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“In Repentance and Rest is Your Salvation, in Quietness and Trust is Your Strength”

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.  Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass, that you forget  the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?  For where is the wrath of the oppressor?  The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.  For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name.  I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand — I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”  Is. 51:12-16

Fearing “mere mortals who are but grass”…but the grass can be prickly and hurt, it can provoke allergic reactions, it can grow long and entangle and it can become infested with weeds.  The grass can become so demanding or overwhelming that it consumes time and energy, sucking out passion and imagination.  So yes, even the grass which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire has successfully caused me to forget my Maker and wonder if I really am “His people”.

People can be so delightful and hilarious, bringing laughter and lightness of heart.  People can be encouraging and inspiring, motivating new boldness and strength of purpose.  But people can also so be passive aggressive, bullies or simply so self-absorbed that those around them are reduced to utilitarian instruments, existing primarily to serve the will of the most committed to their own dominion.  There is something very dehumanizing that happens when individuals become the most important person in a group, stripping the reflection of God away from everyone in a desperate search for his or her own enthroned image.  Judge not that ye be not judged…and as I have felt this hollowing out I have been the one slashing and burning all who do not conform to my will.

“Seek His face not His hands” was an instructive quote I was told in college.  I am to worship HIM not simply adore what He can do for me or through me or around me.  I was made to image Him in character by loving, serving, sacrificing, nurturing, mending, restoring, gardening.  I was not made to BE Him in power, authority, position or glory.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Rev. 2:2-4

I like deeds and doing, knowing and identifying “the true Gospel from new laws and false gospels”.  I have returned to being my own first love, forgetting the Lord my Maker who set the heavens in place, laid the foundations of the earth and put His words in my mouth and wrote them on my heart.  I would quite prefer, it seems, to be like one of the desert fathers who found utmost holiness in solitude, because in solitude you don’t have to deal with people and their sin and their different perspectives and ideas and thoughts and preferences.  But Jesus came to dwell among His people, to wash the feet of His creation, to be accused and despised by those with the power and influence to convince others He was wrong and they were right.  I want to run away from people and He moves right into the heart of them.  He never  mistook the grass for His Lord and never replaced His own will for the will of the Father.

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility;  perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.  Zeph. 2:3

Jesus is the only One who is perfectly righteousness and absolutely humble.  In Him we may be sheltered from the Lord’s anger.  In Him I may find life in abundance, never possible by slashing and burning in a vain search for my own kingdom.

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;  its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.  Is. 32:17

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