Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Thin Black Line

May I ask you a question? If you decide to keep reading, I guess you have given me permission.

Let me set the stage. I was up at Daffodil Hill last week and there was a bird cage there with 4 beautiful doves. They were light-colored, with a barely perceptible pink tone to them. Their feathers made them look cloud-soft. Not until they would tuck their heads to preen themselves could one see the black ring around the back of their necks. I’m not sure if it went all the way around or not.

Reflect on that picture…the hidden black line. Anything come to your mind? I know people are wired differently and there would be all kinds of answers if I actually got written or spoken feedback. The line—just a thin black line. Hidden. Beautiful soft pink feathers…almost like fur…attracting the real attention. If you bat an eye, one might even miss the ducking of the head which reveals the line. I love God’s creativity. Sparing you any more contemplation than you can bear…

I have been stewing on that thin black line for a week now. Thin ice, the fine black print on the bottom of the document…thin things; not really important until it breaks/breaks through…The thin black line. Where one stands? There’s a huge chasm of difference on one side than the other. Grammar just kind of goes out the window right now.

I’m taking a missions course called Perspectives. It’s an apt name because it is all about different perspectives on missions…part of our mandate as a Believer. Tonight the speaker impacted my heart and soul in ways that I have not been impacted for many years. It was not about being moved through emotion, it was about the spoken Word, the Word of Truth…bringing together many thoughts and ideas that together form a step….once taken…causing the forward movement in one’s journey in Christ. I thought I could keep writing right now, but I seem to have to let it stew…

Okay, back at it. When one loses someone, especially a spouse, as that is what I can relate to presently…I have a number of dear friends with parents in their last days…there is a tearing of a oneness that leaves the one left behind in sort of “two worlds.” Maybe it’s even something a mom feels when she loses a child. It is like standing by a veil. I had my body on one side but my heart was on the other side. There are things there that one can’t explain. I could look people in the eyes but part of me was behind this veil. Words can’t even explain the feelings of finding the veil running right through my heart and soul. It wasn’t about wanting to die (although that does go through one’s mind)…it was more about trying to see and not knowing what I was really focusing on. “Was it okay to have my feet on one side? Can others see this torn flesh? Do they see the veil?” The veil is private, but it felt like it was a neon light. I know these words don’t even do justice to what I experienced.

Last night this veil reappeared. I saw it through the word pictures of our speaker. I saw it in the understanding of trying to share the grace and love of Jesus cross-culturally. I saw it especially woven into the fabric of the false religions…Islam…words so many can’t even express because they live hopeless lives or in false hope that they can’t even see beyond. My heart is aching that I can’t even express what filled my heart.

Our speaker shared about years of his boyhood when he would sit outside under a lamppost in the evenings because he was afraid of the dark. It was a picture God used to teach him when he traveled back to Lebanon as an adult. He could have missed it. God had a message there for him. That image is burned in my heart. Later we heard a testimony of a Muslim who has come to Jesus. Amazing. This verse screamed across my mind, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” I Peter 2:9

God returned me to the image of the veil…a time when life and death were so real and excruciatingly raw. Do many lost people walk that thin line where they don’t know what side of life and death they are on? Do they have that stare in their eyes that they wouldn’t even know what to say, let alone ask? Contemplating grace. How does Jesus…How does Grace come to a person. It is not about me bringing it…it is a surrendered vessel.

I am faced with the thin black line. Hidden. I know and accept that I may make little, if any, sense at all. I pondered Romans 1:20…releasing “worry” for those who don’t have a witness of Jesus among them. Releasing this worry not in respect to setting aside those people, but allowing my heart to see this whole plan is God’s story of redemption and He will do it…His heart wants to draw all men unto Himself. Now as an individual I stand with my hands open. I’ve come to the cross alone, but yet God puts me in a family…the Body of Christ. How then is this Body of Believers useable for Him? Do I help the Body be most useable for Him by operating in the gifts He has given me? Do I hinder the Body? I know we cannot show love as a Body save that we EACH know how much God loves us. Do we know…can we begin to grasp the immense love He has for each of us?

I’ve seen it (love) in death, because death here, for a Believer, means life in its fullness there. His Presence…true love…the veil is torn…by Him. We see because He is present with us. He goes ahead…the same way He will as He leads us in this journey called ‘life.’ This closing paragraph isn’t done. It’s in process. I’m in process…
Journeying with you,

p.s. I should have thrown the snowball.
p.s. Our new teenager is a sweet blessing to our family. She is 1--a Golden Retriever


At 9:16 AM, Blogger Andy McCullough said...

Annie... this is in response to the comment you left on my blog... I would try and search 'kurd' Not only will they give a lot but if you scroll down there are like 25+ other links they suggest for research.

Will pray for your friend... and you!


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