Into ‘me’ see ~ The Gift of Intimacy

2846006325_9ea3b4998e_bTo see & to be seen are some of the most precious gifts in life. The gift of clear sight allows us to have a unique understanding and appreciation.

When it is obstructed or weakened, our view becomes distorted resulting in false perceptions.  Without correction, we eventually become blind.

When we see another with clarity, we precieve who they are. Like the American Indian proverb says, ‘you don’t really know a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins’.

 Right seeing of another human being requires the ability to look through the lens of compassion and understanding.  These two filters are vital.  Without them, the lens of human judgement tends to err by causing us to see what we want to see, what we’d like to see or what we think we’re seeing.

One of the most precious gifts the Heavenly Father gives to us is the fact that he sees us and hears us.  I remember the story of the servant girl, Hagar who was sent away with her son Ishmael to die in the desert after Sarah, Abraham’s wife drove her away from the household.  Parched with thirst and dreading the inevitability of watching her son die from thirst, she is met by a God who sees her the desperate need for physical water.  Her encounter with God not only challenges her fear and despair but brings spiritual refreshment to a soul which had been used and rejected and shores up a future destiny which seemed compromised beyond redemption.

Into that darkness, the God who sees and hears speaks hope and destiny to a situation which seemed hopeless. The gift of being seen is a refreshing cleansing that gently sheds the outer mask to reveal the vital beauty and incredible core of complexity within the human spirit. When one experiences this, it is like the soul is freed to simply be.  Because it knows that the true core essence has been recognized.  Where normal sight only perceived a forsaken mother and son duo, God saw the budding seed of a great nation in a young man who would become a skilled archer.

To truly see and to be seen require courageous fortitude. Because our fear of the unknown and the unexpected are some of the most formidable obstacles to insight known to man.  The challenge of an excellent life, is to be willing to not only see, but to be seen.  There is a vulnerability to allowing ourselves to simply be seen for who we are, not what we prefer to reveal.  God’s grace invites us to enter into relationship and to receive with humility, the gift of intimacy – into me see. Where our souls are free to be.

Read the full text of the story of Hagar here.

Phantom Fears, Fake Solutions and Real Answers…

iStock_000042975970MediumTurning on the news these days takes a strong constitution.   In large swaths of the country, raging floods have overtaken areas recently shrouded in deep drought and vicious forest fires. Today, hundreds of American children struggle to breath as they battle a strange virus, while on the African continent, the Ebola virus rages out of control without an effective cure or strategy in place to contain its spread.  Meanwhile ISIS and Boko Haram are seizing territory and declaring ‘statehood’ within the borders of sovereign countries in the Middle East and Africa.

From appearances, the world is in a state of convoluted chaos. There are many problems, but seemingly few effective or lasting solutions. Was this state of affairs what Jesus referenced when he said “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”?  John 16:33

What does Jesus see and know about trials, sorrows and how to overcome them that seems so obscure to us?   When Jesus referenced the world, he wasn’t talking about the physical world of nature, rather he was referring to the world systems; the principalities, powers and authorities  that govern the way the physical world behaves and engages with life.  World systems are the organizing mechanics which underly education, government, politics, healthcare, commerce, economics, religion and warfare. They influence thoughts, ideas and perceptions and because of their pervasiveness and powerful imagery, impact every single human being on the planet.

While systems have their place in organization and governance, they are not the answer to predicaments; that is solutions to situations which completely defy the norms and principles of what is thought to be the established order.  It is in the face of predicaments such as pandemics, terrorism and entrenched poverty that we are faced with the limitations of fake solutions;  answers which lack the power and wisdom to change and transform anything for long, if at all.  We are faced with the recognition that our arsenal of weapons to defeat horrific problems which attack without mercy is very limited.  Dread, fear and panic are instinctive responses.

As Christians, our Peace is embodied in a person.  Jesus statement in John 16:33 reminds us that he is the overcoming power.  Not an idea, principle, strategy, dogma or doctrine.   To obtain this peace, we must be connected to him in the only world which is profoundly real, the world of spirit.  The Spirit of Peace invites us to step out of the hypnotizing drama churning throughout the world system and seek respite for our troubled hearts.

Trouble doesn’t just visit the word stage, it’s an intruder which visits all of us personally and persuasively.  Jesus frankly acknowledges the inevitability of trouble and points us to the real solution.  Good cheer strengthens our hearts and calms our spirits so we have the strength to face issues without the additional burden of undue stress, anxiety and fear.  Cheer embodies comfort, encouragement and hope as well as joy and happiness. Ultimately, Jesus points us to the fact that he has overcome all the situations that create trauma to the soul and body here on earth and reminds us that the peace in him and through him, is what we must and can connect to if we hope to live an overcoming life.