How To Hold on When Your World Shakes
Mothers around seas rising high and fires burning low, they all rock babies on a globe that spins on an axis of thin black letters.
Pages of black letters, like long iron shafts, and around this the whole world goes, around, spinning on His Story.
And I can hear it how it turns after dinner, the children all turning Truth pages around the table, pages skin thin, and we can see right through to the center.
This is my favorite book, Kai tells us this, clutching the leather bound pages tight, and that smile, and he wants to read Ephesians aloud to us. My Mama turns the pages of the The Four Holy Gospels , traces the illuminated letters, the art framing the Masterpiece of His expression. She’s stilled. After we clear the table, Levi belts his Bible right to his waist and says this way he’ll always have it close and it looks like a shield and I want one.
Joshua spends Sunday afternoon reading Unshaken, how Haiti quaked and God never moved, and I watch how he can’t stop turning the pages. Caleb says he wants to read it after Josh’s done and I remember how we prayed through those days when the world seemed to implode. The Farmer calls me to come see images of Japan. I lay down my reading of Job, my book of Common Prayer.
I look at pictures of a curve of the planet smeared with this wave of ache, splintered wood piercing right into the earth. Women weep. Grieving can be prayer, the way we cry and knows He hears. I don’t see one photo of a broken heart.
How do broken hearts mend? Do some hearts heal all wrong, all twisted and crooked and weak?
What do we make of a world that needs remaking? There’s only one cross beam that promises a whole new world.
Only one beam to line a heart up straight again, one Carpenter Who can repair a torn apart heart. Levi’s on the couch, reading the Gospel of Matthew.
And it’s here, even here, this slender pin at the center of the globe — that slides certain under the violently grinding plates and a surging ocean wall and all our fissured lives, and it’s the the Word of the Word God who took the shaft and keeps His promises and names Himself The Father of the Needy.
God’s done that: put the poor man on the center stage in His story of compassion for the world.
The Farmer’s lingering long over this photo: A man standing with his son in the midst of a wreckage of lumber and dreams and steel.
If I am moved but choose not to respond, won’t I soon harden, unable to respond?
When we are touched, we must reach out or soon we stiffen and nothing touches us and we feel nothing.
That Bible Levi’s reading, it has these words, “Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)
Christian hands never clasp
and He doesn’t give gifts for gain
because a gift can never stop being a gift—
it is always meant to be given.
When we are grateful for His gifts, we give the gifts away, because a gift never stops being a gift.
How will the world change if we do not become it’s change?
All afternoon, I keep coming back to my study Bible.
I run my fingers along the holy writ, run my hands across the lines like groping along a ledge, looking for a crevice to grip in this world shook hard and wracked with pain.
I find it there, in His pierced through hands, and I hold on.
#2275 – #2290 of the One Thousand Gifts … of endless grateful love…
# 2276… Scripture Promises to hold on to
# 2277… The Word that reveals a Living God in control
# 2278… ways to give
# 2279 … fevered kids splashing in the bathtub
# 2280 … cold orange juice for sore throats
# 2281 … kleenexes and pillows and books and Fishermen’s Friend
# 2282 … Sunday dinner with napkins
# 2283 … an open door and her smile
# 2284 … curling under quilts
# 2285 … laughing with high school friends
# 2286 … driving time spent memorizing Colossians 1, clinging to His Word
# 2287 … stroking hot foreheads and rubbing cough-wracked backs
# 2288 … the prayerful friendship of Sandy, Dirk, Harmony, Bill
# 2289 … real lament in a hurting world
# 2290 … believing He hears
# 2291 … writing down the thanks… that I may live thanks, do thanks, give the gifts away….
Today, if you’d like to share your own marking towards 1000 Gifts of thanks, all the ways He daily provides and you give praise — (please, jump in!) — just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.