And Now We Walk Through Fire

So much is right in my life and so much else is wrong. You, too?

I know love. I enjoy health. My family enjoys one another. I have meaningful work. I am safe. My healing continues to progress. Jesus reigns.

You have a list of blessings, too.

But.

But.

Ukraine is under siege. The country, the church, my people are more divided than in any other time in my life. No one listens. People have lost their work ethic. Leaders lie. Shepherds abandon the flock to wolves. Covid lurks like white noise. My arm around the wounds still aches after a day of writing and when people yell, it sounds to me like a barking, snarling dog. I can’t protect my children and grandchildren from everything that is wrong. Nightbirde died.

There are things you and I won’t see coming. We know that now more than ever.

You have a list, too. I bet ours overlap.

We’re people of faith. That’s not going anywhere. We know the prophecies. We realize what lies ahead and the joy waiting at the end of the road.

But it’s a long, long road.

And even if we’re warned about having to walk through fire. And even if we’ve prepared to walk through fire. And even if Jesus promises to walk with us through fire.

At some point, we still need to walk through fire.

The journal that is my prayer room records the rise and fall of my eloquence. Days when words flow, praise, gratitude, petitions, warfare, questions, concerns, more praise.

Other days. Single word days. Help. Please. Why? How?

Single phrase days. I need You. Where are You? I love You. How long, O Lord? Come soon.

And I am grateful, so grateful, that the Spirit intercedes because words fail even writers and prayers pale and pens run dry but tears still flow, endlessly, right, as we breath in tandem with our God?

Again and again and again like the beating drums of an ancient tribe, one word rolls over our souls like a crashing wave from on High. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now.

Now is the time for which He has prepared us.

Now is the time to live for Christ, to speak truth at every opportunity, to create opportunities where none arise, to testify with all that is within us.

Now is the time to love.
Now is the time to pray.

Now is the time to live what we believe that we have learned from His Word.

Now is the time to abandon foolish ways.

Now is the time to stay awake.

Two accidental prophets echo what the Bible has taught us. The first wrote from Walden Pond and died at 44 from tuberculosis. The second spoke from movie screens and ended his own life at 63.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

We hear you, Henry. We stand with you in this.

And Robin, we remember how you sold these lines like you believed them as you played a role you also lived.

“John Keating: ‘Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.’ Why does the writer use these lines?

Charlie Dalton: Because he’s in a hurry.

John Keating: No. Ding! Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.

John Keating: Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

We don’t feel any pressure from Jesus to be extraordinary, but we do hear Him saying that He died so that we might live – so LIVE already. LIVE now! Live for Him.

Living for Him seems like a sacrifice until we consider that living for ourselves leads away from love, away from light, and ultimately into death.

To live for Him is to live light, truth, beauty, creativity, reason, strength, and love.

But to live that – while walking through fire.

Seems like I live on my knees in these times and there is a weariness that dogs me. (You, too?) If I were younger, I’d seek answers with the doctors, the therapists, the politicians, and the law.

But, you and I have lived long enough to know this weariness is the wearing of the world on our souls.

 But, we are not of those who “shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls (Hebrews 10:39 ESV).”

Walking weary through fire holds no appeal but following Jesus no matter where He leads is to live “coram deo,” –  in the presence of God. Where else would we ever want to be?

And one day, the burning will quenched by the Living Water and the weariness will fade when He is our light.

For now, though, you’ll forgive the rise and fall of my faith which is infused with my humanity, and I will forgive yours and we will hold one another as He holds us all.

Fortunately, it doesn’t all depend on us. The government is on His shoulders.

And we will continue to follow Jesus and to believe in the words of those who came before.

And even believe that even weary hobbits can find strength and change the world.

Like Tolkien who wrote, ““Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” — Galadriel

And

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”  – Haldir

And

“Frodo: I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

And

The truth of His Word that stands NOW with us: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 ESV

Maranatha, Lord Jesus. Come.

It is time for us to truly live NOW. What will you do with this life and freedom that is yours because of Him? What will you do?


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11 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Linda Harris says:

    This came at just the right time!

  2. Mark & Karen says:

    LOVE this! Thank you.

  3. Karen White says:

    Ahhh Lori-
    Hezekiah cried, Jesus cried. I cry. You cry. Our Lord has given us our assignments
    Testify of His love. Testify of His goodness. Hold His hand as we all walk wearily through the fire.
    God keep you and continue to heal you. I will see the bottle of my tears that He collects when I have completed my assignment.

  4. kristen shaughnessy says:

    Thank you for writing, sharing, encouraging!

  5. Barbara Gold says:

    The incredible gift of writing and exhorting is ablaze in this piece . It is excellent and boy do we all need this in these days . Thank you for it . I will reread it again for sure .

  6. Clarice James says:

    As usual, Lori, your post speaks truth and holds hope. Because I can’t deal with or understand all that’s happening in my life, my country, or the world, I ask God to remind me of this verse DAILY. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10 ESV)

  7. Kirsten Panachyda says:

    Thank you, thank you Lori, for laying out your heart so beautifully, so I can better see my own.

  8. Linda Koch says:

    Thank you so much for such a challenging message. Your words are always a blessing to me.

  9. Maureen Miller says:

    Yes—Come, Lord Jesus.
    Come!

  10. Steven James says:

    Thank you for this, Lori! ? ❤

  11. Jean Hester-Kyttle says:

    I need to read and re read until I can take in all