Tuesday, April 06, 2010


It has been an interesting season.

Boy, if those aren't loaded words. Terry Pratchett wrote a book called Interesting Times. I haven't read it yet, but if I understand correctly one of the greatest curses that you can invoke on a person on Discworld (the Yoknapatawpha County of Pratchett's imagination) was that they would live in interesting times - which are always a bit more interesting in retrospect than they are when being lived out. Ask Frodo if his times were interesting, and he would have most likely responded, "No, they were bloody awful." Yet for the Hobbit urchins gathered around him listening to the stories of his adventures they were fraught with intrigue and fascination.

I love the way John Eldredge put it,

Twenty clear days a year - that sounds about like my life. I think I see what's really going on about that often. The rest of the time, it feels like a fog, like the bathroom mirror after a hot shower. You know what I mean. What exactly are you perfectly clear on these days? How about your life? Why have things gone the way they have? Where was God in all that? And do you know what you ought to do next, with a deep, settled confidence that it will work out? Neither do I. Oh, I'd love to wake each morning knowing exactly who I am and where God is taking me. Zeroed in on all my relationships, undaunted in my calling. It's awesome when I do see. But for most of us, life seems more like driving along with a dirty windshield and then turning into the sun. I can sort of make out the shapes ahead, and I think the light is green.
- Waking The Dead p. 5

Yeah, that pretty well sums it up.

Lately I have asked the Lord - at the encouragement of my significant other - what the future might look like for me. Not some sort of crystal ball inquiry, but a real frank discussion with Him about direction and destiny. I was surprised to have some answers and to see some really disparate puzzle pieces put into context with each other. It was really nice to see how these vastly different interests could possibly work together. It was encouraging to see that even pieces that I received years ago were not "misses" but are still a part of the plan.

I won't say that I have the road map, but at least I have a good general lay of the land now. That is comforting. I hope I can remember that when journeying through Mirkwood. All journeys seem destined to pass through its depths, don't they?

I have friends plumbing some of the same depths that I have over the past 20 years. It is hard to see them struggling. I hurt for them, but I am also encouraged by their struggle, for it shows me that the Lord has taken notice of them, and He is in the process of disciplining them to make them more like Himself and to help them love Him better.

So often we look at discipline (at least in the United States) as something that is for those who have done something bad. Yet God's discipline is not like that. See, those whom He loves He disciplines. It is kind of hard to understand until you experience it. Often what God is after isn't some great sin pattern in our lives. The thing that often brings His discipline is wrong thinking and wrong heart attitudes that keep us from knowing Him and loving Him correctly. These are almost never our fault, but are the result of woundings that we receive throughout the course of our life.

It is nice to have a little perspective. It makes the discipline a lot more bearable.

So, to my friends who are hopelessly lost in Mirkwood's haunts (now or in the future) my prayer is that you will quickly discover that you are not alone, that God is right there with you, and that God is GOOD. You aren't as lost as you seem. God knows right where you are, and none of this surprises Him. He's got you right where you need to be. Rest in these truths.

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