Saturday, 8 December 2007

A Letter From Leah #39

Hello again Everyone,
This is an attempt at giving these [monotonous?] updates a bit of a format, and hopefully a pinch of professionalism (since their content is generally anything but professional!)

The Shallows
So, what’s been happening in the life of Leah? Well, I’ve moved… to the library. Expectations are high and deadlines come swiftly this year, so most days as well as nights I can be found in the library which friends and I have affectionately called "The Brooks&Brooks&Leah Library" for the three of us who work there together most often. Somehow the essays, proposals, exegeses, analyses, and presentations keep printing out just in time.

What’s God up to in my heart these days? Lots and lots. God’s using this time of heavy schoolwork as an object lesson (when is He not doing so, after all?) for 1 Cor. 10:31, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." He’s taken the concept right over—as "whatever you do" might suggest— and I’ve found even my cleaning duty this term (two community bathrooms!) is a chance to do something unto His glory. I suppose it harkens back to my old friend Brother Lawrence (A French monk from the 1500’s) and his "Practicing the Presence of God", as well as a new academic interest Thomas Traherne (an 18th century English mystic) and his "Centuries of Meditation" (both books and their writers come highly recommended by me!). I feel so keenly, as these two knew before me, that the very God of the universe lingers closer to me than my next breath. Surely that fact should influence my perspective of
every aspect of life…

The Deeps
It’s something that I’ve been pondering lately in my clearest moments, a bit breathless with wonder-- that ours is a God who draws near. I’m taking a philosophy course called Religious Experience where we’re studying peoples’ mystical experiences in all the various religions. I’m also taking a course on the Biblical book of Isaiah which may be the most beautiful (and harrowing) Old Testament expression of God’s passion towards His people that I know of. In a time when I’ve been walking down a rather lonely road of some intense personal struggles, I have been confronted again and again with the sheer hugeness of His love, a love so limitless that when I try to wrap my mind around it, I simply get lost there in my foolish little head. No other god, no other spiritual high of any religious experience compares. No other god is big enough to endure hundreds of years of rejection (by the people of Israel whom He wooed with wonder upon wonder) and still stoop in compassion for mankind in the New Testament only to be rejected again and killed. No other god is brave enough to make Himself vulnerable enough to love, and love, and love again a people, a person like me, who cannot possibly be as true to Him as He is to us. Even when the deepest rivers seem to sweep over and through me, He does not let them overcome me… because He walks right alongside, even carrying me in His arms (Isaiah 43:2, 63:9). Our God is the only god who draws that near.

I find the path I walk challenging. I find I don’t naturally suit the climate, don’t have quite the right shoes for the trail, and struggle to maintain my balance on the steep incline. Sometimes I feel overcome by a river of my own insecurities, weaknesses, and inadequacies. The deep, deep answer to all this, a truth that He’s written on my heart and has been rewriting afresh lately in His nearness is simply this: I am His.

I belong to the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, King. The Painter of the skies, the Sculptor of the land, the Setter of the stars, leans down to take my hand. He deems me in my meagerness more precious than words have been invented to describe, and the one He gives me is my only true identity, no matter how everything about life in this broken world will try to convince me different.

This is the defining characteristic of my life: I am His.

Being His endows me with splendour (Isa. 60:9) that I cannot seem to accept. It also gives me purpose I can only endeavor to live out in my blink-of-an-eye existence. It means I am His bond-servant, His hands and feet wherever I can reach and walk, His voice in my little sphere of influence. Incredible incredible responsibility; or perhaps a better description would be that it’s an incredible incredible privilege to belong to the very meaning of life; to Love itself, to Hope, to Joy, to peace, to strength, to glory, and every other defining characteristic of this God who loves in a language so intense I can hardly understand it. To fear anything at all in life seems very silly considering the company…

As Christians it’s very easy to get used to hearing all the stories and applying all the scripture and just getting on with it (especially at Christmas when it’s all around us and so familiar...). This year God’s express concern for my life is shaping out to be that I will actually understand the implications of belonging to Him and live out this truth in my life to the very core. It’s about trust and it translates into issues of self-esteem and confidence. I’m finding it hard to believe Him. I have believed so many false things about myself. This past term the heat has been turned up in such a way that I might all the more easily believe all the falsities. But YHWH God—this God who rescues, delivers, and redeems simply because that is Who He is— will woo us until we know, if we’ll live day to day with our eyes and ears open for Him.

My prayer for you is that you will seek to live with eyes wide open. You will see Him. He promises in Jeremiah to be found by all those who will seek Him with all their hearts. My prayer for my life is the same.

So, may we seek to truly know this Love this Christmas—to know it in such a way that it can seep into every crevice of our lives. He could deserve no less and whether we realize it or not, we could want no more…

Deep, deep Love,
Leah <><

p.s. Expect a more concrete and earthed update about Christmas and break and placement and all soon.

For Those Who Pray:
-- Please be praying that He opens up the doors for the perfect block placement for Jan/Feb and smoothes the road to get me there (finances, travel, accommodation, etc)
-- Please pray as God works in my heart, as it’s had a pretty rough term and He’s set me on a process toward some pretty serious healing there..

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