how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

my Father’s Word

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I sit on my bed, sunlight and summer warmth streaming through the blinds, the world fully awake outside my windows, but I don’t have to enter it yet. Only the intangible and unwritten calls for my time and attention today. That which is most important and too often first overlooked. I reach for and open my Bible, and instantly I feel it. I feel it – an ache, a physical ache somewhere between the heart and the gut. Somewhere in that deep, unnamed place of emotion, I ache. And as I breathe deeply and uncurl from it, I don’t even fully know why, except that I need this Word. I need this time, and nothing pressing into the end of it. My heart, heavy with the weight of weeks, as if triggered today by just the mere opening of these pages, cries, “ah! here is my burden carrier!” And suddenly that which was numb, pressed down by the necessity of the moving forward of time and responsibility, has been released to life again in that rush of blood and the oh-so-painful pins and needles that follow. The Lord, in His infinite wisdom and care, knows how much we can stand to feel, and when.

A week ago I read these words from Jeremiah:
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”

The Word in this season has literally been my daily bread, that which I am incapable of functioning without, sustenance for a starving soul, sometimes shoveled in so quickly I barely have time to taste it. But I know I absolutely need it, and have been hanging on by no other strength. There are seasons in which we need to be reminded that we are daily existing in a strength beyond our own, and then there are seasons we are so weak we cannot help but be constantly, painfully, and gratefully aware of that truth. And so I ate, thankful for the food that is continually available before me, to remind me of my need. Your words were found, and I ate them.

But today I sit down to the feast table. Today the Word is the joy and rejoicing of my heart. And the more I eat, the more I realize how hungry I was. How hungry I am. How close to collapse. Matthew Henry’s commentary expands the verse from Jeremiah this way:

“I did not only taste [Your words], but eat them, received them entirely, conversed with them intimately; they were welcome to me, as food to one that is hungry; I entertained them, digested them, turned them into blood and spirits, and was myself delivered into the mould of those truths which I was to deliver to others.”

Today, the Word became blood and wine, the physical reminder of the gift and sacrifice of Christ that my life is to give daily evidence of my reliance on, whether that evidence be by fullness or need. And today the Word pressed me into the mold of truth, reminding me, at times gently and at times forcibly, of that in my life which does not align, does not fit. Reminding me that yes, to cut these things off is real loss, but it is also deliverance.

And so my heart rejoices, because today the Lord both knew I needed this, and faithfully gave it. Today I needed to move from food to feast, that the joy of fullness may lift the weight of lack, though not of need. Today I needed to remember that I have much to be molded into, but in that process I am called by His name, and no other.

So maybe I ache with thankfulness. With need and with longing, but mostly with love. Love for this Word, the strength and joy it provides, the tastes of the Lord’s goodness, and the fact that I am called a daughter of its Author. And as a daughter,

“This is my Father’s world,
Oh let me ne’er forget,
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done,
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.”

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