Friday, June 30, 2023

In Between "Who Am I....and Here am I"

Part 1...

There were only two people who actually said it.
Perhaps, many more felt it in their hearts, 
discussed it within themselves,
almost muttered it out loud, 
but the words never tumbled across their lips.
It was only Moses and David.
     At a point of self-assessment, 
compared to the task at hand...
they considered their frailties, 
their shortcomings, 
their regrets,
their anxieties,
         and asked, 
                        "Who am I, Lord?"

Consider those names...


Two of the most dynamic leaders in all of world history.
Yet they clearly understood their absolute need for divine 
strength and understanding.  
It wasn't just that the job description seemed mountainous.
A great work needed to be done.
And it needed to be done in a way that 
                              reflected the character of their God.  

That's a lot.
Getting something done is one thing.  
Doing it in a way that consistently brings honor and glory to our maker...

                        "Who am I, Lord?"

There's a necessary humility in that question.
A necessary dependency that's elusive to a lot of us today.
Elusive because, first off, we don't like dependency.  
Counting on someone else to come through...
And honestly, we tend to want to be known for our achievements.  
We'll often deflect some of the accolades to God, but we like wearing the bulk of it.

However...I think... I'm getting to a place where I would rather be hidden in the cleft of the rock.
I truly wish to see his glory, while remaining protected by his hand.
Unseen by anyone else...I think.

Part 2...

Enter the prophet Isaiah.
He doesn't ask the same question as Moses and David.
He registers his humility with a declaration.
Having just seen the majesty of his creator, he says, 

         “Woe to me!  I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among 
            a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

There's the necessary humility again.
But he doesn't stop there.
After a forgiveness and atonement has been applied, he hears the voice of his King 
searching for someone who will step up and follow in the effort to bring healing 
to a nation.
A seemingly overwhelming invitation.
Yet, instead of shrinking back.
It's at this point that Isaiah steps up.
I don't know if his words were a shout or a quiet, but determined acknowledgement.
Regardless, Isaiah's response was, 

                           "Here am I.  Send me!"

Part 3...

This is the "in between" where Moses, David and Isaiah lived.
This is the "in between" where I think we must live.
In between the "Who am I?"...and the... "Here am I."
Knowing our weakness.
But trusting in his strength enough to raise our hand 
and volunteer to be sent.
In grace-sufficiency.
It will feel a precarious stance at times.
It will feel vulnerable.
It will feel too bold and sometimes not bold enough.
It will be awkward because we won't always know what comes next
Because it's not our agenda.
It honors The One who is over all,
                                in all 
                                          and through all.
                                                     It's where we become followers.

(Thanks to art by Richard McBee)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

I'm Still Here

A few weeks ago I heard a young woman share her story.
Her name is Gabby Lyons...look it up.
I love stories.
Especially I love true stories about people finding their way.  
Finding their way through
hardship, abuse, injustice, physical difficulty, financial difficulty, 
Or just working through the pain of being ignored; feeling invisible.

Gabby's story is one of saying, "I'm still here! spite of..."
(In her case it has been a litany of physical suffering)
It's not a success story in the sense of something amazing coming at the end of it.
She didn't become the head of a Fortune 500 company.
She didn't win any election.
She's not on the cover of a magazine.
Her autobiography is not a best-seller.
Again...she just said, "I'm still here!"
Feet, firmly planted in her faith.
In her trust.
With Jesus.
She hasn't been healed...yet.
And she's okay with that.
She's not going anywhere without him.  No matter what.
The phrase she used to identify her commitment was this: "Ten toes down!"
Oh how that made me smile.
And nod my head.  
She's digging in.
"As for me and my house..."

Not five toes down, with one foot ready to pivot and walk away.
Not looking over her shoulder for a better offer.
Ten toes down.  
Facing the challenge head on.
Quietly.  Determined. 
Drawing every bit of strength that she can from The Divine.
Leaning on support from all who may offer.
Thankful for what He's already done.
Returning her love for the love he extended to her first.
We need that example.
I need that example.
Let's choose this response today.
Let's choose it for ourselves and share it with others.
Not because it will get headlines or because it will pay off in something tangible.
Just because it will quietly ripple through us in a way 
                                                        that generates hope around us.
All of us.  Standing for each other.  
If you need me, I'll be here....
                                  TEN TOES DOWN.