Five Minute Friday: future

I walked down the aisle to “O God Beyond All Praising,” a magnificent poem by Michael Perry, set to Holtst’s magnificent “Jupiter” theme.

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The second verse says:

Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring,
That we, who know your favor, may serve you as our King.
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still,
To marvel at your beauty, and glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.

“Our tomorrows.” I worry about those. On our first date, my man told me of his rather audacious dream to move one day to a place that terrifies me. I prayed and questioned and said “yes,” and walked down the aisle to sing that song. But I still worry.

And when I imagine various futures, they don’t look like triumphing through sorrows — the potential sorrows are much much too large for me to envision any triumphs this side of glory. Isn’t that the point, though, in Hebrews 11? “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar . . . they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.”

There is triumph in that better country, surely. But also grace in the here and now. Not yet for any imagined sorrows, but grace enough for every sorrow that becomes a reality.

A friend recently told me how she wants to live “an impossible life.” To be able to look back and say that she could never ever have done it apart from the grace of God.

I like to live comfortably within my own perceived abilities, with that grace as a safety net, but unnecessary. Foolish me! As if apart from grace I could accomplish one heartbeat of my own making.

But His grace is sufficient. He makes His beauty shine through the sorrows, so that we may marvel at ways higher and more glorious than ours, so that He, “the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,” receives “honor and glory forever and ever.” (1 Tim. 1:17)

Amen.

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Today I join the FIRST link up on Five Minute Friday’s new website! Use the button above to read more on this week’s prompt, future.

©2017 by Stacy Crouch

ready: small and glad, day 10

“. . . ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred! Ready or not, here I come!”

I used not to understand what “ready or not” meant. I knew that one said it when one finished counting in “Hide-and-seek,” but I didn’t know what it meant, didn’t insert the implied words.

But I DID know that if I was among those hiding, those words added another level to the already pent-up excitement. Remembering it, I can feel the buzz of adrenaline, the way that often times I was trembling in whatever dark spot I had chosen to crouch.

Because, as I came later to understand, “Ready or not, here I come” means “Whether your are ready or you are not ready, I’m coming to get you.”

I’ve felt that way about life events, too, very often: whether I’m ready or not ready, the future is coming to get me.

But — I sincerely hope — I’m learning to tremble less than I used to crouching in the dark during hide-and-seek. The future will certainly have me, whether I run and hide or stand my ground, and I can stand my ground because I know the God who has the future.

However unready I may feel, He had written all my days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). He is never unready, and He has promised to supply every need of mine according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19), and to give me eternal life (John 5:24).

This is my confidence: that wherever the future finds me, I will be found in Christ. In Him I am small, and very glad.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

what do you?

What do you write after writing nothing for nearly two weeks? What words ought to come after no words?

What do you write on a home-alone evening, when you’re watching a red tornado box slide across the online radar screen in counties just north and east of you?

Do you write how your phone auto-corrects “since” to “Pgmad,” because that makes sense?

Do you write how you can hear the rain falling from the near eaves and frogs singing in the distant woods?

Do you write how those woods have succumbed to deep green at last — or is it at soon? — in tunnels of lacy shade that surround the pond into which those singing frogs launch by the dozens when you pass?

Do you write of how a student wrote that something is “highly impossible” and then wonder about degrees of impossibility? Don’t those become degrees of probability, with “impossible,” sans modifiers, standing as the least probable of all?

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All things that exist on the far side of impossible exist on an equal plane regarding probability. Which means, I suppose, that there are fewer things in that level space than we tend to say there are, with the number constantly shrinking as things designated undoable are done.

Do you write of the faces: the girl’s face framed in a silver-headscarf, the boy’s face under an NRA cap, the so-many-others? The way that they can soften, brighten with encouraging words?

You might have called this highly impossible, several years back, impatient for a glimpse of the yet-to-be, yet here it is: the so-many-faces and you not afraid, your heart-roots spreading wide in this Mississippi soil over which the tornado boxes — severe storms, now — slide with almost-weekly reliability, you learning to find the words that come after no words, the stories that begin where “probable” stops.

He corrects the things you type, the things you plan to live, and sometimes the corrections seem as rational as “Pgmad,” but He is not a mindless auto-corrector, and though your understanding may be deficient, His plans for you — highly impossible — are certain and good.

Write this, you who wonder: He is good.

 

©2014 by Stacy Nott