Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Great Sorting

My daughter is cleaning out her dresser.

A daunting undertaking.

So goes the sorting:  out with the unnecessary, impractical, too small, too big.  What will be discarded in this season, having served a purpose?  What should have been chucked long ago?  What was always uncomfortable but kept because...who the heck knows why?

Decisions, decisions.

And here I am, past the middle of my life, standing before a pile of choices, a pile of non-choices, and a ticking clock.  I sort, because I desperately want to live for the glory of God in the midst of this messy world.
I can’t look back lest I become like Lot’s wife and turn into a pillar of salt.  Frozen hard like stone with the regrets of a past I cannot change.  I won’t look back because the lover of my soul says this:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 
  Isaiah 43:18-19

So I lay the past aside, only keeping from it that which teaches and builds and strengthens.  And the wrenching will cause me to have to lay some things aside again that I have pulled back from the wretched pile of wasted time.  But grace gently repeats the sounding joy:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”     ~Philippians 3:13-14

I sort through the present.  What can go, what must go?  What must be wrenched from my hands with reason and sanity, like one opening the fingers of a child holding too tightly to a small animal until the breath is wrung from the thing?

For three years I have sorted and let go of far more than I ever wished.  I wanted to control the content of my life.  I wanted to be the maestro.  I wanted to conduct rather than play the instrument I was born to play.  (OK, I’m mixing metaphors here…) I’m still working this out day by day, sorting, sorting.  Write that letter or watch my British detective show?  Make that easy phone call for my child, or do the harder thing and make them do it themselves?  Make time for my husband when I’m tired, or turn of f the light?  Here’s one far more tender:  worry for my injured, suffering child, or entrust her to God’s care?

Sorting, sorting. 

Between what’s good and what’s better.

Between what looks good to the outside world, and what’s really good to the All Seeing.

Between myself and the other one.

Between empty, guilt driven good works, and living, faith filled good attitudes.

The floor of my life is messy.  But the grace of my Jesus is clean, beautiful, perfect.  All I need to do to sort my present right is to seek my God who knows what really matters.  To bend, to yield, to listen.  To trust Him who does all things well.  Who hears the roar of Wall Street and the wee voice of a child with cerebral palsy in a group home in Toledo.  Who knows the heart of Barack Obama and the kid pitching his first little league game.  Who understands all about the lady in some dusty town in Afghanistan who has been battered by the law, when what she needs is the mercy of a Savior.  Who told the Pharisee he was a fool and the criminal he would be in paradise.

He doesn't sort the way we do.  Blessed be His Name.

As for the future, I can’t sort that at all.  I’m sick to death of trying.  I watch a Western world, gathering more for retirement, planning their later years in ease, trying to find a wall tall enough to keep them safe from the sorrow and darkness of a world turning colder.

I sorrow.  Partly because of the part of me that even wishes I could chase after those things. If I could, would I build bigger barns, and store up treasures for MYSELF?  Probably.  But He giveth more grace.*

 And partly because I see my people deceived and hoodwinked and sorting in all the wrong ways.  Keeping the worthless, discarding the precious. 

And here is where I long to sort rightly.  To make the time to tell the truth about Jesus, friend of sinners like me.  To be like the free folks in the movie “The Matrix”, and leave all the junk behind in one great effort to wake up a plugged in world to the reality of the cosmic deception:  This is all there is.

A million times I fall short.  But He giveth more grace.*
I’m still sorting it out day by day.  It’s messy.  And I write here friends, because I bet your drawers are stuffed with junk just like mine.  I’m quite sure your piles have a different assortment of stuff that’s got to go.  Let’s keep sorting…so we can get one hand free to help somebody else who doesn't even know they’re in a heap of hell.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


He Gives More Grace

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again. 
Lyrics by Annie J. Flint

No comments:

Post a Comment