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Saturday gazing

October 13, 2007

Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God: but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin…(Hebrews 3:12-13)

I read Hebrews today, the loveliest reading of the book I have ever enjoyed. What a gift. The text refreshed me, so much more because of the relief it brought that I could find so much delight and awe in the word.

I have been worried. I don’t think I have an evil heart of unbelief, but I have feared for my perseverance. I have felt a draft from the cold chill that kills.

I have been afraid. I’ve never been this afraid of everything before. I’ve never been this sick before. I’ve really never been very sick at all; I’ve had pain and fatigue, but not anything that required medication unless I wanted to take it. I have insisted that I am not railing against God’s providence even as I take up arms.

This war, I tell myself in my hardened deceit, I intend to fight with information and compliance with unwelcome protocols. I will get through this perturbation in my routine with research and facts. Not with faith; how could I rely on my weak faith? Has my faith ever been tested? I can’t even begin to face that question. This is no time to consider past and future failures.

Providentially, through circumstances I could never have brought about by research or reliance on facts or protocols, but which were set in motion at the beginning of my being who I am–and long before that–a few exceptional exhorters have come into my life. They are hard on me sometimes, and they encourage me, and they gently poke and prod to make sure I’m not getting too hard. One actually had the courage to marry me; why the others have me on their rolls is a mystery to me.

I don’t know what faith is.  Yes, it is the conviction of things not seen, but I don’t know how it feels or how it thinks.  I know it is Christ, not my faith, that delivers, but I need his help even to trust that he has given me faith that truly trusts him.  I need his help even to believe I even want this at all.

Somehow, my exhorters rather ruthlessly snap my gaze back on Christ when it wanders. Then wonderful things happen. My gaze becomes a longing gaze.

  1. October 13, 2007 7:39 pm

    What a blessing! Now what would heaven be like, I wonder, with exhorters like that? Lots and lots of exhorters like the “dew”.

  2. October 13, 2007 7:42 pm

    Well I don’t reckon we’ll need much in the way of exhorters in heaven! Our gaze will be FIXED, as in steadfast as well as in repaired!

  3. October 13, 2007 7:55 pm

    How about a great crowd of witnesses attesting to God’s mercy?

  4. October 13, 2007 7:59 pm

    Ah, brother, my good ASV says we are already compassed about with so great a crowd of witnesses!

  5. Heidi permalink
    October 14, 2007 6:39 am

    Lauren I am so glad to have read this first thing Sunday morning. I don’t think I’m very good at exhorting but I know how valuable exhortation is, and what you said in the last two paragraphs — wondering if we even want what He wants, and then having our gaze turned to Him by His kind providences including the people around us, and longing for Him again — is a summary I will remember. How complicated everything gets with sickness, the past, our own sin, and how simple to look at Him and want Him again.

  6. October 14, 2007 7:16 am

    Heidi, yes, it is something to ask for, to keep it simple.

  7. Janet permalink
    October 14, 2007 9:44 pm

    “Lord,I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

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