A Bit of a Ramble...Part 2

Part 1 (read here) ended with this outline (of sorts) of what was to come in Part 2..."But the book is only the beginning.  It is followed by a deep, dark night, a "happened-upon" blog post on the theme word broken ~ Why God Made a Breakable World , a Sunday morning song (or two :)), and a sermon...our weekly "digging in" to a few verses from Romans, which landed us this week in Romans 8:20-22...about the brokenness and restoration ~ remaking ~ not only of the created being, but of creation itself."   On to "the rest of the story" now...

Ann's book (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are ), and the encouragement that came along with it, were Saturday afternoon.  Saturday night the freight train hit.  At least it felt that way!  Saturday night brought increased pain and decreased mobility, and not one, but TWO girls in our bed with night terrors.  I woke up feeling as though we had entered a time warp...that we had gone back to a time I desperately did NOT want to repeat that included both debilitating pain and sleepless nights comforting terrified children.   I finally got up, shuffled in to my desk, put my head in my hands, and said to myself, to the empty room, and to God (although not nearly so clearly or nicely), "I can't do this again!!"   Wasn't there a commercial at some point that said, "Haven't got time for the pain"?  That kept  running through my head as I looked around my house at the major projects that need to be done by spring, as I look over long-term homeschooling plans for four children, as I put menus on paper that require a great deal of "scratch cooking" due to our renewed commitment to be both frugal and healthy.   And the night terrors...well, it just goes without saying that it is not okay with me for my sweet girls' sleep to be interrupted in such a traumatic way.   I was feeling very broken...completely crumpled, as a matter of fact.

I decided I needed to re-read some of what I had read in One Thousand Gifts the day before, so I went to Ann's blog, knowing that there was a link to an excerpt there.  While I was there, I "poked around" a bit, and came across a link to Jeanne Damoff's post Why God Made a Breakable World.   This was my first visit to her blog, but I realized quickly that she is another with an amazing gift of wordcraft.   I also realized that the conclusions to which she has come through her own road of suffering are conclusions to which God has brought me in recent years as well.  In her words, "God wants His people to go deep, and the deep things of God are hidden in redemption. This world was never meant to remain perfect. It was meant to be a potter’s wheel. A refiner’s fire. A place where mere men can be conformed to the image of Christ."  Yes.  Exactly that.  And I needed to be reminded of it at that very moment...and to continue to mull and ponder it throughout the day and then some...

On to church...my first Sunday services in several weeks...and the music through which God always seems to speak so clearly.   I love Camp Kirkland's "It Will Be Worth Everything"...

"It Will Be Worth Everything
When we see Christ, the King,
When He reigns.
Yes, it will be worth everything....

...We will meet Him in the air
On that day, oh, so fair.
What a Day!  
He is coming to take us, 
Completely remake us, 
And it will be worth everything!"

And then the always-powerful words of "It is Well"...

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my  way, 
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, 
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin--Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought:
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, 
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, 
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, 
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, 
'Even so', it is well, with my soul.

It is well...with my soul...It is well, it is well, with my soul."

~Horatio G. Spafford

As we were singing these verses, I was struck by the fact that verse 3...the verse that I tend to "overlook" in this song...should really be the most exciting of all.  A "glorious thought" indeed...and one that should overshadow *all* of the momentary trials that I often let overwhelm me.  

I was anxious to hear Bro. Kent's sermon...both because I had missed the last couple of weeks, and because of a comment that Lyndel had made in choir Wednesday night.   I spent the whole sermon being amazed (again!) at the ways God weaves the circumstances and influences in our lives together in a way that makes it crystal-clearly obvious that He is at work!

Snippets from my sermon notes...

