Monday, June 25, 2012

Man of War

"... and I will exalt Him the Lord is a man of war --  MAN OF WAR! [shouted] -- the Lord is His name..."

I look over and exchange smiling glances with the kid at my side as I scrub away at the pile of dishes. We sing and shout and smile... I love this song. It's the same one he wanted to sing while we were out plunging 8000 sweet potato plants into muddy holes left behind our waterwheel planter and I can't help but love him for it.

But that was days ago... and today as I weed those same 8000 plants it comes back to me. He is a man of war.

Yes, make no mistake, God is a man of war.

When I am unexpectedly called out in the crisp morning to put my hand to the hoe and nothing in my body says that I want to... He is a man of war. When I sit at the breakfast table completely overwhelmed by this life and feel like trying to find joy again is about as hopeless as visiting a million distant galaxies... He is a man of war. When three little kids are hooping and dancing around the porch with yellow bins hanging from their heads when we are supposed to be sorting potatoes... He is a man of war. And when two of those three kids are supposed to be heading home but I can't find them anywhere... and my hunt takes me from the barn to their fort by the creek to my sister's house and all the way back to the barn again with absolutely no sign.... only to see one of them down by the entrance of the property coming out of the creek where they had rambled off to... He is a man of war.

In moments like these I have to smile. He is so mighty, so omnipotent, so absolutely majestically powerful. When I am frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, He is ready to fight, protect, cleanse, and put a smile back on my face. He is a man of war and I was reminded recently that war is dangerous. I can't help but think that it is that much more dangerous when the very one you are offering your service to and to whom you have guaranteed the victory, has the complete freedom to turn, betray, and stab you right back....

that's a different kind of war....

I've been the traitor too many times... But He keeps offering ten thousand legions of angels and the same power that breathed into existence a million distant galaxies to the very ones who turn around and smite Him in the face.

That has to sting... but this is war... and that's how love fights.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've heard the story before... but never has it been this real. I put my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and try to imagine...

7 years of nothing.... nothingJust blackness, solitude, isolation. 

My mind thinks of my own 7 year-old nephew and I think to myself, "seven years is a long time." And it is... a very long time. It is a long time to live in a world of complete blackness, to never see the splash of light falling through the window or the vibrant green of spring bursting forth with new life. I can't imagine never seeing the beauty of a sunset or the gleam of a rainbow in the bright blue sky...  I just can't imagine it... I can't.

What does it take to imagine pure isolation... not being able to tell my family what my favorite food is or to hear their laughter and voices; to have no picture of sparkling eyes to remember, no sound of joyful voices; to never see a smile or hear someone laugh with delight; to hear no comforting words... no encouragement, instruction, communication... no way to say "I love you" except by touch and feel. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a prison of darkness and solitude.

Only blackness... and silence...

My eyes welled with tears at the thought of a little, frustrated 7 year-old girl who didn't even understand that water had a name. I can't blame her - I'd be frustrated too...

Yet, at that magical moment at an old water pump, when someone finally took the time to break through this prison of darkness and touch her soul... when light and hope and joy first found birth and she was able for the first time to communicate in return... a miracle happened. And later when told about God she signed back "I always knew that He was there, I just didn't know His name."

I'm struck with silence. 

Seven years. Years I can't imagine, yet in her darkness and solitude she knew she wasn't alone. No one could tell her - but she knew He was there.

And now, after spending a long weekend with some blind friends - I realize that maybe they have taught me to see just a little clearer what it means to trust. Being forced to trust (at least if you want to live a normal life) is perhaps a greater advantage than most of us who can see will ever understand in the same way...

And perhaps, just perhaps... trust is best learned in total darkness. 


I can see, and that is why I can be happy, 
in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. 
I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.
They took away what should have been my eyes
(But I remembered Milton's Paradise).
They took away what should have been my ears,
(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears).
They took away what should have been my tongue,
(But I had talked with God when I was young).
He would not let them take away my soul -
Possessing that, I still possess the whole.
-Helen Keller 
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