Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pillar of Fire

 Today, I had moments of feeling like this...
















(Staring over the edge of a 400 ft drop to the Zambezi River, preparing to jump)

I don't know that I've ever been so scared in my life, as that day in Zambia. It was a surreal moment of numb obedience and thoughts that ran something like: 'what am I doing?'


And, on the edge of a different, yet significant 'leap,' I wouldn't say I'm scared, but I would admit a good deal of anxiety. And I've had some of the same 'what am I doing?' thoughts racing through my head.

I leave for Denver tomorrow with a lot more unknowns than knowns, it seems. I finally took a jog tonight to clear my head, and enjoyed a timely infusion of truth from one of my favorite theologians and musical counselors.
___________________________
Canaan Bound (click to listen)

Sarah, take me by my arm
Tomorrow we are Canaan bound
Where westward sails the golden sun
And Hebron's hills are amber crowned
So bid your troubled heart be still
The grass, they say, is soft and green
The trees are tall and honey-filled
So, Sarah, come and walk with me
Like the stars across the heavens flung
Like water in the desert sprung
Like the grains of sand, our many sons
Oh, Sarah, fair and barren one
Come to Canaan, come
I trembled at the voice of God
A voice of love and thunder deep
With love He means to save us all
And Love has chosen you and me
Long after we are dead and gone
A thousand years our tale be sung
How faith compelled and bore us on
How barren Sarah bore a son
So come to Canaan, come
Where westward sails the golden sun
And Hebron's hills are amber crowned
Oh, Sarah, take me by my arm
Tomorrow we are Canaan Bound


Pillar of Fire (no audio available, sorry)
There, in the distance--a pillar of fire
Rumbling like thunder in a dream
It roars among the pines along the lines
Of the great Mississippi

It scatters all the cattle, and rattles the trees

It skids across the prairie by the moon
It sings like a choir, this pillar of fire
And the name of God is the burning tune

I can see it whirling, swirling,

Spinning all around
Upward, onward, homeward bound
Oh, Jesus, lead me through the night,
Pillar of Fire

On through the passes of the mountains it goes

As bouldered and broken as my heart
I shiver and cry and I watch as it winds
To the deepest and the darkest parts

I can see it whirling, swirling,
Spinning all around
Now upward, onward, now homeward bound
Oh, Jesus, hold me through the night,
Pillar of Fire
Where, Oh Lord, are you leading?
I can get so scared in the night
My feet are cut and bleeding
With every step I feel less alive

Oh, but Pillar of Fire, you blazed this trail

You've been there every step along the road
From a barn in Bethlehem to Hell and back again
You blazed the trail that leads me home

I can see it whirling, swirling,

Spinning all around
Now upward, onward, now homeward bound
Oh, Jesus, hold me through the night,
Pillar of Fire

On to the ocean I follow it down

Where it sizzles and boils in the waves along the sound
Oh, Jesus, lead me to your shore
Pillar of Fire

 ___________________________________ 


I was also encouraged by a good dose of Isaiah today...


Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

41:13-16
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
   little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
   new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
   and reduce the hills to chaff.
16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
   and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the LORD
   and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

and finally... my favorite...
Isaiah 40:25-31
25 “To whom will you compare me?
   Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
   Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
   and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
   not one of them is missing.
 27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
   Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint. 

 ______________________________
Back to the bridge in Zambia...I can not describe to you the feeling of relief and exhilaration when you feel the bungee pull tight and throw you back into the air. All my nervous fear was erased seconds after jumping. (the 5 second free-fall did SEEM like an eternity, though)

I'm looking forward to writing the blog post equivalent of that exhilarating and thankful relief in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. I'm looking forward to adding cool stories to my autobiography. 

But, first, I need to pack.

6 comments:

Bekah June 15, 2011 at 4:57 AM  

Jim--We will be praying for your move and all the details of getting settled in a new place. We LOVE Denver. We loved our time there, we loved our friends there, we loved the constant, warm SUNSHINE! It is such a lovely place. We have been back a couple of times since moving and it always feels so much like coming home. Drew wants to retire there so maybe we'll be your neighbor in 40 years. ha.

Bekah June 15, 2011 at 4:58 AM  

Jim--We will be praying for your move and all the details of getting settled in a new place. We LOVE Denver. We loved our time there, we loved our friends there, we loved the constant, warm SUNSHINE! It is such a lovely place. We have been back a couple of times since moving and it always feels so much like coming home. Drew wants to retire there so maybe we'll be your neighbor in 40 years. ha.

Rebecca June 15, 2011 at 7:14 AM  

I think I "hear" you, Jim. I was unfamiliar with the songs you printed out here--but how powerful they are.

I was NOT unfamiliar with the Isaiah passages, however--nor the "what am I doing" thoughts.

As God helps me remember, I'm going to pray for you each morning for the next 7 days.

"You WILL rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel."

Kendall Smith June 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM  

Oh, I am so sad to hear that you are leaving!!! But, I wish you all the best in Colorado. And although I don't know you REALLY well...I do see such a sensitive heart to the Lord and His spirit--and I pray that you'll continue to follow Him as you have for so long!!!

Momma H June 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM  

God go with you, and before you, Jim. I'm sure whatever He has for you to do, you will be a blessing in Denver as you have been to your KS friends. We will miss you.
Please keep blogging so we know how to pray for you.

Aliese Hill July 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

Phys
Please know how much you are loved here in Ohio. I pray the Lord will hurry up and make your way plain, loud and clear! May just the exact job become yours where you can serve Him with all your wonderful talents and abilities and meet your needs. Your writing and ability to spin a warn never ceases to amaze me. Such a gift. You take care and breathe some of that perfect air out there for me.
Love
Momma Hill

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