Friday, December 9, 2011

Wardrobe's Wide Open

"To know Him as he is, is to come home."--John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw

Something happens in my throat when I read that word, "home."  My eyes fill.  My throat tightens.  Why do we long for home?  I think of the faith walkers in the book of Hebrews who "were longing for a better country, a heavenly one," (Heb. 11:16).  C.S. Lewis concluded, "maybe we were made for another  world."  What if this other world arrives before the coffin closes?  What if it's just beyond the wardrobe door?  Lucy kept her eyes open and peered into another realm.  She believes Aslan exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6).  Why don't we press beyond the fur coats?  They soothe us with their softness.  They lull us to sleep by their warmth. 

What drives you to tiptoe past what you can't see?  What unseen thing are you craning your neck to discover?  What propels you into the unknown?  For me, Tozer accurately describes this yearning with his phrase "children of the burning heart."  --much like the Emmaus disciples who pondered, "weren't our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road?" (Luke 24:32).  Curiously, Jesus played hide and seek with their hearts.  He "acted as if" he had dinner plans somewhere else.  They had to beg him to stay.  Why Lord do you seem to tease?  John Eldredge jokes in Beautiful Outlaw, what kind of God spends his resurrection day playing tricks on his friends??  I'd understand better if Jesus grabbed a megaphone or a TV camera and shouted, "It's really me!! I have returned!  No worries!" 

Has He ever brushed so close to you, you felt His fur on your cheek?  only to run away again?  Did you know it was Him?  Too often I demand He shout into my pain.  I want real answers written on a wall.  What if instead He shimmers in silence?  What if He really is playful as Eldredge suggests?  A few months ago the wardrobe door flew open on its hinges, and Jesus handed me a glimpse into  another world.  Two weeks before school started my twelve year old son let out a wail as he collapsed on our couch.  In his world learning he couldn't be with his friends as he entered middle school was devastating.  I had made a grievous mistake.  I read the map wrong on the school website.  The city built a new school at the edge of town and drew the boundary lines to include our home in that catchment area.  Only I missed it.  For months we were under the impression that he would be at the old school closest to our home with all his friends from his former school, from church and all his sports teams.  No.  And even my crying in front of administrators fell on deaf ears.  As a mom, I felt I had failed my son.  I had worked so hard to be sure I had gotten it right.  My words, "I want to get this right" that I spoke numerous times to the counselor echoed back to me in my head.

You know, I think in life I work terribly hard to "get it right."   Even as I write this, I'm agonizing over following good writing rules. I've broken them all: too many "be" verbs, passive voices, and negative wording.  I can get constipated emotionally and become paralyzed with the fear of being wrong.  Maybe in this boundary situation Aslan called me into the realm of the invisible where "right" is not something I do but it is something in Him I already am.

As I ached for my son and my need to fix the unfixable, Jesus flashed on my mind the principal verse from Beth Moore's Inheritance study.  I rehearsed this verse weekly for six months (the study isn't that long but I decided to take it twice!):  "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed I have a beautiful inheritance," (Psalm 16:6).  Whoosh--what was that??  Narnian snow fluttered past my cheek.  Oh.  Jesus.  "How could I have missed you?  You're in this?" I asked.  "Of course I AM, " He whispered.  "I have drawn these boundary lines.  You never got it wrong.  I know what I'm up to.  Trust Me.  Your son is My beautiful inheritance."  Then I realized over the past several months there were countless opportunities for Yahweh to reveal the truth to us--numerous conversations, friends admitting they knew I was wrong but assumed we had worked something out, so they kept quiet.  And so did He.  He veiled Himself on my Emmaus road. 

I hesistantly told my son the divine whisper in Psalm 16:6.  In our family we call this a "God sighting."  My son believed it too.  I asked him if he wanted me to pursue a transfer with another administrator.  "No Mom, it's OK."  That night during our prayer time he prayed, "God thank you for helping me get used to the idea of going to the new school.  And thank you for giving Mom a God sighting."  My heart exploded.  I was so proud of him.  Maybe I was "right" after all.  Maybe . . . it's even bigger than that.  God had stretched my boundary lines past the walls of this world.  Together my son and I saw Him who is invisible! (Heb. 11:27).  And I laughed outloud as He disappeared from my sight again (Luke 24:31). 

Lord, I will follow your game of hide and seek.  Like Lucy, the Voice I like best in the world is calling my name.  Help me push past the false fur of the world for the richness of Your mane.  You draw all my boundary lines even those that look like they're on the other side of the cliff.  Help me trust You in the unseen.

 Sometimes Elaine the best form of transportation is a leap of faith.

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