Loss! Pain! Fractured relationships! Death and disease! Failure!

The shadow sometimes hovers near me. At other times, it is suspended as a barrier between me and the light above it. Just a thought of the returning darkness grips my soul and threatens to send me spiraling into an abyss.

Reality? It can be a friend or foe…depending on one’s perspective.

“Surely, O God…surely, there is another one…another reality. I’m not ready for it yet,” I cry out in the darkness and the stillness of the night. You know, that time when demons come to tell their lies and steal the gift.

My eyes squinted for a glimmer of hope, but I saw nothing.

Then a voice, or maybe it is a whisper…perhaps it was a only a thought, “This is what I want you to see. You will never truly live until YOU destroy what you so desperately desire.”

And what do I desire? Perpetual youth and health! Wealth! The absence of struggle! You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now, but dreams die hard.

Now he orders me to forsake my heart’s desire? For my own good and his glory? Are you kidding me?

“NO! I will not!”

It goes against my nature. My own voice rebels against my own best interests.

His voice, an old voice…the pleading message is still the same. I didn’t want to hear that…not that. A tidal wave of entitlement swept over me again and again.

“I deserve better…more! Give me what I want!” I demanded.

“But I’ve told you, I’m leading you somewhere. And even though where I want to take you isn’t where you want to go, you will be ecstatic when you get there. Besides, what do you know? I created you, remember?”

Still, a battle rages between my body, soul, and spirit. In my flesh, I demand satisfaction. I require special attention.

And he said…he says, “You foolish boy – I AM giving you more. My provisions for you are more than enough for you. Trust me on this!”

A glimmer of weakness on my part emerges. Just a minuscule light piercing the darkness of my stubborn impulse.

And when the dam of my own will breaks?

In my spirit?

A testimony from his spirit that indwells me limits me to one word – a name – a title…. an inarticulate cry…an utterance really…it escapes my lips….”Father, ABBA Father!”

Otherwise, I am speechless. I only cry for him.

Once in a while, in the beginning, I could barely muster the strength to say, “I am nothing! You are everything!” Once in a while I could plead with him, “Less of me! More of YOU!”

It was not much, but it was something.

But the war that raged…rages inside of me…the violent conflict between spirit and soul and body? It is real!

Yet, in spite of the battle, the seed that should have taken root long ago finally germinated and sprouted. Just a little sprout at first, mind you. Maybe you wouldn’t have seen it at all unless you knew to search for it. A sprout that began to grow into a spindly seedling….the end of me…the beginning of him.

The beginning of victory!

With the growing mustard plant, a return of joy…most of the time…when my eyes are fixed on him. No, not really a return but the first manifestation of joy. And fulfillment. Of purpose. Eternity begets eternal hope. And I thanked God for the impermanence of everything. The desire for him…the filling of me with him and with a longing to find HIM when I look for ME.

Eternal Father, a seed of doubt in the things that will perish has taken root and driven me to desire you. It’s not a large plant. But I beg you to cause it to grow to the point where my only cry is for you…for your son…for your Spirit to indwell me. I want to be compelled to testify to the power and majesty of you and of your merciful and graceful nature. Please, dear Father, lead me to a place where you are enough for me. I desire to desire no one else but you. Please give me the wisdom to recognize the fleeting things and the strength to abandon them and to embrace fully the permanent ….to embrace you…to cling to you as my last and only hope.