a fixed gaze: icy-hot for the soul
After 2:00 this morning, some random alarm went off in my bedroom (Seth said it was imaginary), and as alarms tend to do, it woke me up – heart pounding, feet-kicking woke me up, and now the sun is peeking its head up over our side of earth, and I have to be a Mama. I mean, I get to be a Mama, which is to say, “Good morning. Today you get to run another marathon, sleep or no.”
And Mama or not, aren’t we all running?
So I am at 4:00 AM in the living room trying to pray, already giving in to coffee, scrounging for clarity, and I’m thinking how glad I am that He tells us from the beginning that we are winning the race, because in the running, with all the falling, all the wandering off path, the stopping to gaze long into others’ paths, with all the tired, I can start to think I’ll never make it to the finish line.
And let me be honest about how I feel about this race: it feels like running on top of an earthquake – like when the three year old thinks it’s funny to hide so long that I flail my arms in the air yelling his name and going crazy-eyed in the front yard. When the mommy vertigo whirls in (imagine the disciples in that storm-beaten boat) and the ants invade my pretty bowl of cherries, and my inherited worry-wort syndrome hones in on Mother’s Day Out and the Swine Flu, I feel like I run in a room of Carnival mirrors.
This is why I’m glad He tells us,
“since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Oh, but I get weary with my wandering eyes, my lustful heart, my lack of joy. If Jesus had JOY when the cross was before Him, how much more should I run as naked as I can stand it until I get home? (and I don’t mean naked, of course. I mean, run unencumbered. Run with our fig leaves thrown to the side. Run without trying to cover up God’s righteousness with a cute sweater set and a fancy house. Put down sin. Put down pretense. Put down works for the eyes of man. Forgive.)
Three days it took the creator of the Universe to battle what leaches my soul, and He won, finished it. Our trophies already have our new names on them. Why wouldn’t we get up, re-fix our gaze, and RUN?
See there? At the end, not long from now, so close that we’ll laugh looking back, there’s a wild bunch glowing, in whose arms we’ll breathe those deep relieved sighs, those arms and arms and arms passing, from faith to faith to faith, and then finally, that one hand there on that low dull pain in your back, the years of it from running, and another hand cupping your face, and the sweat, He’ll wipe with His fingers, and there we get to stop.
Won’t the running be worth the final rest, AWE and JOY-filled shouts of finally home?