Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fly Away

Late last night, long after everyone was kissed goodnight, I heard a boy's soft hum from behind a closed door... "I'll fly away, Oh glory, I'll fly away! When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away!"

The days have been good, but they fly away all too quickly as well. And the nights too, for that matter. I keep thinking that this life here is so brief, passing by so quickly. The Bible says it's a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. I want to make the most of it yet so often I struggle to go beyond the necessary and the urgent, beyond the mere drudgery of the daily routine. One day blurs into the next, undistinguished and ordinary. Like my life, perhaps?

But wait! One day, one fine and extraordinary day, I'll fly away! It's a happy thought, no? Not because I will finally get to escape this life-- though there are aspects I'll be glad to leave behind!-- but because a grand finale is promised to those who belong to God! Regardless of all the details now, it will be grand!

On days like today I think about grandeur. Not so much in personal success or reputation, but about living a grand life in the mundane and despite the inescapable drudgery. I wonder if the likes of Sarah Edwards had any sense that their lives were purposeful and had lasting impact. Somehow I think the details of their lives were probably more ordinary than not, except that their faith and dedication to living for God was extraordinary. I want extraordinary.

I think it comes down to a matter of faith. Extraordinary faith. It's about resolute and unshakable faith in the omnipotent and loving God.

Without faith I cannot pray expectantly. I need unshakable faith to see God's mighty hand at work, to see His power on display in the midst of my day, in my life and heart, and in those I love and serve. If I want to see mountains moved, I need faith. Faith in a God who loves to act in mighty ways. So like the man in Mark 9, I pray, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!"

One cannot have growing faith in God without also having a growing knowledge of God. You cannot trust someone, or have faith in someone, without having knowledge of that person first. HE is extraordinary! I want to know it; I want to see it.

I keep turning back to the same pages in my Bible... remembering, internalizing, seeking to live it out:

Heb. 10: 22, 23 "...let us draw near with a true heart in FULL assurance of FAITH... Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL."

Heb. 10: 38 "But my righteous one shall LIVE by FAITH."

Heb. 11: 1 "Now faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the CONVICTION of things not seen."

Heb. 11: 6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

James 1: 5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ASK IN FAITH, with no doubting..."

James 2: 26 "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."

This last verse (along with the preceding verses in James 2) tells me that my faith is displayed in my works. I can't say I have faith while refusing to move forward, to make hard decisions, and to live out what would otherwise be considered "risky" because I am afraid. Fear and faith are opposites.


Summer has faded quickly into fall. The kids are out shooting at various targets with bb guns and a bow and arrow. The neighbor boys watch them from over the fence; I wonder if their parents are unhappy we are their neighbors because in places like California guns can be a hot topic. But the boys enjoy it, and Olivia is so cute with her bow.

The garden is nearly shot, except for the basil. I made a couple cups of pesto this past Saturday and it hardly looks like I've used any of our basil still growing abundantly. It worked out well for a quick lunch on Sunday afternoon: Sautéed chicken and roasted cherry tomatoes on pasta with lots of pesto. I try not to serve pasta too often, but on a Sunday, well, it fed a small crowd with ease.

Jon is out this afternoon and evening, so I'm taking a break and using up some leftovers for dinner. I have a little broiled salmon left; I hope the boys will be satisfied with a big green salad topped with pieces of salmon. Instead of making dinner right now, it's nice to have a moment to sit and take in the loveliness around me. The afternoon sunlight here is phenomenal, and the fall breeze is delightful. Sometimes I have to completely stop what I'm doing and purposely look to really see. There is beauty all around if we only look for it; it's rather sad we often choose not to see.

Jon and I went out on a date last night, but it was the first of it's kind. You see, we left the kids home alone and it feels like a rather big milestone. Olivia often stays home for a couple hours along with our most dependable boy on days when I have to be out with the other two boys. There have never been any issues, only a funny story about a persistent mail lady going from one door to the next and over again, knocking and knocking for a needed signature. My kids know not to answer, so they hid in case she should see them from the window. Anyway, leaving all four alone was different for sure. Jon and I left while they were eating dinner, and a movie was set up and ready for the evening. After the movie was bedtime.

We had a great evening out. So relaxing. We took a short walk first, looked out over the ocean for a bit, then had a great dinner and conversation. We walked through town some more and each picked out a little chocolate truffle, then headed home. I knew the kids would be getting ready for bed and not expecting us home so early, so I thought it would be fun to spy on them or maybe play a little prank. Jon, however, is too nice and said that would be mean. All in all, it was a very successful evening for them here at home, and I'm looking forward to repeating it soon!


Days go by and I come around here adding little bits to this post. Mostly, it seems, I write out little thoughts in my head while I drive and they never get typed out in the end. But topics like 'faith' come back to my mind frequently because I want to live it out. Recent decisions we've made are steps of faith, and decisions to come will be the major tests of that faith. But I know my God is faithful, and so I put my trust in Him and pray for my faith to increase daily. When it's hard or when it seems unnecessary (though it never is), I want to live with full conviction, full knowledge of His lovingkindness. In a way, I want to grab on and run hard.

A day or so ago while I was ironing clothes and the kids were all busy in their own rooms, Michael was strumming out the chords to 'I'll Fly Away'. Soon Olivia joined in with her own guitar and began to sing along. You better believe that within a few moments all four were singing really loud; with the open windows in the front, I sure their voices could be heard way out into the street. 

Loudly or quietly, it doesn't matter. I want to fly...

"They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40: 31 

"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Heb. 13: 20-21


1 comment:

  1. I sing that to my son all the time! (Among many other songs). But that one is very clearly his favorite. He smiles every time I sing it to him!


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