Thursday, 22 November 2012

If it aint broke...

"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out" (Isaiah 42:3)

The days grow longer. Now that the exuberance of Spring has passed, the heat of the day shimmers off zinc rooftops and releases heady fragrances in our young garden. The Wattle branches are weighed down by thick clusters of yellow flowers. These are lifted on the breezes, adding another note to the summer perfume. Arum lilies spread out in drifts, and in thickets of thorny bramble bushes, tight berries start to ripen in the sun. The first blush of clambering roses are loosing their splendour, while the watsonias start to appear, soon to fill the fields with a red blaze. In the early hours of the day, Inesi's "lawn" comes alive with a sea of dandelions, weedy but wonderful! The formal gardens of Hogsback are an absolute delight to the senses, their gentle order and structure calming after the wild abandon of our patch.

I am always amazed by the resilience of God's creation. After the freeze of a heavy snowfall, as the wonder melts away, the most delicate plants re-emerge; unharmed, refreshed. Field mice stroke their whiskers and scurry along unperturbed.

My mountain driving skills, or lack thereof, have also put the odd bush, tree or fence-post through a few ordeals. I remember a particularly rainy day, when our truck did not quite make it to the top of the slippery incline towards the gate.  A young elm, gracing the base of the incline, happened to be in the way when I attempted a controlled backward slide to where I imagined the road to be. This poor specimen gracefully bowed down, allowed me to drive half over it, then tried to lift itself up again when I roared off for a second attempt. Half the bark had been taken off, and it was hunched over like a pregnant woman feeling the first labour pains. I felt awful, thinking that we would need to saw it down, in the hope that it would send out new shoots from the stump. The operation was delayed and  about a month later, when I stopped to open the gate, I noticed with delight that the trunk was busy repairing itself. Slowly, "scar tissue" formed over the injured part, and this tree still stands, rather askew,  but a proud witness to the resilience of nature (and my clumsiness).

The Creator of the Universe holds each living organism in the palm of his hand. He, who cares enough to patch up a damaged tree, how much more willing and capable is He to heal his children, the delight of his heart.

I have always (cognitively) known this to be the truth, but probably never fully understood the extent to which our Father desires for us to be whole. Or what it would take from me to free Him to do this. What it took from Him, to make it all possible. In our family, it took for us to be broken and almost torn apart to admit that we where in need of His grace to heal us.

St Patrick's on Fire - Hogsback

What it took from God was to give His only Son, to be "broken" on the cross, so that His children could be saved and walk in grace with Him. The difference being that He had no flaw. He, the son of God, was sent as a man, to take on the atrocities (sin) of mankind. His physical suffering was but the tip of the iceberg. Not only did the world torture and reject Him, his own Father turned his face away at the very moment when His Son cried out: Why have you forsaken me? Why would He do that? Because he loved us so much more than we could ever conceive. His love covers all our mistakes, counts them no more. For Christ did not surrender to the death that drew Him into the bowel of darkness. He was woken up, taken up into the light, where he now sits on the right hand of our heavenly Father. There, he takes our pleas to God. For He knows what it is like to be human, was tested as we are tested. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Holy trinity that makes us WHOLE.

You know the saying: "If it aint broke, don't fix it". If I constantly fill my life with diversions: things to do, things to want, things to decide and mull over - there can be no space or silence in which to become vulnerable before God. To admit that I am broken, constantly in need of  His "fixing". Day by day, the realisation grows; the great Physician is at work in me. Of myself I am nothing, but in Him, I can soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, be more than my, and everyone else's wildest dreams could possibly imagine.

Photo: Praying soldier, Israel Today

We all breathe a sigh of relief on the eve of cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. We did not hear when the missiles struck, or fear for the safety of our families in our safe little corner of the world. I cannot claim to be up to date with the intricacies of the political situation. But I did feel deeply saddened by the day to day infliction (from both sides), of more hurt and less forgiveness. No one knows the heart of man but God. My prayer can only be that the day would come that a generation remembers the name of their Messiah, all who have been hurt, surrender the need to be avenged, forgive and admit the need to be saved. For on that day, the abundance of God's grace will flow and we will all be made whole in Him.

"For you who revere my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap with joy like calves released from the stall" (Malachi 4:2)

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