Friday, October 31, 2014

Our Shining Gift of God In Our Arms

Preciousness of moments, sweet cognisance of time,
Holding our angel in my arms, imagine his spirit shine!
Contemplate grace magnified, his little body at rest,
To know our Lord holds him, like my hands are his body’s nest.
Lusciously perfect in our minds, the very substance of our hearts,
The moment he was conceived, our love affair had its best of starts,
Gorgeous little man of ours, who swept us off our feet,
Now he is finally with us, and his race is now run, complete.
Finest little fingers, and toes that show God’s best work,
His ears, his eyes, his tummy, perfection, not one sign of a quirk,
Muscliest little thighs with potential beyond work it seems,
His calves will never burn, his long feet will never realise dreams.
Blessing us only for a few short months, heaven’s best for our display,
Hold him, kiss him, and enjoy him, he’ll lay with us today,
His condition was far too challenging, somehow far too good for Earth,
We find it as we hold him, his life was always of a heavenly birth!
We covet the minute tightly, and defend the hour with might,
His delicate little body is ours, yet his spirit has taken flight,
Bodily comfort is our foil just now, as we take in what can be,
Fleeting moments of sorrow just now, soon he we’ll no longer see.
“It is well.” As those words to the song rang out of the obstetrician’s phone in theatre, tears of eternity’s longing streamed down our faces. It is well, because it is not. Because we can’t fix it, only God in his grace can.
We longed to be with our little one – both to become acquainted with his listless body and to know him as God alone now does. What we longed for we received.
Our cherub, Nathanael Marcus, was delivered lifeless, yet he was, in our estimation of things, the essence of God’s work: a gift (Nathanael is Hebrew for ‘given of God’) and always destined an eternal being (Marcus is Hebrew for ‘shining’; of eternal purity).
Washing the vernix caseosa from Nathanael’s hair and skin proved a difficult task, but not one without its purpose. As I gently caressed his skin with soap, God gave me the opportunity of tactile stimulus and response. The longer I washed him, the more I held him, the more I watched my ever-enduring wife – post-Caesarean Section – stroke his head, the more I saw him as God does: a gift to us and the world, but destined always an eternal being, as are we all.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to be Nathanael’s parents. He will always be ours. For those who love us, he will always be yours, too. Most of all, he is God’s now, and we wait for him to finally greet us when we are called home.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
As I typed the words of the last paragraph I had Nathanael cradled in my left arm.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

15 Descriptions of What Faith Is

1.      Faith is the way we please God. But Jesus has already done everything to make us acceptable to God. Faith meets with God’s grace. Faith is humanity’s response to the grace of the Father to save us in Jesus’ name.
2.      Faith is arriving at confidence when in fear because of courage. It makes a paradox of means transporting us to an end beyond our own making, devoid of God.
3.      Faith finds a purpose in waiting despite the anguish of waiting.
4.      Faith presents the opportunity for growth. Only when we are pushed out of our comfort zones, responding in humility, will God enter into bidding for us, to grow and mature us.
5.      Faith is an idea that instils hope.
6.      Faith is greatest when we step forward at a time when hope is least. And that is hope! The more hopeless our situations, the more legs of faith required, and the more we will prove victorious by a vacuous hope.
7.      Faith is ammunition for the weapon of righteousness. Fired with accuracy, it produces enduring faithfulness. The righteous are credited because of their faith.
8.      Faith won’t fail the person convicted to trust. Trust won’t be disappointed if it continues to hold onto a good vision. Even if the vision doesn’t transpire God will shift the emphases at the right time.
9.      Faith holds to a value esteemed by God. It considers what God values, and with no correspondence entered into, it does what the Lord requires.
10. Faith sees the mountain, the sea, the valley, and it continues to step knowing God is with us.
11. Faith grasps what is untenable and plain scary and it grapples bravely even though it feels like it flounders.
12. Faith doesn’t give up, though despair encroaches. When fear overtakes our consciousness, faith is that idea that steadies the gait, despite the harrowing reality of what is seen.
13. Faith paints a viable picture of hope even if a past sense for hope vanquishes present optimism.
14. Faith delivers a hungry soul to the lions; but those big cats don’t stand a chance. Even if the person with faith perishes their spirit is God’s eternally. And that’s all that matters.
15. Faith wants the best for all occasions. It holds out for the apex of outcomes. Be sure when you are unhindered by your reality that you have arrived at the lasting form of faith.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, October 27, 2014

When Sorrow Invites the Shadowy Valley of God

Omnipresence is the quality of God that suggests he is present, eternally, everywhere, at the same time. God is ubiquitous. Never, ever is God absent, so far as our living domain is concerned. And it may also be true – by our experience (and it has certainly been my experience) – that God is ever more present in the shadow of the valley of pitch darkness. That gives each one of us such comfort.
When we are there, in our silent loneliness, in the grips of abysmal anguish, when there is no hope, we ought to remind ourselves:
So, let go my soul, and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His name.
— Kristene DiMarco, It Is Well (Bethel)
All sources of fear, despair, anguish, and grief are subject to quelling, because of the Lord. None of these issues of pain are beyond the faculties of the grace that saves us. None of the foreboding influence in the “waves and wind” will hold us apart from the Presence of the Lord, manifest in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit abides in and through the prayers of the humble hurting. This Divine Spirit holds together the threads of our lives as we bear the impossibly horrendous moment.
Even in the midst of thought for ending it all – yes, suicide – when all hopes for finding hope are vanquished – and all energy is sapped – there is the therapeutic whisper of the living Spirit; when we reach out in belief that he is there.
Faith suggests we know God is right there, in our very midst.
It is no mere fabrication, because God ‘shows up’ when we acknowledge he is there; faith reconciles the experience of God.
But, we must remember, it was sorrow that got us to bend toward God in the first place. We are much more readily able to receive the Presence of the living God when we need him; when we are desperately lonely and sorrowful beyond words.
The Shadowy Valley of God is a generously safe and healing place. It is a place where we come before the cherished security of God, broken and fallen away from all joy and peace.
There, in the living moment of the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, we are met.
The Holy Spirit abides in and through the prayers of the humble hurting. Our healing Comforter is met, never more, than in the Shadowy Valley of God. Enter willingly. Disparage fear. Choose faith.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.