Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hiding in the Fig Tree

I was doing my morning devotional today and a thought came to my mind as I was praying .

We think we are hiding things from God. In reality, we're hiding them from ourselves. 

In every life, even Christian lives, there are things we do, say, or think that we stick in a trunk in the farthest reaches of our mind or heart. We know they aren't "right". Not just horrible sins most people think of, but the little things, like neglect, unkind words, bitterness. Those are sins too. We may or may not regret these things but they're still wrong. And sometimes, no one may ever know about them. They are our secret sins, the ones that don't show, at least not too many folks.

So we stick them in the darkest corner, in the back of the attic of our heart and mind and forget about it. They're hidden. No one knows and eventually, even we will forget it is there. But like the tale-tale heart in Poe's frightening short story, or Able's blood from the earth in Genesis, they send out a signal that demands to be heard. These sins, big and small, are hidden but they cry out from the recesses of your soul for justice.

I grew up picking figs for Mama to make jelly and preserves. We had this enormous tree that was higher than the house. We'd climb around in there like monkeys and eat as many as we could while filling buckets with the fruit. You couldn't see us when we were in the tree but let me tell you a fact about fig trees. They have the most irritating leaves and sap you ever want to come in contact with. The sticky sap makes the prickly leaves stick to you.  After a few moments exposure, you are itching like mad and will continue to itch until you wash your skin off.

It is an irony that Adam and Eve prepared a garment of fig leaves to wear to hide their sin. Covering their shame made them feel better even though they had some of the most uncomfortable garments I can imagine. Their sin was hidden, from them and other prying eyes, but I have no doubt they couldn't forget it. After a while, every move would be an agony.

But God called them out. He gave them more comfortable garments and tossed them from the garden. They moved on and I suspect, they packed their sins in those trunks, shoved them in the far corners of their mind, and locked the door as tightly as the garden gate. They probably even forgot those little things. Their clothes were more comfortable, life, although hard, settled into a routine, they had all they needed. They could forget the past, ignore the present, and plan for the future.

And once in a while, when a sound in the attic disturbed their concentration... they'd pick up their phone and check their text messages, or Facebook, or tumblr ......

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Am Blessed

It has been a rough month... and it is only half over. I won't go into all the things that have hit me . It would take too long and range from the physical to the emotional to the spiritual and affected several relationships. You name it, I've dealt with it in the space of the last 6 weeks.

But there is a strange thing that has happened during all of it. The same words kept coming to my mind every time I was overwhelmed by stress, distress, anxiety, frustration, and annoyance.

I am blessed. I am highly favored. God has been so good and provided for me in every way possible.

 No, he didn't heal me of the horrible pain I've been dealing with or the emotional stresses that assailed me. Yet, the feeling of being so very blessed was there, in the middle of pain, in the middle of the stress.

I hate anxiety. I hate the shortness of breath, the tightness in my chest, the creeping fear that causes the hair on my arms to stand up. I hate the sensation that something is about to pounce, something dark and scary that I can't see. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Fear that has no direction, no limit, and no discernable source. It is the "Something is coming" feeling of every horror movie you ever saw.

But I am so blessed. God, for some unimaginable reason, smiled on me at some point.

Oh, I wish I could tell you the stories that would shock you, the ones that would make you stare open mouthed at me. I don't dare. I try and forget those. But how could all that happen to someone and they still say they are blessed.

I don't know. I really don't. I ask myself how and it makes no sense. I just know that the reality hits me in the chest at the most horrible times in my life. When I'm out of control, when I'm prostrate from grief, pain, or fear, I know if I listen carefully, shut out the chaotic sounds of my life, I can hear the words.

I am so very blessed. God is still in control.