January 30, 2021

Sweet Gentleness

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After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

-1 Kings 19:12

Why can’t You just come and scoop me up and nestle me to Your chest? Why must You stand just past arm’s length and make me leave the ledge and leap? Detach from sure footing and flail my limbs swimming where I cannot see the bottom. If I launch in the in between, will I fall safe in Your arms?

            I do much talking, but do I switch and stop to listen? You appear not in the wind, twister or fire but the tiny whisper the breath of a sparrow’s song.

            Silence me in sweet gentleness. Tune my ear to hear Your frequency, guide my heart to know Your voice. May I make the time to seek You out, and may You not be slow to show Your face.

            Again, this walking contradiction. You coaxing me to unhinge my heart, abandon myself to Your love and trust that You will not disappoint nor let me down. But situations that spring up cause me to cling tighter to my chest, burrow myself in the iron-rooted fortress I have built brick by brick so high above I shade the stream of sun. How can You prod me to give over those places where I have been hurt before when history seems certain to repeat itself? What good lies in this?

            I am no stranger to loneliness. The majority of my life has been a dance between connection and distance. I have walked this earth alone aplenty, and I am not afraid to keep this course. You and I have fared worse over the years.

            Still, Your hand reaches out. Never straying, centered towards me. To take a step of surrender, and then another. Over and over, I die daily to these fears that feast on my heart. And every day, we make it through the hours. If I pull back the bramble and overgrown thicket brushing my spirit, quietly growing is a certainty that everything will be ok. That I can take the honest argument of my heart and express my side to You, and You will not lead me to judgement, point me to the slaughter. You already understand. You made me. You knit together the hopes and deep dreams of my soul. And You see where I struggle.

            For Your embrace I must stretch. Extend the milky white underside of myself that has not been exposed to the heat of Your light, nor been given oxygen to breathe. And I must strip layer after layer, until I am bare before You and do not squirm in Your scrutiny. Your eyes are gentle, hands kind. Words like salve to the stings of my heart.

            My feet can shuffle farther out to You. I can bat away the air that stifles, reason that keeps me planted down. Your smile at the ready, the only One who can pull me closer than I expected since I first turned my longings towards Your embrace. You will never lose Your grip or let me fall.

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