How to Live when Life Just Hurts [#TheJesusProject3]

The logic took on skin.

The Logos, the Logic, the Word, the Lord, moved right into the neighbourhood, moved right on into the house.

What are the chances that He’d get right up under my skin?

An old girl can hope? Pray? Both. Both would be good.

They say a bunch of them have seen His glory.

But I’m the girl you can count on to be out-of-fashion late, the one who forgets dentist appointments, who shows up at the wrong place, wrong time, hopelessly schedule-challenged, and oh yeah, do I miss Him a lot of the time.

They’ve seen Him a lot, have they?

My eyes can ache, stress cataracts, filmy faith.

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Somebody else, some glossy saint, may have seen His glory, the Shekinah come down in some blinding blaze, but likely I was scraping burnt egg crud from the stove top again, like picking at a bad scab every morning, and I missed Him. Again.

And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us,

and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,

full of grace and truth.

They say that this is the verse that encapsulates the essence of the  book of John.

Divinity and humanity indivisible, incomprehensible, in Christ.

They say that this is one of the most important verses in all of Holy Script. This is the radical happening. That earthiness meets holiness under a sheer sheath of skin? It could happen again.

They say that the word dwelt means “to tabernacle.” The Logos, the Logic, the Word, wrangled Glory into into an envelope of thin skin and pitched His tent among us. The pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire, pulled on a skin?

Take that to the bank and live your life on wealth of it:

Your God’s not absent, distant, impotent.
Your God’s vigilant, infinite, omnipotent, and intimate.

He made dermis His tent and lit the flesh with a pillar of glory — then walked among us? With cheekbones and stubble and hands that could hold you? Came and dwelled among us and knocked on the front door and asked if He could come in? Localized glory for your localized pain.

He pitched His tent and camped right in the middle of us.

Jesus could come camp right in the middle of you. Glory.

They say that. That He’s the Word, and when you read His Word, you behold His glory.

Behold His glory. Theaomai His glory. Theaomai from thaomai — “to wonder.” Not a glancing — but a gazing.

I know — Who has really beheld Him, seen Him grave-bust a few cadavers lately, cast out a few raving mad demons here in the last week?

There are witnesses: I’ve seen Him raise the depressed dead right out from under 180 count cotton sheets, right out from fountains of deadening alcohol and greying, rotting marriages, and I’ve seen faith that’s not fake, that pulses through old girl veins.

I’m fool enough to say I’ve felt it.

I’ve got this bracelet engraved with “Jesus” that’s pressing constantly into my skin. There are metaphors. There are things happening that you see and so much more happening that you don’t and we could all stop saying it right now: “It is what it is.” Because all is not as it seems. It is more. It is always infinitely more.

It’s a thing, to open the Word and feel glory in your hands, like Shekinah in your palm, and you can ingest Words, sparks of glory, and they can get into your blood, run your veins, enliven you, revive you, remake you. This is the daily incarnating.

We beheld His glory and were held.

Somedays you’d really think it, but who knows if you know anything:

Seems there are a whole lot of men who see more glory in ESPN and superbowls than in Christ, in supernatural hope. They prefer pigskins.

Somedays you want to keep throwing your pearls before swine.

Because no one in any dung pile is too far gone from God.
His arm will go anywhere, to redeem anyone, from anything.

That changes any temptation to judge or reject.

That keeps you over the egg crud on the stove praying for your own blurry scales to fall off.

So that’s the thing:

The Shekinah glory abode in the Tabernacle.
Then the glory of God tabernacled in the skin of Jesus.
The grace and truth of Jesus now tabernacles in you.

Localized glory moving throughout the world.

So we beheld His glory? We didn’t only read of it? Didn’t only read of it in parchment thin paper that crinkles in first light or on bluing screens of hacked FB memes?

We didn’t only hear of it? Didn’t only hear it from preacher’s lips or belted from the pulpit or through the static of some all night radio program? But we beheld it?

Faith beholds glory, Faith sees Glory. That’s what Spurgeon wrote:

Faith is sometimes assisted by Experience and Experience sees His glory.”

Experience sees the glory of the thousand times He’s rolled away our etched-in-granite sins; experience sees the glory of His blood scrubbing away the stained filth underneath our fingernails, experience has seen the glory of His will gently covering our raging, ranting one.

Experience sees the glory of Jesus’ arms when they slip under ours and lift us above the rising waters there at our thin necks, and it’s experience that sees and feels and tastes the salty glory of His whispered words holding us closer: “I hold you. Fear not. You will not drown.”

We have beheld Him… and we are held.

There is exquisite fullness of grace and truth in this, the fullness of those arms holding you.

I had scratched it down in One Thousand Gifts, what Piper had said:

“If you want to really see Jesus’ divine beauty, his glory … then make sure you tune your senses to see his grace,” urges theologian John Piper. “That’s what his glory is full of.”

And I had written:

“Grace then  — that is what the full life is full of, what God’s glory is full of.

To see His glory, name His graces.

Retune the impaired senses to sense the Spirit, to see the grace.

Couldn’t I do that anywhere? Why is it so hard? Practice, practice.

Practice at that stove, old girl with that scraping razor in your hand. Behold His glory — name His graces.

Practice the retuning of your impaired senses to sense the Spirit, to see His glory, old girl who could throttle kids whose muscles keep giving out and they can’t get coats to hooks and boots to closets and clothes to drawers and you feel like you can’t stay above the drowning waves.   

The salty glory of His whispered words hold you closer: “I hold you. Fear not. You will not drown.”

Behold His glory — and your raging heart will be held. 

You can feel it coursing through you, what Spurgeon wrote:

These eyes have never seen the Savior, but this heart has seen Him.

These lips have never kissed His cheek,

but the soul has kissed him and He has kissed me with the kisses of His mouth, for His love is better than wine.

Think me not enthusiastic or fanatical when I say that the children of God have as near access to Christ to day in the spirit, as ever John had after the flesh.

So that there is to this day a rich enjoyment to be obtained by those who seek it, in having actual fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.”

And the old girl at the cruddy stove weeps a bit and is not ashamed. She is only a longing.

I once saw a picture of a girl.

She’d taken chalk and drawn a picture on the concrete of her mother, so she could see her mother right there.

And then she’d taken off her shoes, like she knew it’s all holy ground, and she’d crawled up to where the heart would beat —  and she’d fallen asleep next to a love like that.

Her mother drawn all around her.

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There is a way of seeing, so that you can behold Him right here.

I clean the stove, the kitchen, with no shoes on.  Who needs shoes? There is glory in the light, in the crusty frying pan, even in impossibly caked-on egg splatter.

There is a way to live that sees how He is drawn all around you. Glory. 

And we are held.

 

 

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Bible Study for the Rest of Us: Every Wednesday in 2014, Lord willing, we’ll unpack that wk’s #TheJesusProject memory verse from the book of John:  Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us

Next Wednesday, we are memorizing and unpacking the 4th verse of #TheJesusProject: “Because He was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another.”

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Related:

1. Print Out all #TheJesusProject Memory Prints from the book of John hereScripture Memorization for the Rest of Us: #TheJesus Project
2. Week 1 of #TheJesusProject’s Study: The #1 Organizing Tip Nobody Tells You
3. Week 2 of #TheJesusProject’s Study: How to Get Through the Dark Places: #PullACliffYoung

4. My own stumbling way of living that sees how He’s drawn all around us

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