometimes blind and full of tears.  I’m finding Your Spirit worn familiar by gazing.  I imagine I’ll find You like that till I die.

And when I do, it’ll be less like death and more like birth because all the fragments and bits and pieces I've placed this way and that, here and there searching for You through squinted soul will fall into their rightful places.  You’ll be all of YOU and I’ll finally be all of me and we’ll meet as our full selves for the last and best time because there will be no need to ever be introduced again.  Doubt will be as if it had never been and cries of recognition will echo with delight up and down the grand avenue of heaven.  Gold will shine like glass, twinkling and true in the all-pervading light of You.  When I find myself there, I’ll know I’m home with You - it’s Your favorite color…  

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:12-14

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