One In a Million

A thousand cuts

The psalmist dealt with this (for the sake of argument, I'm going to attribute the psalm to David). The straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. Death by a thousand cuts. He certainly sounds overwhelmed (Psalm 94:19): "In the multitude of my thoughts within me..." It sounds like an avalanche of input and events were seeking, conspiring even, to keep him down and prevent him from living out his vision.

I've felt like this many times. There is comfort in this verse, however: Proverbs (16:3) says this: "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." This truth is further explored in Isaiah (26:3), where it says "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in Thee." This sounds so cliched, but in our modern society, it's so easy to become inundated with the mundane and the trivial that consequently we miss and supress the voice of our heart (which is probably the voice of the Holy Spirit, if you were to slow down and analyze it closely). But David didn't stop there. Really, it was God coming to his rescue. The second part of the verse from Psalm 94 says "...Thy comforts delight my soul." (emphasis mine). Here, we have an example from history of someone who did it right. David—however old he was and whatever station of life he was at—discovered a jewel. Turn over for a moment to the book of Job. It sounds like this was something that Job understood as well (I'm sure he drew upon this in his suffering). In chapter 28 (verse 10), Job expresses this truth: "His eye sees every precious thing". There is beauty in the world around us. And if we acknowledge God with our thoughts and our cares and concerns and worries, He will pull us from the avalanche and show us the snowflakes. He gives "beauty for ashes" (Isaiah 61:3). The hard work of this process is believing that God cares more about the minutiae of our life than do we and subsequently acting upon that belief by bringing Him into the mundane. Hint: *whispering* It's not really mundane!

A thousand deaths

A conspiracy, you say? Horror films and books really find no purchase in me. This might sound abstract and obscure, but follow me here. Not to brag, but there are depths to people that are so abysmal (root word: abyss), and so diabolical (root word: diablo, devil) as to render the most horrifying monster feckless, a shadow of its former self. And if death is the worst they can do (I suppose hell would be a fate worse than death. Hmm...), then that's no big deal. I say all that to say this: Paul said something very odd, but perfectly in keeping with the command of Jesus to "take up our cross daily to follow [Him]" (Luke 9:23). He said he "die[s] daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31). You mean everyday? What's he talking about? He's referring to the greatest act of love that you can show anyone. God, others and yourself. By denying yourself, and choosing to live for God and others (in that order), you essentially die to your own will. God pulls no punches. We're learning and we're growing and there is mercy in this process. But it's either black or white with God. The rules and regulations of the Old Testament were unspeakably strict and harsh. In many areas, the slightest slip-up was met with a death sentence. Purity had to be maintained and if you take issue with that, that's fine. Bring your complaint to God, but know that Jesus is standing there with you as your advocate with the Father (see 1 John 2:1). God the Father is the same as He's ever been, but the reason these strict rubrics are not part of our life and culture is because Jesus took on that death. He "tasted death for very man (and woman)" (Hebrews 2:9). Be willing to die to your own will and choose God's over yours. David—or whoever the Psalmist was—did it. Jesus perfected it. And as Paul also exclaimed: "If by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead...I follow after..." (Philippians 3:10-11).

Jesus is the "resurrection and the life"! (John 11:25)

God bless you!

Conscience Bound Flight

The Genuine Article