He Nailed It.

It’s been a hard season in our neck of the proverbial woods. There have been so many heartaches and headaches and crises galore… and layoffs…collapses…and lives coming to an unexpected end.

And in the midst of the struggles I find myself reflecting on the perpetual question in hard times…”why?”

And as soon as I ask it the answer comes pounding through my mind. The world is a broken place because of the innate self-fixation that is a part of us all. And that makes me think about my own failures. My sin.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every bad thing that happens is the direct result of some poor decision or sinful choice or thought on my part. I am saying that the hard or bad things in this life make me very conscious of my sin.

But I’ve been exploring the passion week of Jesus over these last few weeks. That exploration coupled with this greater consciousness of sin has combined in another of those “soundtrack moments” that I write about from time to time.

This time the song doesn’t show up on my easter-themed playlist. It’s  not even the chorus or hook of a song. It’s the third stanza of a classic hymn:

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought

My sin, not in part, but the whole

Was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

“It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio G. Spafford

I can’t get over this lyric and the profound truth it reflects. In the midst of this powerful hymn that resounds, “It is well with my soul,” the author recognizes that, despite the tragic reality of this human existence, it truly can be well with my soul because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Pipe dreams, you think?

Horatio Spafford, as he wrote that song, had just crossed the place on the Atlantic Ocean where his wife and daughters had been shipwrecked just a few weeks prior and only his wife survived. He knew the heartache that is a natural part of this life and is the byproduct of this sin-cursed world.

Yet, those words… “Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!” How he rejoiced to consider it! That thought, “my sin, not in part, but the whole is NAILED TO THE CROSS AND I BEAR IT NO MORE,” stirs the greatest recognition in my soul of a reality so far beyond the confines of this world.

My sin.

My sin is the reason life is hard. And my sin – the whole lot of it – has been nailed to the cross with Jesus and I no longer bear it.

I look around and see the heartaches around me…and I am conscious of my sin…but then, when I look for it, I always go back to Jesus.

He nailed it. All of it. Every last hideous drop. He nailed it to the cross and I bear it no more.

And, indeed, because of this truth, despite the chaos that seems it would swallow me up sometimes…it is well.

I’m Not, But I Want to Be

We’re in one of those transitional seasons here in Oklahoma where it’s not uncommon to use the heater and the air conditioner in the same day. It’s almost like the whole world is caught between what it has been and what it will become.

That resonates in me on so many levels. This morning I find myself burdened about many things…the weight of walking with brothers and sisters through excruciatingly trying times, the loss of connections that slowly eroded without my notice, the struggle of trying to lead people through change they’re not sure they want, and the growing sense that, like Queen Esther, I have come into the kingdom “for such a time as this.”

The joys of so many blessings mingle with the struggles that come from trying to move things that never should have been allowed to get rusted and stuck but they have. The laughter with friends and family mixes with the tears of fear and frustration when I find myself yet again getting in the way of the very progress I am working so hard to make and wonder if I will ever manage to at least stop hindering what I feel called to do.

And in the midst of this in-between time, when long sleeves are way too hot in the afternoon but the short sleeves require a jacket in the morning…when I want change but not enough to let go of my comfort…when I can see that I’m no longer what I was but am still so far from what I believe I will become….

…in the midst of it all, I am seeing a call to more completely, more absolutely, more faithfully love and live and lead like Jesus.

That’s all. Just be like Jesus.

And, as always, the soundtrack of life pulls from my memory this song from a very long time ago. Go ahead and hit play and give it a listen while you finish this.

The words of that chorus express the cry of my heart:

I wanna be a man like You – but my heart won’t face the task
I wanna be a man like You – but I tremble when I ask
Oh, the light that shines in darkness
All that’s good and true
Take me from myself and make me new
‘Cause I wanna be a man like You

I’m not, but I want to be.

So, will you join me in this prayer today?

Recalculating…

I always find it humorous when the GPS navigation device or app says, “recalculating.”

Unless I’m driving…then I don’t like it much at all. It’s like this smug little person in a machine is saying, “Hold on a minute while I figure out how to get you out of this mess.”

But what happens when we get so far off course that our GPS doesn’t even know where we are? Or maybe we just don’t have a very good connection with the satellite. What do we do then?

Continue reading Recalculating…