Far down enough -
"The deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine."
It's written on the bottom of my sidebar. It's been there for years. Almost as long as I've had this blog, I've found the need to have that prayer there. Little did I know how much it would mean. I've prayed it in repentance, I've prayed it in thankfulness, I've sobbed it out in grief, and I have whispered it in hope. It comes from the Valley of Vision, one of my favorite books.
I thought of it this morning as I walked up the driveway to my piano lesson today. October brings wrenching sorrow and shattering pain. and nightmare memories. The sun hit that moss just right, and the cypress looked the same. I walked to the door and rang the bell, and looked at two little morning glories dropped upon the stoop. Each with a little brown edge to them.
and I whispered it "the deeper the wells, the brighter Thy glories shine". My mind just inserted glories there, instead of stars. Because my mind wasn't on stars in the middle of the day. It was on the deep wells of sorrow and loss and not at all on a shimmering starry night. My mind was so on glory. Morning glories on the sidewalk. Hmm.
And I couldn't stop thinking of the picture I had just blogged. How I so desperately ache to Be Still in these days. How it comes with a heavy fight to lay myself down. To stop and listen to His heart of love, when all I want to do is throw a tantrum and scream and cry that it didn't turn out like we all wanted it to. But I also couldn't stop thinking of the rightness that came the minute I posted that blogpost. Some peace came with just posting that, and seeing it there. I know He is calling me - Come and rest and be with Me. Be still before Me.
And I thought about bending down low. When I think of bending down low, I think of me crawling and curling up in the tiniest ball I could, with my forehead on the cool tile of our bathroom floor. Laying down my head, and feeling relief that nothing was moving or talking or needing. I could just lay there for awhile, and everything could keep going, and I could take a few minutes to stop. Stop and acknowledge that I was not in control. God is God and I am not. Many nights I would wake up out of nightmares, and lay down on that floor in the stillness of the aching night, and whisper prayer to the One I knew was listening and waiting for me.
I am a constant whirlwind of activity, emotions, thoughts, memories and actions. So even if this all sounds crazy to you, please don't be all worried, because laying down on tile floor is perfectly normal if you feel like your world is shattered out of control. I spent an entire night on that floor when I had the flu, and I knew the holiness of God there like I had not known.
On countless nights, I would lie there and my tears would warm the cold tile, and after a little while, I would get up, splash some water on my face, and go back to bed, feeling much better, having had whatever conversation with the Lord, and having cried out my tears for that night. :)
My family never knew that I know of. Hi family. :)
But I think of bending low that way. With my forehead bent to the tile, in desperation, I would squeeze my eyes shut and will it all to be a bad dream, and then peek them open, and many times, be dizzy in the shock that it didn't work. After a few times of that, and realizing that God was obviously not going to turn back this season, I would start praying. And it wasn't always pretty, folks. In fact, it usually wasn't. But I knew that God wouldn't stop loving me even if I didn't have pretty and lovely prayers for Him to listen to. He knew my heart, and He knew I cried and prayed out of desperation for just a dipper more full of the mercies that would come for the next morning.
I think of bending down low of the woman who had the heavy flow of blood for 12 years, and reached out in faith to touch the Healer's cloak. If only she could just touch the hem of His garment! Jesus knew immediately who had touched Him, and healed her with utmost grace. (Luke 8:43-48) This story never fails to make me cry. The image of Christ as our Healer is both a wonderful thought and also a hard one. Because when He heals sometimes, He doesn't just say "No. Not now.", He also sometimes says "Not here on Earth, My child.".
But I love this story.
"Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?"
When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me."
Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.
And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace." ~ Luke 8:43-48
When she saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and she fell down before Him. She came and fell. She came to bend down low, after touching just the border of His garment. She knew she was healed, she knew Whom she had believed. He was the Healer after all.
She is who I want to be like. She had such faith in Him, as the crowds thronged and jostled around Jesus, she came from behind Him, and knowing that He was her Hope, she touched Him, and her faith immediately made her well. Can you imagine such joy? Can you also imagine the wealth of renewed joy, seeing that Jesus was not angry, when then He so honored her with respect. "Daughter.....go in peace.". What a beautiful picture of how God loves us.
My pride of thinking I could do better often keeps me from bending down low. And that is not a beautiful picture at all. I might as well be the Pharisee saying "God's plan and God's laws don't make sense here, so I don't need to worship Him.". How dare I. and "Where were you, when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" But when I come crawling in, weeping and battered, He doesn't say "I was waiting for you to be crushed and decide I was good again! You had it all coming.". Oh no. He looks past it all, because of Christ, and washes me and clothes me in white linen. He wipes off my tears and pulls me close, and I listen to His heart of love singing over me in the night. He says "Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10
"Be still and know that He is God. Be still, be speechless.
Be still and know that He is God.
Be still and know He is our Father.
Come, rest your head upon His breast,
listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love,
beating for His little ones, calling each of us to Come, be still."
~ Steven Curtis Chapman ~
Sometimes I don't even come close to bending. I just snap. And while I'm down there, weeping and hurting and wanting everything to be made right, I realize that I have again cast myself at Jesus. Flung myself down at His feet to beg for the healing of this life that I don't understand. The whispered prayers flow a lot easier when you don't think you can do anything about it. Which is right where I always should be. :) The reaching out and the grasping for the hem of His garment is a lot easier too, when you have all your faith and hope in the One who defines them both. When you have given all your money to doctors and each one says "Nope. Sorry. Can't heal you.", and you are desperate to live in joy and without fear again.
And He calls you daughter as you are bent low.
He calls me daughter as I am bent low.
He sprays the stars across the midnight skies, and uncovers the well so I can see clearly His glories from the really deep bottom. And then He says "Come. Be still." and then says "Go in peace.".
That is the gospel, dear ones. I am so so thankful.
"Lord, in the daytime, stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells, the brighter Thy stars shine.
Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley."
Thy glory. We ask that You, O God, be glorified. For You alone are worthy to be praised.
With a broken and healed heart,
~ Jean Marie ~
If you ever wonder how this all comes out like this, I'll tell you. I don't know.
I pray and pray and it turns out in a post that was written for me by the God Who writes our stories and gives and takes life and gives Life Eternal. I am a broken pitcher, and He pours the water in, and I stream it out. So beautiful that I am so blessed by the writing of His grace.