by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
To begin another day, Lord, is to choose to lift a hymn of praise to You. This is not a blind push to pretend things are not as they are or to put a mask on aspects which are agonizing or unbearable. Nor a disguised plea to play on Your promises to get You to move the way I would like. It is a teeth-gritted choice some days to praise You still here and now because of who You are.
You are not magical or just miraculous. You are beyond both of these. You are the One Being who I know is Love and yet You are beyond description. You made us to have language, yet I can only express that for which words have been created. I try to create words to describe something I am coming to know about You. Yet, in this discovery, there is a point past which I cannot go. There You dwell in what is a mist of unknowing for me. Behind the veil.
Yet through Your holy Book as You have met with us through the ages, there You reveal the aspects of Yourself to me now. These feed and sustain, guide and console until the day You take me home.
The wonder that is Your greatness. Your care. The awe that You involve Yourself in our lives. In mine.
There is a reality that is larger and playing a role than what is seen and perceived with the natural mind. It is spiritual and greater than what my natural five senses can perceive. Angels and fallen angels. Saints who have gone before. You on Your throne. Jesus! Father still working out His plan through all things. And beautiful, gentle, mighty Holy Spirit who is with me on this journey.
Oh, blessed Spirit, thank You! Here in the midst. Here in the brokenness and awfulness, sorrow and disease, pressures and oppression, injustice and grief of this temporary exiled life where the evil prince of the air and his minions still have their way. Where this adversary works through willing minds, wrong mind-sets and vulnerable hearts to destroy me and those I love, one against the other through egos and wounds, woundings and misunderstandings, misinterpretations and outright evil choices. Through it all You remain, God with us. With me.
There are many hard things in this place. In this life. Yet, into this place from the unfathomable beyond-ness where You dwell, You also come. Fully Yourself and fully one of us. Jesus, You came to reveal Yourself in a touchable, tangible way and simultaneously impose Your kingdom over all, which at that moment had come, though not fully yet. The rescue plan to provide the way out of my seemingly endless exile so long promised.
In my small-mindedness, I was looking for something different than what You brought. In my small-mindedness the pain and the wrongness of today overtook everything else and my heart cried: I know You are good, therefore certainly You will save from all that hurts! We are Your children! You don’t want this for all of us!
Yet, yet, yet You Yourself, encountered problems and suffered in the same way. Why is the reality of hardship such a surprise to me?
What You showed is not a life without the pain, sorrow and problems, but how Father works through these to redeem. You let them mock and torture and kill You. You let them discount You. You did not care when they made fun of what You said or rejected You when You talked. You just kept going. United to Father. About His work which was Your purpose.
In You, I can see God, if I will choose to look and let Holy Spirit teach me. You came indescribably to me in ways I can come to understand You more through experience—even if I still lack the words.
You are teaching me now. Here. In this unexpected reality. You are teaching me more about the reality of the spiritual battle. And Your ongoing victory. How it will be hard here, but not to just be complacent and accept the hardness, but to look to You and let You grow and lead me productively through it. Sometimes You are calling me to be at rest in the storm. And sometimes Your Spirit calls to stand up and fight. Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.
3 A voice of one who cries: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord [clear away the obstacles]; make straight and smooth in the desert a highway for our God!
4 Every valley shall be lifted and filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked and uneven shall be made straight and level, and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it…
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might, and His arm will rule for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
SONG Recommended: WHEN THE TREES AND LIGHTS MEAN NOTHING–So You Sent Your Son album
If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.
for mini-devotions subscribe or connect on Facebook at Spiritual Armor and Ammo .