only everything

I often see people quoting Abraham Kuyper: “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!'”

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And I know it is true. He claims only everything. Everything.

But sometimes it comes home to me in concrete ways, rather than in the abstractions which we generally surrender to God.

Yesterday, in an Applied Linguistics course, we discussed the parts of the brain where language is located — front and back of the left hemisphere, if you want to know — and talked about different kinds of aphasia, which is language impairment due to brain damage.

Strokes are the most common causes of aphasia, and it just so happens that my blood disorder puts me into a higher-risk bracket for strokes. (I don’t live, in case you wonder, in perpetual fear of strokes — it isn’t a very high risk right now, anyway — but I recognize the increased possibility.)

I already knew that strokes could impair language, but I hadn’t absorbed it until yesterday. Yesterday, it gave me pause.

Because, in all my assessment of what I have and what I lack, of what I may gain and what I may lose, I’ve always allotted language to myself as a perpetual possession. I’m a words-person, and, if I don’t talk a lot, I do like to be able to speak clearly and be understood.

In my imagination I’ve seen myself husbandless and childless for life, and I have said “Christ will be sufficient, if He requires that of me.”

I’ve tried on the what-ifs of losing my sight or my independent mobility, and I have asserted “Christ will give me strength for even that.”

He has required of me my right to healthy blood, and required of me numerous plans and dreams held more or less dear, and I have struggled and surrendered to His sovereignty: “This too, this also, must be good, Lord.”

But my language?

He has not taken it. He may never take it. But He has asked me to be content, to rejoice even, if one day He is the only Word I possess.

Can I, having Christ, relinquish all the world and all the words besides? Shall I joyfully accept the plundering of my linguistic property, since I know that I have a better possession and an abiding one?

We’re called to die before we die; to die, with Christ, to flesh, to the world, to sin; to live with eyes fixed on heaven. “You have died,” He says, “and your life [your language, your everything] is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

This is not the land of glory. Our language is broken and too small. We use it poorly, only express half the things we wish, fumble for words, fall silent when we ought to speak. In Emmanuel’s land, where glory dwelleth, all will be restored in the image of that Word whom we shall see face to face.

Until that day, He’s teaching me to hold only everything, even my language, on open palms, looking to that better possession, rejoicing in Christ, the Word who is my enough.

 

©2014 by Stacy Nott

 

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