Yesterday morning I rolled out of bed before 5AM to finish preparing for a teaching I had been invited to do here at a local church. As I sat there with the sleep still blurring my eyes, I prayed for God to just bring the words.
Just do it, God. Please.
(My prayers of desperation always lack eloquence and often sound more like emphatic begging.)
But the reality is that writing comes far easier than speaking because I can move slowly. I can delete, delete, delete. But with a microphone attached to the side of my face, all ability to correct my humanity is gone. It’s a vulnerable space to step into–a weighty responsibility.
Over the last two months, God has been opening doors and inviting me into spaces and places most unexpected. I’ve felt the thin skin of my own frailty brushing up against the undisputed generosity of God in the online and real-world spaces of others who, like myself, long for more of Jesus in their waiting seasons and it’s shocking grace to be invited, and then to be real and a bit raw and exposed in the place of invitation.
God came and is coming into the places where we need Him most, our tender scrapes left unhealed, our gaping wounds, still oozing, He came and comes into this messy reality of our vulnerability and wraps himself around the wounds of the world and answers “yes”. Yes.
His yes flung open the doors of heaven and sent Him slipping quietly into this dangerous world, who sought to kill him from the very first rumor of His arrival. Knowing all of this, He came and is coming. This is Him doing it. This is Him, becoming the Word and bringing the words to heal, to give hope, to use our vulnerability to open doors for our fellow captives who can’t stand the wait.
He gathers us in our unpreparedness and our misconceptions and distractions and from the mud of a stable floor He cries out not for milk but for mercy. Not for Himself but for us, the walking wounded. For us the vulnerable, fragile ones living like stone pillars, when all we really are is dust.
Christmas draws closer and Advent extends it’s hand and says come slowly. Come quietly. Come patiently, expectantly, hopefully to the edge of yourself. To the edge of the manger. To the foot of the cross. Let the thin covering you believe shields you slip down and bare the truth about who you are in the light of the Son.
Let Him see all that there is in your lack and in your starvation. Let Him touch the barren places that you’ve covered and hidden in shame and lament. Let Him, for whom all things were created, have residency in you now, every minute, until the end of your days.
Let the vulnerability of waiting strip you all the way bare because this is where real living begins. Waiting requires a measure of hope–it requires us to have faith to believe that God is who He says He is, and that he will deliver us from all evil. Deliver us from ourselves. From our own idolatry that eclipses the real Gifts of this season.
We can’t hide behind the trees, the lights, the glitter of the superficial forever. For He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. The beauty we long for, but so often fail to see is not int the glitz but in the grit. It’s in the rock-bottom real of our hurting places that Christ came and is coming to make His home.
By your prayers, I made it through the two teachings I was invited to give yesterday, and if you care to listen, you can. Through this and through sharing Come, Lord Jesus, I’m learning to sit with the vulnerability of waiting. To trust that God is using whatever I surrender, for His purposes, and His ultimate glory.
If you’re wanting to join some of us in this place, there are a couple of spaces where you can find a seat. Summer Gross is using Come, Lord Jesus this Advent, offering Lectio prayer in conjunction with the book, and Christina Hubbard is sharing Come, Lord Jesus with readers by way of an online book club.
If you haven’t started reading yet, you’re not late. The readings begin on December 1st and for a limited time, you can get the first 5 days for FREE as a subscriber.