When You Keep Looking

The muddled middle and the dusty ground scattered with leaves – have your eyes been caught there?

It’s the last evening of October and our pumpkins are glowing out on the front step, the doorbell rung over and over, even after we ran out of candy. I am piled high with little ones while I read of Caspian and Lucy and Edmund. Eustace no longer whining and Reepicheep so brave. The Dawn Treader turned towards the End of the World before I closed those pages for goodnight kisses and I can hear the neighbours calling for their little girls to come inside.

The comfort of home settles in and everything that happens outside of these walls, as heavy and weight-filled as they are, lose their grip when we all come close together and the skin of those four that formed underneath my own and the hand of that man who promised his life to mine, we all press in close and for the few hours we have before we face another day, we are sure. We are safe. We are comforted.

The dark can press in close, but my eyes, they drift to find the light of home and I am anchored here to the ones I love most.

Morning can come bright and glaringly early – can shine a light on all that is uncertain and unsettled and all that is unknown can rudely invade to remind that control is but an illusion and humanity is really just fragments of fragile dust.

And the eyes drag down.

A friend, she posted all tongue-in-cheek about the weather here – how fall comes blowing in with the sun. Winter freezes white while the sun shines on. Spring and summer are rarely without the brightness of the sun and although the days are rare, my rain-loving self can’t help but look for any evidence of heavy clouds building.

I keep lifting my eyes to find them pregnant with rain.

And my soul keeps longing for the One Coming on the Clouds.

James, he wrote those words while the Church was still so young, when the Voice of his half-Brother was still so fresh in his mind. When wearing the mantle of Christian was a risk and a gamble and life became uncertain. When death and persecution was a very real reality, he wrote to the dispersed Church around him:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…

James 1:2

Don’t get over them. Don’t rush through them or past them. Rejoice –> IN <– them.

James tells us not to be too hasty to escape the faith-testing valleys, because it is those valleys which contain the fertile soil needed to produce steadfastness. And steadfastness – being immovable, unable to be shaken, deeply rooted  – is perhaps the true “wellness” we should be seeking. “Lacking in nothing,” as James says…. whenever you find yourself in a place of trial: do not minimize it or rush through it. And most of all, do not waste it! Instead, do it well.Let it have its full effect. This – as backwards as it may feel – THIS is the time to thank The Lord. This is a time to rejoice! Not because bad things happen. Not because this poor, fallen world is full of death and injustice and sorrow. Rejoice because the sovereign Lord calls you His own, and He loves you enough to descend with you into the dark-yet-mysteriously-fertile valleys (where even Christ Himself descended), to produce in you a steadfastness which cannot be shaken.   (#shereadstruth)

Autumn is settling in and air warmed by our lungs puffs out in frosty steam. The trees burn with the last of the season’s passion and what is walked through in the valley, what is wrestled with in the quiet dark, what is held tenderly in opened hands is all meant to keep lifting these downcast eyes of mine, to remind an overwhelmed heart that those clouds I long for will one day hold The One Who will make all things right.

He is coming.

There is hope.

Just keep looking up.

The clouds sat on the edges of those mountains as I headed home into the glare of the setting sun and I thought of You and the moment when those clouds will hold You once again. Thoughts can rage wild at all the unknowns and the questions and my heart can become so troubled with what only my eyes can see. But You, the One Who is outside of all time and the One Who has all of time written and mapped out, You place those clouds on the edges of the mountains so that I will lift up my eyes and be reminded – You may not be coming in all of Your glory just yet, but I can lift my eyes up to the mountains and know where my Help comes from. My help come from You, Maker of heaven and earth and my soul can rest in Your sovereignty and hope for Your coming and rejoice in You in all of the ache of the in between spaces.

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