What we find in Christ we don’t find consistently in this world. Jesus’ opening words in the Sermon on the Mount run counter to what we often see played out in the world. Continue reading “The humility of a well-kept soul”
St. John of the Cross wrote on what was termed “the dark night of the soul.” It is a sense of deep loss. God has seemed to move off a bit. The darkness hides him. The silence is loud.
We need to voice out the loss. We like psalms of restoration, but we need to sing psalms of lament in the darkness.
“Eugene Peterson once wrote that before we can love our enemies, we have to pray our hatred.” — John Ortberg, Soul Keeping
We have times of disorientation and there are psalms to help us “vent” our way through the darkness.
We get the opportunity to have a test of our “joyful confidence in God.” (Ortberg)
I need to return to Ortbrerg’s work, Soul Keeping. I need those words to wash over me deeply because there are too many moments this past week where it hasn’t been well with my soul. Continue reading “Soul satisfaction”
“Your problem is not the first fifteen minutes of the day (what we would want to call “devotions”). It’s the next twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes. You must arrange your days so that you are experiencing total contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.” (Dallas Willard quote in Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg)
“The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.”
― Thomas Merton,
Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. — Henri Nouwen
“When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.”
― Thomas Merton,
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
— Mother Teresa
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits— (Ps. 103:1-2)
We can speak to our souls. The deepest seat of our deepest emotions is like the “control center” of our being. And there are times we need to speak out and get it in gear.
We can choose to recite the negative things going on in our lives… and the ills of life… and the tragedies we face…
Or… we can line it up and begin to go over the benefits of our gracious God.
What do we choose?
We had a fast and furious trip to Duluth to see our son in the musical “Pippin.” As I drive I have a lot of thoughts tumble through, none of which I can remember for very long. To develop them is a lot of fun… but maybe for another time… and privately.
Some thoughts along the way:
— We heard the news of the Malaysia Airlines flight being shot down, then of Israel invading Gaza. In the midst of all that I thought of an extended novel idea regarding the two Malaysian flights that have gone down this year. A rather good spy novel I know nothing about, so I’m sure Nelson DeMille will figure out something and really do it justice.
— On Russia, and the Middle East affair, what if the world just quit doing business in those areas? Just. Stopped. Not out of hatred for one side or another, but out of CONCERN for all involved. Let the world give these regions a “time out” by feeling a nice economic punch. FIFA needs to step up and do something moral for the first time in their existence: Threaten to take the World Cup elsewhere in four years. Long shots all, but drive time gives me a lot of time to think stupid crazy thoughts.
— Pippin is an amazing musical, at least the adaptation my son’s group did. It is a great morality play that finally lets people know they want to chase crazy dreams when normal may just be okay. We too often play to the edge and forget that Christ wants to take us to the center. Finding Christ the Center, we will understand how Christ was so attractive to the edges… and he drew them in to him. He didn’t leave them “out there.” Normal is okay, folks.
— Driving home was the best of all. There was a stretch of road where I reflected on three incredible sons, an amazing wife, the tremendous blessings amid the tremendous challenges… and I realized it is well with my soul.
Amazing blessings all.