So I got this gift once.  I never expected it.  Never wished for it.  It never floated in….or out. And I could never have prepared myself for it.  One day God said, “this will display my splendor and make Me glorious in the absence of glory…” and it fell…hard…on me…one day.  Brain injury entered our lives nine years ago when our daughter’s car met that tree.  The tree that for years bore the marks of change. Good change.  Glorious change.  But this post is not about brain injury…because there is nothing glorious in brain injury itself.  It is only God who is glorious in it.  Brain injury bears the marks of the fall…and an anguished groaning longing for restoration.  I heard the whisper the other day, “to display my splendor...” and my soul bowed in the presence of love.  Brain injury requires much.  Brain injury requires humility on both ends.  Both the brain injured and the one who loves the brain injured.   And so it is…and so it goes.  And so I go… into it. Some days filled with an unseen energy…other days, afflicted with exhaustion.  It was on the latter day I heard the whisper from the Voice without sound…”to display My splendor.”  Why?  Why is ok when we ask why in a way that draws you into a deeper knowledge of God.  An intimate knowledge of Jesus.  The “why?” that seeks an answer that steadies you.  Not the “why?” that feeds into bitterness, or flames self-promotion, or satisfies a betrayed heart…or offers temporary satisfaction that pacifies the self.  No, I’m writing, thinking, praying about the “why?” that comes after a full surrender to God’s sovereignty in your life, that has bowed to the Hand stretched over you, fully just.  Even when that sovereignty feels like severe mercy.  If we feel this.  If we know it.  We know the cross.  Not the “why me?  Why did this happen to me?  Why do I have to go through this?  But the “why NOT me?” When this has become your “why” question, you are safe to search the revealed mysteries of a holy God…“why not me?”  And you hear the whisper, as I did…a soft whisper, in between sigh-filled breaths, too tired to enter into another conversation that repeats…with every visit.  Too physically exhausted to go and serve in ways that lighten her load, but add to mine…the whisper, “to display My splendor…”  A whisper set against the background lazy afternoon song of the cardinal…he too is displaying His splendor…and why not?  It is what he was created for in his fiery blood red feathers…with a proud crown atop his head…and you catch a glimpse of glory, fire-red splendor.  And so it is, like my eyes that land on the beauty of the cardinal in all of God’s splendor, set against blue interrupted by white, I too, get to share in a glimpse of this glory as my overwhelmed mind, and tired body rise to move in sync with Him to display His splendor.  Today, on this day, when my soul was quieted by His tender voice…to display My splendor…had nothing to do with Him granting me that I would somehow find joy in it.  That He would somehow make it easier, and it would turn into a sort of mother-daughter type fun.  And I think to myself, I know I am supposed to try harder in these opportunities…moments of joy can be found if searched for hard enough.  In the middle of the empty search, something was about to flood in.  I had gotten it wrong.  Yet, somehow…it was all sweetly familiar, since He has become so very familiar, as He has taught and I have learned, to go low in the dark quiet hours of the morning, often before light greets the earth…to hear His secret counsel…why not me?  The question, again, floated in…and at that moment in time, splendor erupted in full…the answer came as if my soul knew it all along, but this time, it took root, deep…deep into the riches of Christ’s massive – unchanging love…because people will never bring you joy.  They weren’t created for that.  GOD BRINGS JOY! Wait…but does God just bring joy?  We have to be careful not to let that word “bring” separate God from joy.  I mean, we pray…we pray for God to restore our joy.  Maybe you are depressed…maybe there is sin that has robbed your joy…maybe your to do list has robbed your joy…maybe a person has robbed your joy…or so you think.  And all of this is theologically impossible.  Why?  Because GOD IS YOUR JOY!  GOD IS MY JOY!  Jesus, Himself, came to give us Himself that we would have abundant life and our joy would be full!  Would be full in Him!  And we echo the heart of the psalter, “In your presence is FULLNESS of joy…(psalm 16:11).  HE IS THE JOY!  It’s not like a box, with a shiny crinkle, delightful to the eye, that only comes a few times a year.  Don’t separate it like that.  God doesn’t think to Himself, Trish is running low on joy today, I’m going to wrap up my joy and place it before her so that she will delight more in the things I give to her.  NO.  He says, “I’m going to give her more of MYSELF today…and in that joy she will exult for she will exult in her God and display my glorious splendor.”

“Whom have I in heaven but You, and besides You I desire nothing on earth.” Psalm 73:25

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