Romans 8:20-22
In verses 18-19, God declared that all of the suffering we endure is not worthy of being compared to this glory that is to be revealed.  {My note...In the midst of the other events of the weekend, I had posted a link on Facebook to an update about a Pakistani woman, Asia Bibi, for whom we have been praying as she is in prison for her faith.  Her life has been threatened, and the government official who was instrumental in getting her death sentence overturned was murdered recently.  A friend commented on the link, "Our persecutions are not worthy of comparison, so far."  And my thought at that time was, "Nor are our sufferings..." I was reminded of that again here...our sufferings seem SO huge, and yet, even the sufferings that are greater than we can imagine are nothing compared to the glory that is to come!}  
All the beauty of creation and the grandeur of the Heavens are but a *shadow* of His glory.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, all of creation was dragged into sin with them....when they were broken, all of creation was broken...
When Jesus comes back, not only are *we* going to be restored, but all creation is going to be restored along with us...completely remade!
One of the most common misconceptions about sin is that sin only hurts the one who is sinning.  Even "secret sins" affect every relationship in your life--and even those with whom you have no relationship--it is a ripple effect to everyone around you.  
What we see...all we have ever known...is a broken creation.  Like someone who has never seen a car seeing two vehicles mangled from a head on collision and being asked to describe what a car looks like...impossible.  We read in Job that before the Fall, "the morning stars sang together..."   There was no rain...the earth was watered by a mist from the ground.  We have no idea how glorious creation was then...but we know that He is in the process of restoring it to its original purpose, just as He is restoring  His children.  
What does all this mean to us?  First, our sin is a much bigger deal than we think it is...just as we don't realize how broken creation is...and it looks beautiful to us...we don't see sin as the repulsive, depraved debauchery it really is...sin is a VERY big deal.  {This brought back to mind my thoughts about the 3rd verse of "It is Well"...}

Second, God subjected creation to the curse...But he had/has a redemptive purpose...wondrous desplay of His glory as he remakes it.  He is doing something through those who are saved..greater than what happened to the world through Adam's sin...a display of His glory.  We are going through all of this because there is something wonderful beyond description on the other side...like a woman in childbirth...like Jesus enduring the pain of the cross for the joy on the other side (Hebrews 12:2).  
Scripture tells us (Isaiah 65:17) that this world and the suffering that comes with it will be forgotten and never come to mind.  {Wow!  Love that verse!}  

Yes, we are broken.  Yes, we live in a broken world.  The universe itself is broken, and the grandeur that we see in it is only a shadow of what it was before the fall, or what it will be when it is restored and remade.  As Jeanne Damoff says, "God always knew the world would break."  He made a breakable world.  For reasons I can't begin to understand...because I'm not God!...that was part of His redemptive plan before He ever created the world or anything in it. The current consequences of that brokenness that we see in our lives are nothing compared to the joy and glory to come.  

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
~ Philippians 3:8-11

1~ That the brokenness was not an accident, not a mistake, but part of the perfect redemptive plan of a loving Creator-Father...  

2 ~ For the lessons He continues to teach me in the broken places...

3 ~ For the healing He continues to grant daily...

4 ~ For the blessing of the good days...the pain-free days, the trauma-free nights, the times that His blessings seem to overwhelm...

5 ~ For His Word, which truly is a light unto our paths and a light unto our feet...

6 ~ For the gift of music, and the comfort and joy He brings through it...

7 ~ For books and blogs and printed words of all kinds that encourage and inspire and teach and cause me to ponder...

8 ~ For friends who pray and encourage and cry and laugh (and make me laugh when I think i couldn't possibly!)

9 ~ For my children who bring so much joy, who build so much character :),  who amaze me everyday...

10 ~ For my husband, who loves me no matter what, and spoils me, and picks up my slack in so many ways, and who most of all demonstrates Christ's love to me...

11 ~ For the "bliss of this glorious thought: my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more...Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh, my soul!"

I'm linking up (for the first time!) today with Ann Voskamp's "1000 Gifts" and  Peter Pollock's "One Word at a Time", for which this week's word is "broken".  (And try as I will I can NOT get the 1000 Gifts graphic to load...I have tried over a dozen times and can't get it to work.  I'll try again later...)


A Joyful Noise said...

Yes, we do live in a broken world, but even so Jesus is here with us now. One day all things will be made NEW -- but until then, we can sing, and I love the songs you selected. Such a powerful post!

Marsha Young said...

One of my favorite books is by Christian psychologist, Dr. Paul Tournier who wrote "The Whole Person In a Broken World."

That is just what God wants us to become. And only His grace can get us there. ...Marsha

Jeanne Damoff said...

Hi, Jennifer! Lovely thoughts. Thanks so much for your kind words about my post. I'm bad about checking site stats, so I didn't notice this right away. I'm honored and so thankful that my words ministered to you!

Much grace and joy to you!