Yup, more weekend writing. A walk always helps with putting words to the constant flow of thoughts swirling in my head. It creates the space for immersing myself, getting lost in the web of ideas that flood my mind. Whenever I embark on a walk, it’s stepping into a temporary vacuum, a shelter away from the world. For a space in time, I distance myself from the world. Away from the world that shouts for attention.
A state of flux – a flow, a continuous change.
Eggs Benny for breakfast at Organic Deli. Always a good start with some hearty breakfast and Eye of the Tiger playing over the speakers. Power-packed day ahead.
Then a short walk to University Parks to start off this bright and sunny Saturday morning.
(It would turn out to be a “past, present, future” kind of day.)
(I would find myself in the Museum of Natural History later on.)
Now listening to: God Ruined Me (Ps Glyn Barrett’s preach from 29 June 2014 at !Audacious Church)
(Edit: They actually got the video up. Why not.)
Even the title sounds powerful.
I found myself walking through the park scribbling away. Below are thoughts I gleaned from the podcast:
Whenever you think, (shrugs) this is it. This is all that life is. I’m content. Perhaps you’re “happily miserable” with ticking the boxes and submitting to going through the motions just like the rest of the world. But He’s got a plan. A plan for greater things. For Esther, she was content – but God had bigger plans. Plans for her to inspire not merely a single generation, but hundreds of generations after. Other examples roll off the tongue: Gideon, Jonah, Joshua, Moses, Elisha, Elijah…
You shall forever be ruined by the “first class” moment because you know what is promised. You are changed forever. You realize you are destined for “first class” living. Being a child of God, you have access to a good plan, to purpose. You have been set apart before any of your days have come to past. He knew you by name. He made you from scratch.
Give Jesus half a moment and He’ll ruin your life. It’ll never be the same again.
He doesn’t orbit your world. That would be far too proud a thought – you orbit His world. He is the centre.
Ruined by majesty.
Crossroads. Choose the quiet, hidden path. It opens up into the sun again, through a narrow iron gate, onto a bridge over a quiet stream. There’s the almost indiscernible trickling of a small tributary that merges with this stream.
God is beyond the walls of an institution. He is beyond your limited perspective and knowledge. Once you encounter his majesty… There is no turning back from that confrontation with sheer magnificence and power.
Another clearing after the bridge. Now there’s a roar that grows as I draw near. It is a weir – a barrier placed across a river to alter the flow. The River Cherwell reaches the weir, falls through and churns out white bubbles. Which sometimes collect into a foamy pile. I have arrived at Parson’s Pleasure. Trivia: Parson’s Pleasure used to be a male-only nude bathing area on the River up till 1991.
I sat by the River and felt the stirring within my soul.
Ruined by intimacy.
In a crowded room, only Saul heard God speak to him. Such intimacy.
With the world shouting all around me, by the roaring of the River crashing through the weir, it’s only me and Him in this moment.
You’ll never be satisfied by anything less after. You’ll yearn for more.
The River Cherwell is a peaceful, smooth-flowing body. But once it hits the weir, it drops through. Loud crash. Bubbles and foam.
Don’t limit your time with Jesus to a set time. It’s all the time. It’s a constant.
The fresh scent of grass. The churning of the River. A gentle cooling breeze. I sit back and take it all in. He is with me.
Ruined by mastery.
Ananias and Saul. They had their own ideas, but God was in total control. Sometimes, He ruins our plans.
Sudden movement caught my attention just by the corner of my eye. A duck on the other side of the River. It waddles into the water and drifts with the current. It circles. It almost reaches my side of the bank, before the current carries it away. It doesn’t resist; it just floats. It doesn’t fight the current.
Just like me and the Father. Sometimes, you just need to submit yourself to the current and He’ll carry you.
My heart is stirred by a noble theme… (Psalm 45:1a NIV)
Even if you’re strolling, I am still with you. I will stroll with you. If you don’t know what you’re doing, where you’re heading, let Me fight for You.
In the storm, be still. Do nothing. Just like Jesus – lay your head down and rest in My embrace.
There is a time to stroll, a time to sleep, a time to speak to the storm – to command it to be still.
Ps Glyn has always said this and it’s kind of like his life statement: I serve the man who has the plan. There’s no right for me to get anxious.
But we are all human, so even Ps Sophia has to call him out on it occasionally. Heh.
Ruined by God’s request.
Someone has to ask you to do it. Sometimes God makes a big request. Like forgiveness.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25 NIV)
I am confronted. The words pierce through, pierce deep.
He wants to ruin your life forever for the better. So that there is no going back.
Ruined by grace.
Grace. That undeserved goodness; undeserved forgiveness.
He got up. (referring to Saul in Acts 9:18)
Time to get up. Time to get up from beneath the guilt, the regret, the pain and the sorrow.
Come as you are.
The Father stands at the gate. He waits for you to come home.
Well and truly ruined. Should have known from the title of the podcast. Everything just fell into place. Finding this roaring weir which just drew me in to sit by it to hear out the preach. To sit with, to listen to the Father’s heart.
Ruined by: majesty, intimacy, mastery, God’s request and grace.
Being confronted with the ask of forgiveness. To forgive like how I’ve been forgiven first.
To stand up, to get up from under the guilt, regret, pain and sorrow.
It’s time. It was always time.
It’s like birthing pains I’d imagine. Not like I’d know.
It starts slow and far between. There is a buildup. Groans. The frequency and intensity heightens.
Splitting. Breaking of cords.
I feel the resistance.
The duck made it. It made it to my side and got onto the rollers – a concrete track with metal rollers to help people haul punts/canoes into the River. It got up and flew away.
Yes, it flew. A considerable distance. You’d think it’d just fly across the River in the beginning. It’s definitely capable of doing that, seeing how far it flew. Baffling. I’d like to think its early struggle was for my benefit.
I really thought it wouldn’t make it. It had made several attempts just floating in circles. Going back to the bank where it began, getting back in the River and circling back again.
… Punts and canoes coming down the River. It is past noon. Tourist invasion. The peace is broken; time to get up and go. I realize I’ve been in the parks for at least 2 hours.
I take another random turn and find myself in the open meadow. Cattle grazing fields to be specific. Well, on either side of the gravel path. Dog walkers, joggers, cyclists, parents with young children… Pitter patter of dogs’ feet. Cows crossing the path in front of me in a herd, as everyone just stops to let them past. The world pauses in the face of nature’s progression.
An elderly gentleman cycles past and went ‘meow’. Yes, meow.
Trying not to trod on cow turd. Yes, very appealing.
Rhythm, steps. You seem to settle into a steady rhythm as the walk progresses.
I realize I’m headed too far out. I turn back and head back into the park.
Loud splash. Dogs in the river.
I arrive at a clearing where dandelion seeds float past. They seem like rising snow flakes in the sun, carried by the wind.
Now it gets weird. My thoughts enter a different mode.
I shall separate this into two separate posts. Just because.
To be continued.