An imagination redeemed

Does this happen to you too? Wandering about your life doing this or that, a thought suddenly strikes and the view before you shifts, ever so slightly, to your inner world — who am I? Really, who am I? This person walking, talking, living, breathing right here and now — why? Hollow, empty, a cold cavern, an echo chamber eked out by the attrition of the years. Who am I?

I’d been thinking recently that I’m much better than before, only by the grace of God — the Holy Spirit who indwells in me has been renewing my metaphorical insides, despite my best attempts to hamper the work of sanctification. When the shift happens, it’s no longer a chill but warmth that greets me, a knowing that I am more of the self that I’ve been created to be than I was a year ago or the day before.

But this vessel being purified gets covered by rough seas. The issues that bubble up, oy. Obsession. Perversity. Idolatry. They have left their marks on me. And I expect and already see more of my wretchedness surfacing. Pride. Laziness. Callousness. I have left my marks on others. I’m learning to be sorry, my friends. To guard my mind. Mind my tongue. Watch my stinking attitude.

Assurance matters. Grace fetters. Knowing ever more what you’re saved from and living out what you’re saved for — these are not dainty words to help you digest your daily burnt toast.

Tonight I got to sit at the proverbial feet of Michael Card, a man serious about joy, and a follower of Christ for 48 years. Forty-eight years! Ah, but the days would be worth the journey if your love grows. I admit that for me his records are a bit tiring to listen to at a stretch — but tonight, as we had the pleasure of being led in song and instructed in truth by the dear Holy Spirit working through him, I got to taste why music, and Word, and words, and pictures, are best received in a unity of distinctions, a community.

Well, enough thoughts sploshing from this muddy well for a while. My imagination has yet to stretch to how I am going to finish all my homework on time (all I know is it’s going to involve a continual posture of helpless surrender). I leave you with what Card (who by the way was so gracious as to walk around chatting with all and sundry, with no airs at all) singled out as his favourite composition, and invited us to sing along to, a balm for anyone who had to return to a place of loneliness tonight — a balm for me too, as I remembered how much the Lord has done and is doing for me, most of all in facing who I am and who I have been:

Come Life Up Your Sorrows

If you are wounded, and if you’re alone
If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone
If you have fallen, and if you are weak
Come find the worth of God that only the suffering seek

Come lift up your sorrows, and offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice, of all your shame
There in your wilderness, he’s waiting for you
To worship him with your wounds, for he’s wounded too

He has not stuttered, and he has not lied
When he said, “Come unto me”, you’re not disqualified
When you’re heavy-laden, you may want to depart
But those who know sorrow, they’re closest to his heart

Come lift up your sorrows, and offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice, of all your shame
There in your wilderness, he’s waiting for you
To worship him with your wounds, for he’s wounded too

In this most holy place, he’s made a sacred space
Those who will enter in, and trust to cry out to him
And you’ll find no curtain there, no reason left for fear
There’s perfect freedom here, to weep every unwept tear

Come lift up your sorrows, and offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice, of all your shame
There in your wilderness, he’s waiting for you
To worship him with your wounds, for he’s wounded too

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