This Week's Focus

Investigate my life, O God
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 139:23-24

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 10: Even there

Today's words that God kept whispering over and over again to me ... "even there...even there...even there." (verse 10.)

I walked through the winter woods on a solitude retreat year ago. I remember this distinctly because I was so scared of walking alone in the woods but felt God calling me to overcome my fear of being lost by going on this walk alone with him. I had a fear of being lost literally, as well as spiritually.

All my senses were on high alert as this spider-loathing-non-girl-scout-type ventured out into the vast, dense unknown. The crisp, cold air pricked my nerve endings, helping along the state of alertness. My ears perked at every crackle and snap, most of which came from my own feet.

Unsure of which way to go, I opened my heart to listen to God and let Him guide my steps through the woods. As panic waned, my eyes sharpened to beauties previously unbeknownst to me! Spiderwebs seemed to emerge from nowhere, sprinkled with glistening dew like glitter on string. What was always there before but invisible to my eyes became known to me now as my eyes adjusted and my fear was allayed by awe.

I met marvel after marvel. An "arrow" tree pointing the way; tinkling bells of clinking broken ice at the shore of a pond; tree branches lifting their arms to the sky in seeming praise to their Creator; beds of brown leaves resting on the carpet that softened my path and made a great bed.

My heart and mind filled with the magnificence of God's creation - what He made. I knew I was in a sacred place.

And then I spotted a beer can in this place of beauty.

My emotions fell like a jet plane suddenly losing altitude. In my head played a fast-fowarding movie of all the bad things that could have happened in that place: drugs, alcohol, sex, worse. The place was spoiled.

"It is still a sacred place."

A voice inside but apart from myself.

"Even there."

Just because man defiles something, does not change the fact that God created it. God is love, beauty, goodness and what he makes is so, too. God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way.

Moses met God deep in the wilderness, too. God appeared as a blazing fire in a bush. He told Moses to take off his shoes, that he was on holy ground. Moses did because as an act of reverence, conveying his own unworthiness before God.

If we now know that God is everywhere, then we are on holy ground everywhere. And if he is in us, then we are holy. Not because of what we do good, but because of God's presence in us. Because of his creation of us. We are surrounded by sacred spaces. We are a sacred space. I am sacred.

This is so difficult for me to believe, embrace, live. Sunday morning, despite all the progress I've made, again I listened to a different voice that kept telling me that some things are not redeemable. I am just damaged. Beyond repair.

Lies! Here is the truth before me! Even as I have defiled myself, allowed others to defile me. I am still sacred. In all those ugly places I have been - physically and mentally - He was there. In all the dark places I will probably still go, He is there. Even there. All I have to do is open the eyes of my heart and, like those spider webs that I didn't see before the sunlight and dew worked together to reveal them to me, he will show himself. Even there.