Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Bright Beginning In Brokenness

Horrendous ending, sweet beginning,
How do we connect such disparate things?
All we need do is have faith in Jesus,
And out of that hellish ending hope he brings.
Every time I’m blessed enough to have to recount my testimony of how God’s love broke through into my life and heart, I’m captivated all the more just how our Lord turns death into fresh life.
On the scrapheap of life – apart from the love of my beautiful daughters and parents – that was how it felt – I could do nothing else but take God at his promise. I had nothing else; no back-up plan; no idea how to live without hope.
The worst thing – to be blindsided and to lose the life I’d taken so much for granted – was the best thing that could have happened. Suddenly I was forced to start all over again; it was a go-back-to-the-start-and-don’t-collect-your-$200 moment.
At the End is the Beginning
Only if we can foresee hope is there any hope at all. Such a hope that is vacant at a sordid end is buoyed only by the one thing: faith.
Faith will take us from this horrendous ending into that sweet beginning, but the process of such a faith never feels good at the time. Only afterward are we assured that we took the right way by simply believing good things would happen if we were patient and gentle with ourselves.
At the end is the beginning if we can hold on to the only hope we have: Jesus.
When Jesus said, “Take heart, I have overcome the world,” he was saying that we will not have many of the answers life will require of us. We will be bereft. Forlornness will overtake us. It’s an important juncture, the end. It ushers in something new, life-transforming, yet dire and so incredibly soul-defying.
At the Beginning is in Sight, a Better End
We can only serve God, and derive such joy in doing so, if, when we are sent back to the start by God, we do go back to the very start and establish no such resentment for going back.
What is humiliating is not that by design; God brings us back to nothing only to rebuild our identity, our personality, our character. It’s a blessed rebuild.
At the end is the beginning if we can hold on to the only hope we have: Jesus. Our Lord can do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
There’s a bright beginning available in brokenness. The best faith emerges from hopelessness.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Matrimony of Joy and Peace

This fact is liberating yet depressing, true yet seemingly false, and the direct path to life yet it’s almost always indirect the route we take to get there. When we understand this golden truth, then we have the lonely confidence to make the most of life:
Peace is joy resting, and joy is peace dancing.”
—Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There is always something seemingly vital that we need to give up if we are to approach the Lord’s peace and joy – to rest well and to dance without inhibition. What we need to give up is our rights to ourselves. We need to explore a way of living that exposes us yet releases us. The releasing is conditional on the exposing. To gain something we need to give something up.
If we can no longer be held ransom for our needing all our rights satisfied, God can give us reign over the peace and joy available to us.
If we have no claim over the use and purpose of our lives – and the claims we have are generally self-serving – then God will make great use of us and he will give us a purpose that will provide us peace and joy.
Peace and joy collude. Joy and peace work in unison. When we present no barrier to the acquisition of joy and peace, the Lord works them more and more as yeast into the dough of our lives.
Joy and peace, peace and joy, are a two-for-one deal. And not only that, with the surrender that goes into the claiming of these two priceless gifts we get hope thrown in; and the ability to ply faith; and the desire and capacity to love.
What better life could there be than to rest in joy and to dance in peace? These are irrepressible destinations of the soul that seeks unity with God.
There is no catch other than to give up what we can’t keep (the control over our happiness) in order to gain what we can never lose (an operant salvation).
The best life is one that remits joy and peace, because those who have these partners-for-good will get a fire-sale of other miraculous qualities that ruminate within the being of the converted.
Joy and peace remain. Joy is inspiration and energy. Peace is a soul’s assurance. Joy expands capacity and capability. Peace makes them stable. Joy and peace work faithfully for each other. Have one and you have the other.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Importance of Taking Time to Think

Sitting in your bedroom, doing nothing, just thinking, imagining, creating, musing ever about nothing at all, pondering the future five minutes or a vision fifty years away; free within oneself. It’s the engagement of the senses in the meanderings of life, the rolling around in the mouth of a precious drop and the savouring of the velvety thoughts.
Many, many people are shackled to thoughts very far from freedom and, hence, they escape, and regularly. Escaping is done in myriad manner of activity and abandon; all of which is counterproductive.
Thinking for Healing
Thinking along the lines of pain seems counterintuitive – thinking as therapy. But to go into such a practice requires both courage and the felt Presence of God. Such thinking is likely to tip us over into the emotional abyss; tears to stream down the cheeks, heaves with every fresh thought of the carnage one experiences or perceives as possible to experience.
Thinking for healing involves the courage of facing one’s insurgent reality, going there with God, and allowing the resultant emotions to have their way. That of itself requires the courage of vulnerability – to feel safe enough not to protect oneself.
Healing necessitates a new paradigm; a fresh way of attitudinal approach; patterns and modes of thought that add value. And the key indication of healing – mental, emotional, and spiritual healing – is that thought, and room for thought, can be easily, readily, and enthusiastically accommodated.
Thinking for Raw Enjoyment
For the sake of sanity, being alone and free and wild about our thoughts, wherever they take us, we can easily while the hours away. Thinking for raw enjoyment is a blessing to the mind in such a way that the whole of our being feels great. There could be no artificial high to match it.
The heights of human experience are enjoyed more and more from the vantage point of the mind stimulated by thought abundant enough to make the felt experience second to none.
When we receive such a blessing as to be free without care in our minds, what is to be our due response? To thank God! It’s all that is due.
It is a gift to be free enough to think and to allow that blessed freedom to permeate the consciousness. The wellbeing experienced mounts up on wings like joy. The peace of cognitive abundance is exhilarating.
Free of mind,
And free of heart,
That’s how all,
Of God’s blessings start.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Will They Miss You?

We live our lives in so much of a blur,
We have no idea of the cost we may incur,
When death makes its unpredictable stake,
Those left behind are left
With that unmistakable ache.
Staring back at that haunting scene,
Considering what on earth our lives have been,
We are left with an awesome opportunity,
To get in touch with our familial community.
When all’s said and done, family count,
We hardly realise now just the amount,
We can save the regret if we make the effort now,
And leave them with memories all to endow.
Death is a cruel reality for the family man or woman that leaves loved ones behind.
What should haunt him or her – the idea that they leave behind a myriad of potential – and because of that will be sorely missed – doesn’t really occur to them.
Most people think death won’t happen to them. Everyone knows they’ll die, but few people imagine that death stalks us all. We take for granted the breath in our lungs and the electricity in our hearts that keeps us alive. We focus so much on having enough for our retirement, yet we focus so little on the slim chance we mightn’t make retirement.
This is not about being morbid. It’s about making the most of our lives from a post-death viewpoint, so those regrets we might otherwise have will be few; so there is much less pain and more thankfulness for our lives from our loved ones.
If we live life more from the vantage point of our deaths, we gain much more meaning for a life well lived.
A life well lived must be a central purpose of life; a life of love, of peace, of joy.
How will they miss you? What is that you do now within your family that makes you indispensible? How do you operate in your community that people value you so?
We might think of the things we don’t do that we should do. But what about the things we do actually do. Can we do them better? Can we gain an appreciation of what these things are and plan how they might be done if we weren’t around?
Now is the time to make the difference you can make. Now is the time to be awake and aware. Now is the opportunity.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.