From Below: A Mediation of Suffering
I am flanked by pain and love. As I approach the river where it all went down. Those moments of reflection in which the memory ignited the feeling, that birthed the tears, that seared my conscious. I am here, on this bank, waiting to rise.
When I heard the news, I sank. “Where is the glory?” I cried. “Where is the justice?” I shouted. "Where is the newness we’re promised?” The paradox of faith in the midst of pain. The moment where spitting upon the dirt for healing seems like a faerie tale. I am a dirge of a Jesus Follower. How weak I grow beneath the mud of suffering.
It’s not even mine. It’s his. It’s hers. It’s yours.
I run out into the quiet moments, by the river and scream hell on earth. And fall in a heap. I choke on my indignation. Make it stop, Lord. And forgive me of my soiled reaction; the lashing of my heart upon the air.
Rebellion has its consequences. Rebellion breaks, no, it shatters. “Oh, but there is beauty in the ashes.” Beauty doesn’t rise from the ashes. It rises in spite of the ashes. We break, sure. But our rebellion was the crushing. And in this battlefield we live. I want to rise, from below.
“What were the lashes for, anyway, Lord. Can’t you make this stop?” He leads me with those eyes of eternity. The ones that grind beauty into me. I am here in this “ostrich” time, this meaningless hurt, and for what?
The cat o’ nine tails whipped around his body, not to end it all. But to cut a fleshy way, passed the groaning, and into joy. They cut to kill. But he submitted so that he could bear it all. To take it, from below, and give it away to joy.
I emerge from below to bear the whips with you.
I throw obscenities at the flowing water, at the air, at God. He takes it because he can. He reminds me in the quiet moments, the reflective moments of prayer and petition and confession and guts and glory, that I see only the river.
The river is his. From his mind, from his magic glow, from his tempest-being. He breathed it. He sustains it. It is the icon of his glory.
He took the tails, their whipping and blood-thirsty savagery, so that he could move unscathed midst our rebellion, so that he could show us a secret door into another place.
Aslan, the great Lion, showed the children a similar door. Inside the door a new land emerged and continued to do so. On and on, rolling further, and further still. “I have finally come home!” shouted the Unicorn.
Home is where we find one another; we together, in the pain of unglory. We together, pushed so, by forces below. We together, rising with the magic of fellowship, of kindness, and love.
All I can do is hold your hand my brother, my sister. I will shout and scream with you. I will curse this day for you. I will bear with you, for the Glory, for the newness. Until we get home.