Prophets, Mystics and Artists

224731_220009428009592_201535_nThere is a hollowness in my soul, a pain in my heart, not because of some great injustice or act of wrong, but because a story that needs to be told. Vincent Van Gogh wrote, “There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke coming through the chimney, and go along their way.” (And so it is with me.)  There is a story to be told, something to be heard and when we share it the salt from the tears will bring healing to the soul. There are wounds there. Deep and dark.. They can not be touched with the human hand, but only from the heart. “Deep cries out to the Deep,” and so our soul longs for connection to those lost in the the same depth.
Being around others is not a cure for loneliness. Being around others can bring misunderstanding. Misunderstanding feeds rejection. Rejection gives birth to isolation. Isolation is companions with loneliness. It is here that the enemy will speak the lies to our minds, seeping into our spirits. Being around others is not a cure for loneliness. The cure is birthed from something far deeper.. Understanding..320654_3516216163990_1583149860_n
How many times do we hear, but never listen? How often do we share, with no acknowledgement or grasping the depths of the words we have spoken? Not the words themselves.. Words are not the point, they are the brush, the paint we use, which we paint the art that’s on the canvas of our soul. Jesus himself knew this quite well, his disciples never fully understanding the words of life he spoke. Even after the resurrection, walking beside Peter and John, he shared with them the truth of his spirit. Not knowing it was Jesus until later that night, after he left them they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us?”
The road we walk is narrow, and few who wander there on it. “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3) And so it is with all those called of God. They walk a path that few travel. To find someone to share the road with is not easily done. “Narrow is the road that leads to life, and few who find it.” Especially those who are artists, mystics, and prophets. They see things differently. They hear things from a different perspective, with a different tone. They will actually feel things deeper. They live from the depths of their soul, if they have the courage to do so. Someone talking about Rich Mullins said, “The world needs artists. They express the inexpressible.” The same goes for the mystics and prophets. They just feel things differently and awaken our hearts, minds, and souls to newness.
227673_220009331342935_8286257_nBut this comes at a price for all of them. In feeling, seeing, sensing they are more prone to hurt, rejection, and loneliness. Rich Mullins was actually playing a friend one of his newest songs before he died, and his friend just listened and cried.. Afterwards he asked Rich, “how can you write songs like that?” Rich’s response was, “I just have them down deep with in me if I just have the courage to bring them out.”
Amy Grant said of Rich, “We all have a brush with God. We are enamored, frightened, being drawn in, but it is that barely leaning in. It’s frightening… But Rich had a way of running head on into the unknown. He would go to the edge of the abyss and look down, then come back and write a song about it.”
To tell our story. What we see, feel, and hear, takes courage. We will be misunderstood. Many will pass by923111_155840374587801_1683666521_n “the great fire in our soul, yet no one ever coming to warm himself.” Jeremiah said, “his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can not do it!.” (Jeremiah 20) Holding it in only hurts ourselves. We must be willing to let it fall on deaf ears. We must be willing to be criticized, shunned.. This is our Cross. This is the burden we must carry to set others free, to open the eyes of their understanding. We can not do this alone. The Beattitudes come alive to those willing to risk. “21 Blessed are you that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are you that weep now: for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6)
Each of us have a story. Those that walk with God will hear things differently. They will see things differently.. They will feel what others can not, and it is to this they are called to share. To Live out.. If they “have the courage to bring them out.”  There is a great wounding here, a vulnerability that leaves us helpless. The world needs to hear the story..

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Compassion

223806_446329118710954_855267528_nCompassion (noun)
a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it
[from Old French, from Late Latin compassio fellow feeling, from compati to suffer with, from Latin com- with + pati to
bear, suffer]
There are certain things, steps, you try do when someone is drowning, yelling at them is not one of them.. Your first step is to reach before you throw. Second, always to throw before you go. You want to throw them something, or reach out with something before getting in the water with them. This is actually the last step, when all else has failed. Why?? You do this last because it is most dangerous, it puts you in harms way. You could be injured, or even drowned by the one you are trying to save, but a lot of the time this is what it takes..
What do you tell a person who has lost a loved one? What do you say to a young girl as she cries on your shoulder knowing you cannot change the past? What do you say to someone whose world as totally been altered, never to be the same???
Do we stand at the shore of their problems and griefs and throw our words at them like a floatation device hoping they will be able to grab what we say and hold on? What if our words don’t make it to them, or they can not grasp it because of the chaos going on around them?
There are times when words fail. They seem cheap. Cliche. Sometimes they are unfeeling, lacking 377596_2325905485276_1672297566_nemotion, or worse down right offensive. At times we try to be spiritual, offering a sacrifice of words more than a heart of compassion,  we say, “God knows.” Or “God is in control.” As a trash can being drug down the street, or fingernails grating against the chalkboard, our words screech in the ears of those we are trying to comfort. Instead of feelings of grace, love, and understanding, our words weight down the one we wish to comfort, like an avalanche crashing down bringing with it bitterness, judgement, or condemnation.
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Having walked down the “valley of the shadow of death,” with those I have loved, holding those whose world has been drastically changed, I am finding more and more how at times words should be used sparingly and wisely, with grace.As my heart has been bent and broken, being touched with the feeling of their weaknesses or afflictions, I feel the only rescue is to get in the water with them and if I drown, I drown..
562862_2325855964038_224558256_n What I find in Jesus is that He was moved with “Compassion,” meaning He felt distress, pity, for those around him in their misfortune. But He didn’t stop there, He had the desire to alleviated it. He didn’t want people staying there, so he came into their world as one who cared. Jesus took on their, our pain. He bore their, our, sorrows and carried our griefs.  He was “able to empathize with our weaknesses” and He offered us life. He gave us hope.  We were drowning, choking on the torrents of grief, bitterness, depression, but He jumped in and drug us to shore. “We were dead in our transgressions and sins…For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. …” (Ephesians 2)
Christ jumped in the water of our troubles. He didn’t stand on the shore and shout to us, but came to our sea of regret, shame, and despair and dragged us to the shore of His great love. There He resuscitated us. Breathing the Breath of Life into our lungs, filling us with “Life and Life more abundantly,” we are now “raised to walk in newness of life.” The rescued now become the rescuers. 21321_3110397657090_1025287718_n“Raised to walk in newness of life,” we now walk on the shores of this life scanning the various pools of despair, seas of regrets, oceans of depression and hopelessness looking for those who are drowning.  To some we can reach out with a few words, a helping hand, maybe even throwing them a lifeline to grab a hold of, but there are many who have been taken under. The currents of their situation has pulled them under away from any light of the sun, the air of life they need. They are tired. No will left to swim, they just let go of hope. It is here that we are called to jump in. Risk it all.. This is the example Christ has given us. What use are the life guards if they are all in the tent away from the sun and water, at concession stands continually snacking and refreshing themselves? Or, are in the dressing rooms trying to look as good as possible, while the people they are to be watching over are drowning, being carried off with the tide?
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:2)
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)