daily office meditation, January 10th: weightless grace for weary souls

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Isaiah 40:25-31

To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

The prophet said that even when the youths faint, those who wait on the Lord would be renewed. He said they would run and not be weary, walk and not faint. But I've got to tell you, friends: I get weary a lot these days. The world, as its ordered right now, makes my soul weary. I get discouraged by my own weakness. I get discouraged by the state of the Church in my home country. I fight disillusionment with all of it. Maybe like never before. I'm just old enough, and banged up enough, to be almost all out of youthful optimism.

And yet I tell you, I am more convinced than ever before that real hope doesn't come my way, unless the Spirit brings it on the wind. I don't have it in me, to muster or to work up. It connects to something in me, but it comes from beyond me. I don't have reserves of native hope to pull from. I need the real power of a real Holy Spirit, or I faint, I collapse, I crumble.

It's so easy, isn't it, to be constantly swept up in the tide of the world and its demands of us, trying to be the change, and take the stand, and do the right thing? Until you're so tired and discouraged, you don't want to get out of bed. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Not just a tiredness in your body, but in and underneath your very bones--a weariness of spirit, that you don't know if you'll ever recover from. 

"They that wait on the Lord." And you want to wait, but don't have the luxury to lay in the sand like a beached whale, waiting for God to come. The day asks too much of you, for that. Your life asks too much of you, to sit and wait for anything. I get it.

And yet wherever and however you have paused to read these words, at a stoplight in a bed at a desk or on a toilet, I am praying you will mount up with wings like an eagle, even now--that grace will descend to where you are; that you will feel a lifting that comes from outside yourself. That love will surprise those, who say they have no time to wait, because God honors the hunger of your soul even while your limbs can't stop moving. 

God is coming. Grace is coming. Renewing, sweeping, pick-you-up-off-your-ass-and-carry-you-through-the-day-sweet-Holy Ghost-grace--she's coming. You can't stop her from coming. 

Don't get to thinking, that you can build the kingdom, be some agent of peace or change or justice or hope or reconciliation, without letting this grace come and carry you. We've seen it too many times before--in the name of some good cause, people try to bring the kingdom to the earth, without inviting the King. And whenever we try to build a peaceful, just world without that central, galvanizing life-giving energy of Spirit blowing into our sails--the weight of the world just buries us.

So give up on any delusions that you have the strength within yourself to fight one more day. Give out, give in--just for a moment--long enough to let the flame of love light you, the wind of Spirit blow into you, to let weightless grace to overtake you. 

Weightless grace, where you don't carry it anymore. Weightless grace, where you are floating, not flailing; letting Love Himself pick you up on his shoulders, like the cross he carried for you so long ago. 

There's not a thing in the world, that you must do for the next few seconds--except to let yourself be lifted.