the joy of obedience.
It’s late and I can’t sleep. It’s a beautiful night. The humidity is low at 65 and the crickets have filled the woods with their song. Part of me would like to get back to work, but it seems hornets decided to take up residence in the eve of my home. Not Charlotte Hornets, they don’t play basketball, but nasty red hornets that like to eat meat and get into everything. I’ve been trying to reconcile the struggles we feel with the actions we should take. In sorrow, joy is only a shadow on the wall of a passing day bound to fade to night, and in strength the full moon lights the way of ease – they rarely mix and are easily forgotten.
It is in the desert of the soul I beg for the rain, and grow discouraged that a mere nod from heaven would absolve my pain; the sun would rise and peace would fill this heart again, yet to stand in the silence of God between the twilight of this world and the one to come; it is a difficult thing to understand. Could it be that the need I feel is not the need I have? Bound to experience need under the guidance of my fleshly appetite that is never fully known apart from the light of Him. If the work of God is sanctification, this must mean He is constantly drawing me out to destroy my expectations and reform them – I myself formed in His image, yet my heart in its warn torn shape would need to be reforged to be remade. In this I ought run not away from the discomfort of the soul, but lean into it as the flame of passing to further enter into the goodness of His will – that He is good and in Him I rest my heart.
This is not bound only to the condition of the heart, but many things that move the soul beyond the body that cause me either to drift further into His arms, or to kiss His face. We make the idol of sanctification ‘not the sin’ rather than the bitter drink that is sweet in the stomach. The gospel comes on the heels of darkness that we walked in darkness but have seen a great light. if the world is lost, it is lost of itself and redemption only comes at a forsaken point along the road – a choice, a life in a world in which we never experience freedom. We live to learn the joy of obedience.
Is my identity in Christ? If I woke to lose the thing I loved – my ability to create, to speak, to move, would I understand my life in light of eternity and sow into the kingdom of God? If I walk in His sufficiency I understand the words of Paul “to live is Christ and to die is gain; it is not I who lives, but Christ in me”; the point of strength is always found in weakness and not in greatness. Yet, to taste the goodness of God and turn again to the mud of this world, how should I not turn my joy into mourning that any joy should be found apart from this truth… “I am a ransomed slave that mercy sends home to my Master with a word of kindness that He would embrace me and send me to serve again.” Life is found in this simple point.
Ezekiel was called to give a message that would be rejected, but called to give it anyway. So much of what I see is founded in the success of numbers that I fear the purpose is absolved – yet am I the same? Do I walk in the fruit of what I can see, or do I trust the One who can bend the rains, that He has with held the rain for a purpose I do not know? I am a weak god: all my strife is produced by myself and so I humble myself beneath the council of One who not only receives me, but loves me. This welcome to the joy of obedience. This is the paradox of much of the world.