For the last month I have been meditating on what the resurrection power of God is doing inside of me. Scratch that. (Meditation implies a sober, tranquil reflection. That ain’t what’s been going on.) For the last month I have been freaking out as the resurrection power of God is shaking loose the stones covering the tombs in my life. I have been trembling in fear, overwhelmed and undone, as the resurrection power of God breaks, cracks, and utterly disrupts the deepest places of my soul.
At moments I have felt like there is virtually nothing I can hold on to. Except for Him. He is literally the ONLY thing inside of me that isn’t shifting and shaking.
After decades of death, places in my heart are coming back to life. The amount of Truth He’s spoken has tipped the scales against Lies I’ve believed. Coping mechanisms are suddenly jamming, gears no longer spinning, pieces flying past me as I’m rendered utterly unable to function in the ways that I have for most of the my life.
The warped and broken structures of my marriage are sliding away, opening up space for God to build new things.
Freedom is wholly unsettling. We're used to our cages. We don't know what to do without them. We wander around, lost, looking for some bars to hold on to because it's all that we've ever known.
I’m finding it difficult to talk about the earthquake I’m experiencing. Cause it’s all kinds of tricky to explain the unseen psychological, emotional, and spiritual things happening inside of you, you know? But I think we can all agree that our behaviors, emotional and relational health, and experience of joy and peace and happiness are rooted in these unseen places, in the gardens of our soul, the flipping synapsis of our brains.
Last week I tried to blog about this earthquake and it was like a blob of goo oozing down the screen of my computer. Totally unhelpful. I asked Jesus for help and He kept speaking, “This is your hope. This is your hope! THIS IS YOUR HOPE!” (Ephesians 1:18) Which was also totally unhelpful…cause I’m blogging about JOY…get it together, Jesus.
Unperturbed, He said, “THIS is your hope!”
Really? My hope is me babbling incoherently because my insides are shaking as You do…whatever You’re doing that’s turning me inside out? And then I stopped being cranky (for like a minute) and paused and listened to Him.
Much as I didn’t used to have a capacity for joy, I also didn’t have one for hope. The hope of my calling, with all of it’s promises, seemed like a process that felt like purging and punishment.
But now, His joy has become my strength.
Encountering His presence has undone me. Knowing Him and knowing that He is with me, has brought me constant hope that does not disappoint because I have experienced the all-consuming love of God, sent to us by His Holy Spirit! I want to be like Him. I want to love and forgive like Him! Everything that I set myself to do, as a Believer, is now SOLELY because of my love for Christ.
2 Peter 1:4 says that we are partakers of the divine nature. The very lifeblood of God fills us. Incredible! Astonishing! Of course the very fabric of Christianity is woven with the language of regeneration and rebirth. What could the lifeblood of the Creator of the universe do BUT renew us?!
We think that resurrection power in our lives is going to be pretty, but it’s not.
It’s the Breath of God, breathed upon a rotted corpse in a dusty tomb, and the corpse groans and stretches and rises, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, the sinews regrowing, the muscles and tendons and flesh knitting themselves back together again. Skin covering the whole thing. Life coming back to dry bones. It’s wild and extraordinary. It’s redemption. It’s sacrificial love. It’s a Healer of extraordinary devotion touching us with the power that created galaxies, that thought us up.
Why would that be controlled? I mean, why do we think that WE can control that?
I’ve been wondering how I arrived at this place. Why did this Joy series push me over the edge? And why now? (The irony isn’t lost on me that it’s Holy Week and Easter is just a few days away.) So I asked Jesus. (He knows how I got here.)
He said it was the little yes’s to Him.
Day after day, month after month, I let Him come close. I let Him show me who He is. I let Him speak truth into the dark places. He’s been building a history of joy and intimacy with me. (And let me just say that I’ve not responded perfectly… but I have been faithful in reaching for Him... that's about all that I can manage some days.)
I surrendered. (Sometimes preceded by much thrashing.)
And I’ll keep surrendering. My will and my control. My right to be angry. My desire to be right. My pride. My sadness. The standards I hold myself to that are measured by perfectionism and performance. My grief. My weak and broken places. My tender, hurty places.
As I surrender, His resurrection power comes. And with it comes…joy.
I experience how glad He is to be with me, even in the darkest places of my soul. And then I’m glad to be with Him. And then I’m glad to be with others. I’ve experienced that my life, my joy and peace, my “success,” have nothing to do with my performance. As I walk, broken and crazy, I experience again and again, how glad He is to be with me and that HIS power in available in my weakness. I do not have to be strong. I do not have to be whole.
I have the joy of walking with someone who is glad to be with me, every step of the way.
I pray that hope will fill you today as you’re navigating your own joy journey. Knowing Him, encountering Him is our hope...because of WHO HE IS! It is so NOT dependent on you being awesome or clever or holy. All you have to do is say “yes” to Him. Your “yes” counts. HE is faithful to redeem, restore, and resurrect.
That’s hope for today and new strength for tomorrow.
As we prepare our hearts during this Holy Week, may we all experience the One whose very life, death, and resurrection, give us hope to LIVE, heal, and grow in freedom.