The devil’s finest trick…

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               …is to persuade you that he does not exist.

Charles Baudelaire – French Poet

Ephphatha

Hear the Voice of God ; Speak the Language of Love

The Polishing

Charli is my friend.

She is cut from a bolt of cloth suitable only for those who echo John the Baptist.  Very few mess with this particular comrade.  Maybe it is her Cherokee roots ensuring a dignity and unapologetic presence.  Maybe it is just because she handles a rifle better than most Texas rangers.  Or better yet, maybe it is because Charli won’t negotiate the teachings of The Master.

Some months ago, Charlie fell into a day of uncharacteristic despair.  It started with the neighbor casually sharing that the local sheriff was seen knocking on her front door.  Not one to wait for the unknown, Charli decided to stop at the police station that evening on the way home from her new job.

With typical good humor and dressed business proper, she was stunned when the front desk officer promptly arrested her for check fraud.  Rendered her rights, her mind fixated on the absurdity of such a charge.  The surreal quickly became legitimate as the jail door locked behind her.

Charli’s mind began to race.  Spending a couple of days in the slammer was not the issue. In one of her many chapters, she had worked as a prison guard. Three hots and a cot were familiar territory.  Bail was posted at a reasonable amount but having been downsized and unemployed for over a year, all savings were depleted. It was Cara, her special needs daughter, who consumed her thoughts.  She was home alone patiently awaiting their Friday night ritual of pizza and Coke.  There was no husband to call.  No reliable friend to entrust.  It was then that the cell walls suddenly knitted together.  Gulping for air, Charli pressed against the cinder block wall and unleashed on the Lord:

                How could You allow this to happen to me?  

                Don’t you realize that Cara is incapable of being home alone at night?  

                Haven’t I been faithful to you?

No response.

Depleted, she slumped down on the hard floor.

Then slowly, like an August cloud, the story of Job came into view.  Now there was a guy who had serious bad luck she thought.  His line up of trials and tribulations included losing his home and his children, not to mention unsightly boils all over his face.  Smiling reluctantly, she had to admit that unexpected hardship was becoming strangely familiar.

After a few deep breaths, Charli regained composure.  This is just preparation for what lies ahead, she mused.  I better get good and ready to handle whatever comes down the pike.  We are in the Final Hour after all.  Lost in thought, she startled as the guard offered her one phone call.   Within an hour, a friend managed to wrangle Charli’s freedom and she got home to Cara in time for supper.

It only took a week to uncover the unbelievable events that landed Charli behind bars.  No one could have imagined such a diabolical entanglement.

No one except the devil himself.

Are we in unusual times?

Yes.

The glut of current tribulation was foretold long ago.  The Lord’s Hand is upon us in an unprecedented manner as the dark one moves into checkmate.  Like rough stones in a tumbler, Christian souls are being transfigured by each revolution of the barrel.  Our imperfections and impurities are being smoothed away with every trial.  Through His Grace, we are given challenges specific to our soul-need.  All this must come to pass so that we may move in closer proximity to Our Lord before His Return.

This knowing is our great comfort when adversity rains down upon us.  Though disbelief, shame, and despondency may find their way into our being, we cannot languish there.  Like Charli, we must swiftly place ourselves back into right mind and soft heart.

Beloved Comrades:  Stand up and take note.

Stand firm against the prevailing winds and rest assured that you will only be more magnificent for the harsh times that come upon you.

Your Sister in Christ,

Cindy

Living Underwater

Lucky me.  I grew up on the ocean.  Not literally on top of the sea but right beside it during the summer months.  A charmed experience that provided me with some sturdy metaphors as well as delightful memories.

The vast expanse of the sea serves as an enviable teacher.  She cradles various mysteries and allows her students access only when she is good and ready.  Some of those lessons I keep close to my heart like a member of some secret society.   Her other treasures are widely known and speak to many with a ready understanding.

So it is with the power of the undertow.

My departure from this blog for the past 5 months is nothing short of a spiritual submersion.  One never sets out to abort a mission especially in its infancy.  It is poor form.  Yet life is unpredictable and the current of the unexpected wrapped itself around me this past winter.  The natural world took precedent and I was left grappling for even the most bare of bones in my spiritual life.  With unapologetic thrashing, I drifted further and further from the True Bread.  The focus shifted and my life became saturated with doctor’s appointments, Redbox, housework and anything else I could stuff under the sofa cushions.  A strange apathy became the order of the day.  It was uncomfortable.  Like having too much icing on your cupcake.

Occasionally I broke the surface.  It finally dawned on me that I was now captive to an unforseen force.  Gentle initial tugs had now become a foe dragging me down to the depths of the ocean floor.  Paddle and wiggle as I might, there was sparse relief.  Finally, a  seasoned seafarer whispered to my heart reminding me to surrender to the flow.

Key point: You are much more likely to survive if you don’t struggle and learn to breathe underwater.

Ok.  This did not come easily for me.  Yet eventually I recognized that my stilted prayers were still honest offerings and my personal ministry is in fact a verb not a noun.

So I waited.

Convulsed a little and then a lot.

Waited again.

And then like a dew drying in tropical air, it all returned.   Just like that.

Trust is not my mainstay and thankfully Jesus is patient.  Never once did He leave me while I lost sight of the shoreline.  Instead, He taught me to do the impossible for a land dweller.  No special apparatus is required for such feats of survival while down and under for extended periods.  One merely has to let go and move into the realm of true faith.  Looking back, I can see that He graced me in how to handle the perceived absence of Him.  It took what it took but even in my lack I came to recognize the lesson.

I guess He meant it when He said, “Trust in me for I shall never leave you.”

 

                                                                  Jesus, I trust in you.

 

It is good to be home Remnant Souls.  I missed you.

Your comrade in Christ,

Cindy

 

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