This is life - the tension between mindblowing beauty and heartstopping despair, earthshaking freedom and shackling captivity. We strain forward toward the former, though at times beaten down by the latter. The One who is the Radiance of God's glory calls us to him, and he walks alongside us as we press into him, press on toward the goal. And as we learn to quiet ourselves, to hear his voice, He works even our unyielding circumstances, our frustrating relationships, our painful memories to set us free from imprisonment of self. Free to be a glory giver, free to be fully alive. And through the struggle (to use a line from one of Aron's songs) he sustains us with pleasures from His hand, empowers us with his very presence, showers us with blessing upon blessing. And in his leading and laying down by still water and in verdant pasture, satisfaction joins hands with peace and settles down among us.
Since moving away from our families we have chosen to spend our vacation time each year reconnecting with them. We had the great privilege to spend a chunk of time with those nearest and dearest last week. We prayed to the Lord that he would be near, that His presence would usher in moments of love and quality time, of connection and community. A big ole' lump rises in my throat as I consider all the ways He answered this prayer of our hearts. Enjoy.