when only the unshakable remains

most of our lives are lived very near to the surface. we can't plumb the existential depths of human life for very long before we need to come up for air. we get stuck in the cycles of work, eat, sleep, play... and it's easy to stay busy at that level.

until. until something within us is pricked, or pushed, and all the things that hide in the darkness of our depths are brought up to the light.

here's what i mean: i was driving down I-64 on my way to work a few days ago. i was trying to merge, i had just had a jerky driver nearly cause an accident, my day had started with an emotionally draining phone conversation, and i was stressed out about arranging my upcoming move. suddenly, my phone rang. it was actually a really good friend of mine who i would normally love to hear from. but instead of answering, i shut off the ringer and i primal-screamed at the top of my lungs.

my heart is like a tube of toothpaste. if you apply enough pressure, what's on the inside is inevitably going to come out. and sometimes, it's not going to be very pretty.

this little volcanic temper tantrum is indicative of the last few weeks of my life. i'm not gonna lie: it's been a little rough. i have had the limits of my patience tested. i have been accused of having no moral fiber. i have met resistance when trying to accomplish good. i have lost one of my closest friends. i have fallen into foolish traps of temporary pleasure. i have watched something that i love dearly and have invested a lot of my life into begin to fall apart completely. i have received bad news about several family members. i have considered if it is time to totally cut of the most damaged and damaging relationship in my life, where i had once hoped with expectation to see restoration. i have cried. a lot. and i really don't know if i have ever felt more alone.

where shall i go from your Spirit? or where shall i flee from your presence? if i ascend to heaven, you are there. if i make my bed in sheol, you are there. if i take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.if i say, "surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as day, for the darkness is as light with you. 

 this is a bit of a mystery to me: it is right here, in the middle of everything falling apart, where the love of God is made known to me. yes, i know His love in the sunshine and spring of all good and pleasant things blooming around me. yes, i know His love in the blessings of a prosperous life and in the provision of all life-sustaining things. yes, i know His love in the peace and security of solid relationships. all of that is pretty easy; all of that feels good.

but even when the sun isn't shining, even when the accusations are flying, even when relationships are falling apart, even when i've effed everything up beyond all recognition... even there, Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will hold me.

and You know what? You have. i don't know why you still do, i don't know how You still can, but i know that You love me. grace upon grace, this is the love of God that surpasses all knowledge. and don't i know it.

this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us, and has sent His Son to be the atonement for our sins. not that we have loved God. but He has loved us. He is loving us until it hurts, until there's nothing on this earth we love more than Him. His touch is devastating as he shakes out all that can be shaken, until only the unshakable remains. it hurts to be shaken, but what i will be when all the shaking is done is worth it.

so yeah, i'm being shaken. and maybe i'm falling apart right now. and maybe... it's the best thing that has ever happened to me.