Friday, October 23, 2015

Have Hope

Some where, far, far away, on top of a distant mountain, buried back in the woods in a perfect cabin, or in some perfect house unlike the one you live in now, is complete happiness. 

Have you ever felt like that? Like if you could just tweak one thing, if you could just move somewhere else, if you could just find peace on the top of a mountain, life would be always happy and always perfect. I know I have felt a semblance of this before. A feeling that if I could just escape, just fly away, all would be well. All fear would vanish and all peace would come in.

This evening, after getting home from work, I helped my mom put together some enchiladas. Since I was home alone for a while, I put on some Disney princess songs to listen to (yes, I secretly enjoy listening and watching a good number of the Disney princess movies....) Eventually, after my mom arrived home from her shopping, we ended up listening to Frozen's soundtrack...again. 

This movie is fascinating because it delivers a powerful message of what true love can look like and also shows that love releases the spell of fear. In the movie's top song, "Let It Go," Elsa sings:

"It's funny how some distance,
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!"

The words are rather ironic because we soon see that while Elsa believes that she has escaped her fears by fleeing, she is still stuck in an out of control cycle. She is still controlled by her fears.

I have often struggled with fear- even fears of completely unrealistic situations occurring. I think I have sometimes felt that peace lies far away- almost as if it is a destination instead of a truth which can exist no matter where you are. My fears have often controlled me - like a powerful whirlwind, confusing, smashing, taunting, never ending. But recently, I have begun to feel them less strongly. Some days I feel myself becoming re-shackled, the chains tighten about my wrists. I trade freedom for believing that I can control a situation by my obsessing and worrying. When you wear your fears, you cannot escape them.

But slowly, slowly, it begins to feel as though they are loosing their power. And suddenly, I feel as if I can be alive. I can live. I can breathe. I can rest. I know there will be set backs, I know I will cringe, believing my bonds to hold me once again; shamefully bowing my head under the weight of imaginary oppression. 

And yet... And yet, my King is the King of love. My Savior loved me so much that He gave up His life for me. No matter what, I am His. And He possesses perfect love. His love is so very perfect, He suffered for me. Because He cared about me coming to Him. And as it is said, "Perfect love casts out fear." There is no reason to have fear when you know that you are perfectly- incredibly- loved by God. And as you slowly begin to have a fraction of the ability to comprehend this, fear slowly begins to slip away. Powerless. For fear leads to death and death has no power over those who belong to Jesus, because He has conquered death. 

In the end of Frozen, Elsa comes to the realization of love. And is she does so, her terrible storm, created by the terror which had power over her, completely vanishes. And she is back home. Not on some far off mountain. The process may seem slow, but it can be the same for you- only twice as beautiful. In the presence of true love and true hope (the truest of these leading to eternity with Jesus), fears slowly become dispelled. So have heart and take courage, because if I, a slight version of Much-Afraid, can begin to feel the hope of what is just beyond the horizon and the joy of living in His presence, then be assured, He can work in you too. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Who Made Heaven and Earth -And The Mountains

Like so many of my other drifting trains of thought and wondering ideas up there inside my brain, let me start with a conversation a few days back. Mom and I were running. I've been slowly getting back into running after a couple weeks off due to my surgery. I was telling her all about a movie a good friend of mine and I had been to see on Sunday. (Some days its just nice to be distracted when running...)
And since this movie was based on a true story, I was also filling her in on some of the facts which the movie didn't reveal. The movie was Everest, an awe inspiring and heart wrenching film which dealt with a two day blizzard which occurred right when a larger group of aspiring climbers were attempting to summit Mount Everest. I do not exactly remember what part of our conversation we were at, but my mom quoted to me a version of a verse found in Proverbs 25:

Gorgeous mountains in Alaska
"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter." 

I think our conversation might have had something to do with the splendor of the mountain. It is truly dumb founding. Incredible. Powerful. Stunning. And dangerous- deadly. One take away from this story is the fact that as much as one may plan and prepare for a journey, such as the one to the top of the mountain, all that has to change is just one flickering of the weather. Mount Everest is untamable and shrouded from perhaps being completely understood by men. Yet it is held in the hollow of God's hand. This mountain, with all its majestic and thrilling beauties is merely a creation of God. I absolutely love that God has given us such gorgeous creation to wake up and marvel at everyday. I think it gives us a tiny fraction of a glimpse of His glory- though His glory is something which I can not even begin to comprehend.

As human beings, we are always trying to find out how things work. Always looking for a way to explain something. Always looking to conquer an obstacle. And though we often make excellent head way, in the end, there are so many things that are impossible for us to fully grasp. As if they were shrouded. It makes for even more wondering at God's perfect control. He understands  all things. He is completely in control. 

I have no desire to climb Mount Everest in the future (are you kidding me, it has to be freezing there! And I have a space heater in my bedroom while my parents have the Air Conditioner on!). But I have my own mountains to climb- with clouded over paths and directions which I cannot quiet discern. When things go awry on my little personal climbs, I may search for a reason- may even insist that I must know. May fight the fact that God is holding me now and forever more. But He knows all things. And perhaps He conceals many things from us. The truth is, if we knew all things, if everything was easy to explain, why would we need to rely on our all powerful God? The mystery matters, be it an almost six mile high mountain, a flaming sky, or the purpose and plot of struggles and quiet times in our lives, only add to the amazement we can feel when we muse over our God. 

So friend, if you are in His arms, rest. Take a deep breath. Look up to the mountains. They are wild, untamable, unpredictable, and He holds them in His hands. If God has such perfect control over these awful, thrilling, gorgeous mountains, if He so holds them and the whole world in His hand, then rest assured He holds you too. And if you are His, He will never, ever let go. 

And to sum it all up, I end with a verse which comes in part from Psalms 121 and from one of my more favorite Christian songs- 

"I look up to the mountains, Does my help come from the mountains? No, my help comes from God who made heaven and earth and the mountains." 
~"Shoulders" For King and Country

P.S. - if you have not got any mountains upon which to gaze, take a moment to look at the sky, the ocean, a lake, a flower. They are all His creations!