Will the Burn Ever Heal

Willtheburneverheal
Pain.

It’s there. In life.

It’s like trying to escape the sting of summer on your skin. No matter how much you try to protect yourself you still get burned at some point.

Yet somehow I like the sting, because it’s a reminder of the fullness summer brings.

Long days.

Warm days.

Days spent outside enjoying the beauty of life which is abounding in nature.

In the same way I feel burned. Third degree burned. No amount of aloe from my Father can soothe me.

Some days I feel like I’m drawing from an empty bottle.

That the soothing coolness has been used up on someone else.

The joy that is supposed to be in the bottle is dried up.

I look at this story, the story of my life. I know it’s young, I know I’m still getting to know the main character.  I haven’t even reached the climax of the story. I wish I could just skip to the closing chapter so I can have perspective as my story unfolds.

Some days I can’t take the pain around me. Pain I see in close friends. Their lives being wrecked. The wreckage of sin that pervades and writhers with such ease in all of us.

In me.

And I wonder if the sunburn will ever heal.

I wonder if I step into the Son will I be burned. So I ferociously cover and lather up with what protective lotion I think will protect me.

I keep being drawn to the rays of the Son. But I hate the burn I feel.

How do I enjoy the warmth?

How do I find the joy in the pain?

In an effort to avoid it all, I sometimes hide in the dark.

And yet,

I burn.

I’ve Dropped the Moon He Thinks I Hold

 

 

Boydadsmoon

 

The following is an excerpt from a guest post over at boydads.com.

 

I step through my front door. Another work day has concluded and the first thing I think about is sitting down, soon followed by how many hours till I get me time. Meaning, how many hours ‘till the kids are in bed, until I get to have an hour and half to myself before I set the alarm for another grinding day at work.

Guilt ensues after I look at this thing called fatherhood as just an hour glass waiting to be turned. 

 

To read the rest please click here.

Hope you all are enjoying your fourth of July weekend!

-Jesse

 

 

Foolishness and Freedom

freedom

I decelerate and there’s a backfire with a loud roar of the motor between my legs as we approach the stop sign at the bottom of the mountain.

At the T in the valley we turn left. The three of us on our motorcycles start winding through the gears. The expanse is great, the road is straight and endless.

Not another soul in sight.

Freedom is dripping from the throttle. Each gear is wound to redline.

Euphoria sweeps over me. The metallic taste of adrenaline cleanses my tongue as I shift into sixth gear. Tunnel vision ensues and I glance down to see that I have eclipsed 150 mph.

Freedom. (Insert Mel Gibson in Braveheart screaming, “Freeeedoooommmmmm!”)

No worries, no cares. Just raw adrenaline. And I feel fine.

A freedom kind of fine.

No matter the foolishness in the speed, freedom and fine have come together.

As I ease and let the motorcycle coast my friends behind are just a tiny speck. Slowing down, the ‘freedom’ I sensed passes away.

These moments of freedom found sparsely in the corners of life, I always find myself relentlessly chasing.

Freedom from want.

Freedom from loneliness.

Freedom from pain.

Freedom from the unknown.

These freedoms I chase, but I only find temporary relief, never long lived.

The more I chase these ‘freedoms’ the more enslaved I feel. In my desperation to obtain freedom, it feels like a noose around my neck; the harder I drive towards senses of freedom, the tighter the grip of the noose.

Until I finally give up and turn to my Helper.

When I finally let go and trust Him, I realize that the freedom I have been chasing is found in my Advocate.

Freedom equals absolute trust in Christ.

There is great risk in putting absolute trust in Him.

Risk.

The risk (and foolishness) that was found in my motorcycle ride where I experienced a sense of freedom, is also found in the risk of pursuing God.

Following God and the trust that goes with it is risky.

God is in the risky business. He wants us to trust him with all abandon. For in our trust in Him is true freedom.

 

-Jesse

How God Became My American Dream

 WhenGodBecomesYourAmericanDream

Comfort.

We all want it.

We take loans out for it. We work for it. We tell certain people no for it. We say yes for it. We lie for it. We steal for it.

I have been on this hamster wheel chasing comfort. Sometimes I lie to myself and say that I’m not. But when there is a choice to be made, I almost always choose comfort. I’ll work hard for something with the promise of comfort at the end, only to be disappointed when comfort is not found.

When comfort arrives, the zest and zeal that was used in the pursuit of comfort remains when the comfort is satisfied.

Restlessness remains.

And this comfort aches and hurts because it tastes too much like apathy. It’s about has bitter as the feeling of lukewarm.

I chase this thing called the American Dream, that tells me if I work hard enough I will be able to obtain a happy and successful life that will give me, comfort.

I look around me and everyone is chasing comfort; the American Dream.

Often I also find that this is how I chase God, without fully realizing it. I see God as my American Dream. Except maybe I just look at Him as my God Dream. If I just work hard to please Him enough, obey Him enough, then He will grant me life long happiness with a golden arch to walk through with angels playing harps and my life will be happily ever after.

So simple and neat.

God is my American Dream.

A pathetic and self-centered comfort chaser, I relentlessly chase God.

I chase Him in the same way comfort leaves me feeling unsatisfied. I look at where I am at. I have nothing to complain about. There is no devastating illness consuming my family. No feelings of physical needs unmet. A house with three happy children, a wife who loves me, a secure job and a white picket fence to conclude the comfort.

Somehow in my ‘comfort’ I feel restless.

I wonder if the restlessness is how God intends it to be. If I could satisfy my American dream and achieve comfort, a real satisfying comfort, then…

I might not need God at all.

When You’re Running Away From God

When You're Running Away From God

A cool spring day meets me in the morning. In Memphis, Tennessee I find myself sitting on an upright cinderblock inside a barren windowless building. The roof is rotted through and the warm morning light shines in.

I become increasingly uneasy. Something is moving in my spirit and I’m restless. I lose control and bury my head in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably. The most defining untangible feeling washes over me.

Looking around, I hope no one sees me as I am on my first spring break trip with a bunch of other college students. 19 years young, I feel God breaking me, or is it Him gently and gracefully allowing me to give up and seek Him? For He has been there all along. Kindly and patiently waiting for me, always pursuing me, never giving up on me.

I had spent all of my high school years passively walking the fence. Never venturing too far to the one side where the ‘heathens’ lived, but enough to taste of their fruit. On the contrary, I never ventured too far to full blown Christendom where D.C. Talk shirts were worn with pride and Brio Magazines were read cover-to-cover by friends.

A wandering nomad was more my title. I fit in more with the experimenting pot smokers than I did with the Bible carrying clicks that consumed the local youth group. To be honest, I never felt ‘in place’ with either.

The nomadic fence walker was I, the one who held loosely to truth but tight enough to not fall off the fence completely.

And in the abandoned building in Memphis, is where God became real to me. I felt Him wash over me. A soothing and loving way, He moved in my soul. And I could not contain my emotions.

It was there I felt loved by my Maker.

Even when I had held Him at arms length.

He still cared for me.

He cares for me when we I’m ‘running from Him’. He doesn’t turn His back on me in my rebellion.

He patiently waits.

In the waiting, He is actively pursuing my heart.

I wonder if the longer and further I run from Him the closer I draw near to Him.

In my running, I exhaust all my options of self-seeking gratification ’till I hit the bottom.

In the bottom is where I am left only with He and I.

When I was running away from God, I was running towards Him.

-Jesse Hoover, JesseHoover.com