Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking MY Wilderness Exposed

And Jesus said, "All right, receive your sight!  Your faith has healed you."  Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God.  And all who saw it praised God, too."
Luke 18:42-43

One lonely lamp burned warm and ruddy in the early morning hour.  My worn and ragged blanket beckoned me to curl up, sit, and be still.  Everyone was still asleep - or at least hiding upstairs quietly until, "the clock said 7."  It was my time alone with God in my quiet little corner of the world.
Only I wasn't alone and my mind wasn't still.  Anxiety befriended me and thoughts raced around my head.  What I failed to mention, was that before taking my seat this morning, I stole a quick (and eager) peek at my email.   I longed to find an inspirational letter from a writing mentor, full of answers to my myriad questions about publishing devotionals and pitching proposals to publishers...and it was there!  Only, without my friend's intention it was also filled with disappointment.  What I had hoped would merely sharpen my vision of the publishing process, turned out to be insight into the challenging anguish of authorship.  No one was publishing devotionals, at least not from an unknown author (like me!) with zero platform and zero prior publications.

Simmering in confusion about God's vision for this writing gig, I set aside the email, shut off the computer monitor and heeded the blanket's call to curl up, sit and be still.  Today's "Daily Reading in Sequential Time" had me in Jesus' ministry through Jericho.  The Gospel of Mark described a blind Bartimaeus boisterously calling out to Jesus for healing.  “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:48, NLT)  Jesus hearing his cry, called Bartimaeus over and declared, “Go, for your faith has healed you.”  And instantly Bartimaeus could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:52, NLT)
But Luke’s version of the same story is what caught my eye.  Bartimaeus not only received sight, and he not only threw off his coat and ran to Jesus, but Luke adds that he followed Jesus “praising God and all who saw it praised God too.” (Luke 18:43, NLT)  This same man who incited jeers and admonishment just moments earlier, now inspired shouts of praise to God.  What in the world had changed?  What could possibly be the difference?  The answer was, ‘healing.’
As if God was reading my mind, the whisper of His still, small voice breezed by.  “It’s all about healing.”  Huh? I cocked my head in confusion.  The mind reading continued.  “Like my people Israel, your writing represents a people desperately seeking freedom from slavery, frantically searching for a clearing in the wilderness, and hoping beyond hope that the raging torrents of fear and doubt would subside.  I have come to bring healing to them all...and to you.”
 “Beloved,” God continued.  “Crossing Jordan isn’t about you changing the world.  It is about Me changing you.  It isn’t about you encouraging others to "Walk the Wilderness Exposed" (as I had subtitled this work).  It is about you walking your wilderness exposed."  God wanted me to wander through my own overgrown, tangled mess of lies and deception?!  He wanted me to face my raging rivers of fear and doubt...and find healing.
So what about that devotional?  God had inspired me to write.  He never did, however, tell me to, "get published."  My vision of devotional writing was not being trashed, it was coming into perspective.  Just like healing made all the difference between Bartimaeus' indignant, demanding audience and and audience inspired with shouts of praises to God, so the difference between my vision of Crossing Jordan and God's vision was the healing touch of the Savior.  The evidence of a life changed by Christ is the difference between merely printing words on paper and reaching people for God.  So let the healing begin! And all who see it will praise God too.

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