Hearing the call

The naked wood, bare and brittle and dry, is as much a part of the tree's life as the sap's rising in the spring. The Lord is still in charge, still moving in mysterious ways even when He gives the enemy of our souls permission to trouble us...To ask why implies a conviction that there is a reason somewhere. Somebody must be responsible for this.
~ A Path Through Suffering: Discovering the Relationship between God's Mercy and Our Pain, Elisabeth Elliot

Did you know I was a librarian? For 8 years? It was my first job - a volunteer position my mother finagled for me at the local public library at the age of 12. I learned Dewey Decimal, card cataloging, and became intimately (and fearfully) familiar with the dusty, cob-webbed annex in the attic of a century old building on our town's tiny Main Street. In college, I ran the reserve library - the place where pre-Internet students went to request microfiche copies of articles in scholarly journals, where I was connected by telephone and fax data line to millions of librarians elsewhere in an spiderweb of data strung along hard wires the world over. Books have been passionately, intimately wound through the song of my existence since my earliest memories of childhood. They are the friends I still turn to in the darkest solitude and grayest dusk of days of trial.

There is one book that has quietly trumped all the others I've read: it's sophistication, nuance, provocation, hilarity, command, and humility intrigue me. It is, of course, the Bible. The Living Word. I didn't quite believe in it's power for so many of the years I read it. I read the hollow words of promise that didn't ring true at the time: so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11) I pondered the esoteric words of John 1, and wondered if anyone could ever understand it: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Has anyone ever reckoned this statement? Has anyone ever understood it?

Why do we, as a culture, a society, a world, still cling to words that seem so meaningless and centrifugal? Why does this one book still command so much attention from me, an intelligent, cynical, wounded, floundering human being? What is there, in these confusing words, that rings true to the core of my being, that demands a response, that begs me dig deeper?

I am not alone in the world. I am held every night by the dearest, sweetest, hardest-working husband. My neck is held gently by baby hands, little feet cling to my hips through the day and the long dark night. Children clamor about me for love and attention. Even in death, you could say I don't have fear: I've left something on this mortal clod to be recognized, valued, admired. It isn't emptiness that baffles me, but rather that sixth-sense that there is something in that dark void. Someone. Someone who appeals to my rationality, my emotion, my intellect, my curiosity. It is the recognition that to ask why is to imply that there is someone responsible. There is something bigger, larger than the scope of my life, grander than the conglomeration of those who surround me and support me.

Amy Carmichael says that underneath are the Everlasting Arms. When anesthesia kicks in, and you are left crucified on a meaningless physical cross, stranded on an operating table with your fate sealed in the hands of a error-ridden surgeon and a team of human skill and mistake, underneath are the Everlasting Arms. You don't go into the void alone. You don't come to without sensing that deep, everlasting, conquering presence that has sustained you and held you through the hours of darkness and the months to come of suffering and healing. He is there with you. Forever. Whether you realize it or not. I am not - this selfish human form I inhabit - the purpose or reason for any of this. He is. I don't live or die for narcissism. Blogging isn't about what does or does not occur in my life. It is about how I am held. How I am loved, extravagantly. How grace is poured out, mercifully. How vigilant, kind, sovereign, just, omniscient this God is, who I serve.

I can't bring you to the trough if you don't want a drink. I can't open the Book to blind eyes. I can't speak to a deaf heart. What God has spoken to my heart, I will faithfully echo. What He sings through every melody of my life, I will harmonize. What He cares for, and loves, and heals, and serves, I will proclaim.

Without him, I am just a bare bones body on a funeral pyre. Without him, I am hopeless in a desolate world of pain. Without him, I am simply a legacy of a few generations, a voice of suffering in a world of complacency. I am just a cancer-ridden woman in a sea of healthy, shocked acquaintances who read my words and weep for my pain and move on for their sanity.

Don't weep for my pain.

Don't move on for your sanity.

Find out about this Word that changes and heals you at the core of your being.

Get to know Him.

Learn to love Him.

Live to serve Him.

Die for His glory.

Don't just let this be words that pour over you and never soak in.

He is calling.

Calling you.