Written on February 6, 2017. By Shari Norvell
Brothers. Twins. One a hunter, the other a gatherer. One warrior, the other wonderer. Both hunted. One by vengeance, the other by forgiveness. One needed to come, the other to stay. Both apprehended.
I’ve been captivated by the story of Jacob and Esau of late. I’m compelled towards the lines and letters of it, not as much because of what it says, but what it doesn’t. Those meanings and messages beneath words and between periods.
As a momma of twins, one upon earth, the other within Heaven, I understand well the ache that exists. The one that fills the void of what is missing for now, until then. Our Reepi lives with this ache, though there was a moment that lessened it largely. A split second of significance. In the midst of a birthday, a masterpiece filled her hands and held her heart. A portrait of the other part of her. An orchestration by a maestro named Nez.
The sketch sits within a frame upon a shelf in Reepi’s room. And all feels different now. Somehow. It isn’t that she received something she was missing, but that she gained something she was lacking. Goodness. She needed the goodness of knowing that Pappa would show someone her brother. That it mattered to Him as much as it mattered to her. No longer was her need disguised. No longer was His goodness bound.
Fist to fist, face to face, Esau and Jacob stood. Years spent bordering each other’s lives with what they wanted, fell tattered to the ground, as their great need gave way. To see each other, without bowl or bow between them. And to discover that the Lord had been good to them both.
Maybe each of are only hunted till we allow ourselves to be apprehended. By goodness.
The latter portion of Mark 9 tells the story of a father crying out for his son. There is something he needs to see, but his view is vacant. His story begins after Jesus and some of his disciples were upon the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus comes upon him after His disciples have tried to help his son.
After a relentless reminder to His disciples about who they are, Jesus talks with the father about his son. A young boy, afflicted since birth by a spirt that arrests his speech.
But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24
It hurts my heart so much to read Jesus words, “if you can?”, mostly because of the times He has needed to say them to me. The times my want tried to overtake His need to be good to me. To be goodness to me.
His words are followed by a strange statement. A gordian knot woven by the words of the father. “I believe. Help me with my unbelief.”
This scripture in Hebrew is “Adoni hoshiah lahasar emoona kamoni.” ‘Lahasar’ means “to lack or to be needy.”
The unwrapped utterance of the father finds this inside, “Hineni maamin” which means “Here I am believing.” I love that! There is a flow that follows. Here I am believing, ready to act, yet I am unable to because of lack. He simply proclaims he is ready. For God to be good.
Prior to his proclamation he says “if you can” because he knows who God is but not how God is. A part of him in Heaven and a piece on earth. A portion that remembers everything and a place that has forgotten many things.
A man caught in the crux between “what I already know and what I already believe.” We get caught there too. The same place Esau and Jacob lived until they learned to dwell. For His goodness brings unknown things from a far frontier and pushes belief from a passive to an active land. A terrain where we trust and remain when nothing makes sense. A haven where we hope, as it does, and we go.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
Jesus saw their faith. What a vast vision that must be! What does something so wonderful look like? In the story of the paralytic it looked like compassion for one in need. Like the willingness to take love as far as it could go. Like a group of men getting out of the boat and walking upon the water of their trust turned hope. Like a man once withered upon the ground, standing strong.
Luke 18:8 asks if Christ will find faith upon the earth. Faith delved for definition in His deep heart means goodness. Will He find us in the catastrophe of believing, the ruin of ready or the havoc of hope? Can He uncover us in the calamity of goodness?
Can He move us from apprehension to apprehended, detaining us in the spot between faith and fear? Would we let Him linger with us in the living tension of ’emunah’ the word used for faith in Luke 18? Could He stay with us in the space between what we have believed and what we are meant to. A place of truth that eclipses, rather than eludes. For faith is not a thought of the heart. It is a fierce force that keeps us from acting in opposition to Pappa’s heart. ‘Emunah’, active faith which means it has been transformed to faithfulness. Now what we believe along with how we believe it. Our goodness to Him. The way we pursue Him, hunt Him down and don’t let Him go until He is bountied by our good. The lost can find, can be found in a collision of faithfulness. Goodness so great that the collateral damage is beautiful.
For He never expected us to go alone, but come along.
Let the Lord reveal to you the place of your great need. The space where you are “here believing” yet need to remember how good He is alongside who He is.
This week, you are invited to host a treasure hunt!
You will need:
* A New International Version Bible
*A bag for collecting
You will need read the scriptures and then hide an object listed in each one. Your clues for those hunting will be the scriptures!
For the hunt:
1. Look up the Bible verse clues.
2. Pick out the object named in each verse. (If several objects are named, choose one to find.)
3. Find the objects and place them in the bag.
4. Have fun!
1 Samuel 17:18