Monday, June 3, 2013

Held in the Garden

Thanks to all your prayers, I made it safely to California.  Today has been a day of quiet and rest in bed, recovering from the adventure of yesterday. But it has been a wonderful day despite the pain I feel and the increased weakness and fatigue.  
Yet although I am experiencing some worsened symptoms, I am not completely run down and have been inspired and encouraged by some of the things I have read causing my soul to soar in hope and truth as the sea birds soar along the waves here. 
Today has been overcast and in some ways I am grateful for that.  It has allowed me to stay and rest in bed without feeling as though I should be outside soaking up all the sun and gaining all the freckles that I can.
It has also meant that the sky has been dancing in beauty.  The clouds have been a breathtaking backdrop to the bobbing boats in the distance. 
I think everyone has their special something in nature that they feel or see the Divine in.  Clouds are one of mine. 
I feel God's love and joy when the sun hits the changing clouds that slowly move on by. When the clouds seem to change all glorious colours of the palette - a true work of art. 
It is a gift.  A gift of His steadfast love. 

Another amazing gift He has blessed me with this day is a deeper and wider understanding of His amazing grace during times of struggle and wrestling. 
A dear friend of mine lead me to a post called The Garden. It is centred around Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane where He wrestles with God. Wrestles with God the Father's plan for the next journey of His life - the journey to the rugged Cross. 
I don't know if I have ever had my heart hit so hard by the story in the Garden.  I saw it in a new light. It became even more real. Christ's pain and struggle with the plan for His life was revealed in such a powerful way. 
The fact that He struggled and cried out to God for Him to take away the cup that was before Him makes me see my own struggle in a different light.  
It feel like I am now more free to struggle and wrestle with His plan for my life. To ask if there is a different way.  A way out of this debilitating illness. 
Christ knew all along that He would have to die in order to save us.  To bridge the gap between us and God the Father. Yet He still cried out to God with tears streaming down His face. 
This revelation seems to change everything for it dismisses guilt I feel when I struggle with His plan and purpose for my life. When I ask, why?  But I feel freed to really work through how I am feeling, what is running through my mind - some of the things I try to suppress. 
This gift brings freedom. Freedom to live life in it's true messiness.  To work through what is going on. To enter the Garden and meet with my Father.  My Father who holds me no matter how crazy, messy, and weak my life is.  Who holds me and promises to never let go. 

Jesus knew the answers to "Why, God?" and "How will this be worked out for good?" and He still wrestled.Before the physical world was made, there was a giant family-planning session.  And the three-in-one God knew the cost and wanted to proceed ahead.  Jesus' life on earth was a part of the agenda, and Jesus knew why.  He had known why for eternity.  He know how it would be good.  He wanted the good - that's why He was here.  It was a volunteer mission with a definite conclusion.
But the moment was still so hard.
It makes me feel better.  I know what the last chapter of my book says.  I've read ahead and know that "glory" and "paradise" and "no more tears" and "forever" and "eternally satisfied" and "rejoicing" is the end, and just the beginning.  I know the best is yet to come, and it won't be a tainted best - it will be thorough and full and tangible.  But I don't know the why's and how's for most of this life.  Many things I can look back on and say "Oh, whoa.  I see howthat had to happen in order for this to happen, and okay, yes, that was good."  But honestly, sometimes I just don't see it and God doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever.
And how refreshing is it that Jesus knew the facts, the plans, the details, the answers, the WHOLE story, page by page, word by word, because He was a part of the penning of the tale, but when He was set into a climax as a human character, He responded like one?  He allows us the freedom to work through and work out our salvations without fear of frustrating or resisting God.  He shows us that being a child of God doesn't mean we robotically and stoically crank through life.  He releases us to storm the throne room, dirty and disheveled, knowing that the scepter will always be extended, and that the King doesn't flinch when His royal garb is muddied by our tears and mess while He holds us.  It's where He wants to be.  Wrestling strengthens our relationship muscles with Him.  It's, again, not a sign of weakness as much as it is a sign of strength.  Thank you, Jesus, for showing me that even the answers to the questions can't ward off the pain and that I am allowed and invited to think, mull, weep, plead and interact with my Father.

- An excerpt from The Garden 

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