Written on September 21, 2016. By Shari Norvell
In the midst of a steamy September, we find ourselves within the last weeks of the year of Jubilee. Fall has flirted a bit, teasing us with visions of pumpkin filled drinks and delicacies. We were in our local Sprouts a few days ago and every endcap and display was filled with pumpkin somethin. Our checker was quite dismayed that we had no pumpkin purchases. But it was 100 degrees outside. I love pumpkiny things as much as the next girl, but not in sweltering temps! Right now, I’m still going for pineapple. Not pumpkin.
Many conversations are centered around how unusual it is to have these temperatures in mid September. Maybe so. Yet, we are also in the Hebrew month of Elul, which has a covenant to be the hottest month of the year. Good job Elul, lol!
For me, it’s a testimony. For I so long for His design in all things. Even sweaty Septembers. I find myself celebrating that we are right in the middle of His order, with things lining up as they once did and as He has always intended.
He has been talking with us much about order. Elul is such a time as that, as we are invited to prepare and pursue for the coming planting. Our planting in the plot and platte of His purpose. Order is not about checklists and to dos. It is much less about crossing off than crossing over.
For one of the first times order was demonstrated for us was in Genesis 1. The entirety of the world was in darkness, a state of chaos. Until. And then. Pappa released the first part of Himself in the form of light. Truly His proclamation of “It is good” translates to “it is in order”.
Job 10:22 says:
A land of darkness is like darkness of death and without order, and light is like the darkness.
How could light ever be like the darkness? If it doesn’t live its life and leave it’s legacy. For light is meant to fill and find, delve and discover, invade and implore.
The word used for order in Job is ‘seder’. It is derived from the root ‘sedaerah’ and means “a row”. It is the arrangement of something like boards on a fence. Or all of creation as moon, stars, plants, animals, water, sky and mankind were (and are) arranged in perfect placement.
Seder also means “to remember”. Seder is the table set for Passover. It’s plates and platters come from a people who remembered. Had they not, a sea of red could not have broken open. If we do not, life becomes a series check marks on pads of paper or assignment apps. And then light does not live. Chaos becomes our companion.
As we have been inviting light into the hangars and hovels or our hearts, I have thought much about a movie that is one of our family favorites, “The Princess Bride.”
There is a scene where Westley, the hero, is mostly dead. He is challenged by the dastardly Prince Humperdink to a duel to the death. Westley, knowing he needs a full resurrection to be victorious suggests a different contest. Instead of “to the death” he proposes “to the pain.”
We propose this too. We delay life, resurrected life, by playing the game of “to the pain”. We allow the enemy to take us to memories we have not let light live in. From that place, darkened and dank, only mayhem can ensue. So afraid are we to revisit in order to reveal, that we only peer in the window and never open the door. Peeking in, we see the way it shouldn’t have been, wasn’t meant to be. Pain panders. And we miss seeing how He worked it for good. How He passed with goodness, imploring us to follow.
To revisit doesn’t mean to re-live. It means to carry at torch to the threshold of the memory and madness, so we can see what is really there. We are on a mission not to find the why, but the wonder. For had He not been there, we would not be here. And here is wonderful. WONDERfull.
There is another Hebrew word for order. ‘Shalom’. It has many incredible meanings. But my favorite is, “beauty”. Because honestly. Most truly. We were not created to live from pain to pain but “to the beauty.”
Fear is imagination that has no light in it. And it numbs us. Numb causes us to pull the blinds and bolt the doors. It keeps us mostly dead. Beauty resurrects us. It puts us in order. But it can’t have its way, if we won’t let it in. Is a shaft through a shutter enough to steal us back?
For there is a reason we are in the days of return. Because somewhere along the way, life became a game instead of an adventure. Something we have to win, instead of something won for us already. And we turned. Away. And so, He calls, He cries, He champions us to re turn. To turn again and find the gain. To remember that He never left. Not once. Not ever.
A resurrection is at hand. In our hands. There is an adventure to be had. A life to be lived. A risk to be rewarded.
To the beauty…
Let the light reveal where you have allowed the enemy to engage you in a duel of “to the pain” instead of resurrecting “to the beauty”. Put down your sword. Embrace not engage. And journal the beauty you discover.