I Am In The Rainy Season

By JMathis

I am in the rainy season.

Tidal waves of despair threaten to steal my well-being.

Flash floods of sadness threaten to kill my fruitful harvest.

The crackling bolts of fear threaten to destroy my peace.

To steal, kill and destroy are my enemy’s marching orders, and his thundering fists of defeat threaten to deafen and darken my hope.

The monsoon threatens to engulf and flatten my earthly castles and I howl angrily into the air, desperately in search of my Father.

Where are you???

I search for signs. I panic.

I listen for the sounds of rescue. I become anguished.

The storm rages on and my patience is battered and bruised.

I fall onto my knees, accepting that the waters will overtake me.

Confused, frustrated and disillusioned.

After what seems like hours, days and months, it is then that I hear His Voice:

I am in the rainy season.”

I look up in the torrential downpour and I see Him.

I see Him on the cross, naked and forsaken. Pummeled by the gusts of my sin and hopelessness.

It was then that it washes over me that He was on the cross throughout the entirety of my rainy season, preparing my escape.

Preparing my liberation. Preparing my victory.  

Preparing my redemption from the jaws of the enemy.

The tempest threatened to steal, kill and destroy my salvation, but my salvation hung on the cross faithfully until my future was secured.

I am in the rainy season.”

While the squalls of sin threatened to bury me, my Savior stayed on the cross until It Was Finished.

It was then that my spirit was flooded with the knowledge that It Was Finished 2,000 years ago.

It was indeed finished, so why was I allowing the enemy to steal my well-being? To kill my fruitful harvest? To destroy my peace?

To deceive me with empty, powerless threats?

I had forgotten that my Savior placed me on higher ground, on wings of eagles, in the palm of His safety, far removed from the sting of death and the barbs of the enemy.

He did all of this just for me, over 2,000 years ago, long before my rainy season.

Like a child, I had forgotten.

I had forgotten that the joy of the Lord is my strength. I had forgotten that His mercies renew every morning. I had forgotten that Love Never Fails.

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”

I had forgotten that my Lord is King, Commander and Master over my rainy season.

I had forgotten.

I am in the rainy season and It Is Finished.

Yes, Father, you are in the rainy season and it is finished.

Help me never again to forget.

Pop the Can of Authenticity

By AbbyA

I am thinking about a few women that have blown the top off the can that holds all of the authenticity.  Recently, I saw my friend Jen at the book store with her family.  We left off in June where she was walking the high, narrow trapeze line of learning that she had cancer.  When we left off in June, she was loved on and prayed for by our work-out group.  The in-between was radiation and a long, hot Florida summer.

When I saw Jen in the store, I asked her how she was and how her summer was.  I really didn’t know if she would give me a straight answer.  It was her choice, after all; it isn’t always the right time or the best time to spit it out and lay it down.  She told me briefly about the radiation and then said God is good.  She went on to introduce me to her sweet-faced kids and her husband and then we all headed on our way.  But, mostly I heard her say God is good.

As Bindu and JMathis would say – Really, really?!  Yes, that’s what Jen said: God is good.

Then there is SusieD.  I left off with her in June.  Although the details were not clear to me until mid-summer, she shared in an email there were melanoma cells found in a few places on her body.  She spent the summer under the knife having it all removed and then waiting patiently for open sores to heal up.  I saw SusieD for the first time about a month ago.  She smiled and said that the finding of cancer was perfect timing.  Any later and her story would not have been the same.

As Bindu and JMathis would say – Really, really?!  Yes, that’s what SusieD said, the finding of cancer was perfect timing.

Yes, then there is Millie.  Just a few weeks earlier, she found some lumps and had them removed.  She was later diagnosed with cancer.  Now Millie is well-known to be a spiritual giant – – if there is such a thing.  But, if anything gives you a license to fall apart for a while, I propose that something is cancer.

Let me tell you about how Millie handles cancer.  We all sit on the floor around her as she tells us there has been so much good that has come out of this diagnosis.  She tells us that she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of her friends, her family and her husband.  She tells us that the phone does not stop ringing, the food does not stop coming and her mailbox is full of love letters.  She tells us that she was unexpectedly approved for health insurance and that God planned for that, too.  Really, Millie, really?  She tells us that she is praying for healing but accepts whatever road God has prepared for her.  Really, Millie, really?

Yes, girls, really.  The top of the can that holds authenticity has been blown off by these women.  Let it flow out to touch each one of us.  Let it break the pressure of our own cans.  Let your own authenticity out so that you can walk a genuine journey holding the hand of your God and holding the hand of your friend.

I think about Christ on the cross and how He let it all out in public – blood, sweat, tears and brokenness before His Father and for all of time to see or read about.  I think about His mom watching it all go down.  I think about John and others who were also watching their beloved friend and brother suffer for their freedom.  I think about you and I and our own suffering seasons in our life.  While the pain is often deep, the wounds are, in part, for your brother’s freedom.  But, your brother will never taste freedom unless you let your authenticity flow.  Freely and openly, among friends.  Pop the can – – it won’t be edible if you wait too long to share it.  I love you, Jen and SusieD and Millie.

It Is Finished

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

In contrast to the “very serene, alive, white pure place” AbbyA described in her blog yesterday, I want you to imagine the opposite. I want you to imagine a dark, dingy, dirty prison cell. The cement floor is cold and clammy, and the cement walls are filled with crevices, filth and small creatures you’d prefer to not think about.  As you lay on your filthy, stained, uneven mattress, you stare at the rusted iron bars, believing they are the only thing that separate you from freedom and happiness.

But one day a prison guard comes by to personally visit you and tell you that you have been bailed out. You watch as he takes out his skeleton key and inserts it into the lock. You can hear the click of the lock as it turns to its unlocked state. You see the guard slide open those rusted iron bars, and with a flourish of his wrist, he let’s you know you are free…

Yet you remain. Paralyzed. Sitting in the filth and excrement of your past, allowing it to immobilize you and imprison you and rob you of your present and future.

In chapter 19 in the book of John, the disciple John describes a similar scene of someone who looks like they were about to be robbed of their future.

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”

Almost two thousand years ago, to everyone, including many of the disciples that had followed him, things did not look good for Jesus.  He who proclaimed to be the Son of God who came to save the world couldn’t even save himself. He was beaten brutally by the very people whom he came to save and left to die on a cross like a common thief. Things definitely did not look good for Jesus almost two thousand years ago.

For those who put Jesus to death and heard Jesus’s final words, “It is finished,” they probably would have whole-heartedly agreed that yes, it was finished. It was over. He/Jesus was finished.

And for those people, for their limited perspective, yes, it was over.

But we know now, don’t we? We know that the only thing finished was death….hopelessness…

So as you sit in your personal mental prison cell, what is imprisoning you? Hurt? Bitterness? Disappointment? Do you feel so overwhelmed by your pain that even though the door has been left wide open for you to walk into freedom, you prefer the familiar pang of your pain?

To you who feels hopeless…to you who feels unworthy…to you who feels empty…to you, I say, “It is finished.”

You have been bailed out. You do not have to remain where you are. You may feel that things are hopeless…but two thousand years ago, things also looked very hopeless.

But we know the truth…It was not finished…Life had just begun.