Mercy In The Middle

LORD, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Renew your work “in the middle” of the years. “In the middle” of the years make it known. In wrath, you remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

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Mercy:

Compassion and

forbearance willingly

shown towards an

offender

All of earth-time is middle-time.

Human history is a hyphen in the text of eternity. It is a mere incident in the context of a God who exists outside of time. Kings and countries are like the mist of an Appalachian mountain: dropping in at dawning, and gone in a glance.

Current events on this world’s stage are like today’s palette of pigments. They exist for this time, for this painting, and will dry up and be scraped away to make a place for the next color story.

I, however, am the daughter of both time and of forever. My time-bound-life began in a gasping second, and will end the same way. My forever-free-life began from the moment of my regeneration. I don’t know how it happened, this miracle that was the awakening of my spirit inside this middle-space. All I know, is at the mere mention of the name of Jesus, my eternal spirit awoke to begin exploration of my life as His idea. My life, as an object of His affection! My very being, as a vessel of His mercy poured out day by day, offense after offense. And oh, how I have offended.

Yet it is my destiny to be loved more than galaxies of stars.

Everything He has ever done for anyone at any time, He is willing to do it again for me.

Every deed He has ever performed to become The Famous One, He is willing to do it again, to show Himself strong on behalf of my generation.

I’ve heard it said that every testimony and every “Amen” is just another way of saying, “We know You will do it again, God!”

Do it again, Papa! Do it again!

Right here, in my middle. In the middle.

When Men of God Dream {...and thoughts on middle-marriage retreats...}

There was Jacob and his ladder. There was Joseph and his kneeling sheaves of wheat, and bowing sun, moon and stars. There was Pharaoh and his seven fat, seven lean cows. There was the unnamed guy who saw a piece of bread roll* into the Midianite’s camp, overturning the tents, foretelling the imminent victory of one named Gideon.

*pardon the pun

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And there’s my husband and a six lane interstate highway in New Jersey.

What do all the above have in common? Each instance involves a man who had a dream. Not a Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” type of dream, but an “I fell asleep and this is what I saw” type of dream.

God is continually speaking to my husband in dreams. He has dreamed of the mechanical fix to complicated car problems - down to intricate details involving which wire, and where it is located. He has dreamed of architectural and structural solutions to problems with our church building. He has dreamed of the complex problems of gross sin, and religious sins like gossip and pride, and been told in dreams straight up who was up to what, in secret, and seen those dreams come to pass. For me to tell you all his dream stories would take at least an hour - two, if we were having dinner together. It would boggle your mind.

Interestingly, of all the dreams mentioned in Scripture (21, I believe), at least half of the dreamers were men with a calling, or clear leaders in their day. Six of them were kings. It was mostly men who heard the Lord in a dream, with only one woman, as far as I can tell. (I have my speculations as to the reasons for that, but this post would quickly evolve into a comedy monologue, and we can’t have that, can we?)

Well, last night, The Preacher dreamed he was on one side of a six lane interstate, and I was on the other. These traffic lanes were full of trucks and cars, but the moment he spied me, he did something most amazing: he knowingly risked his life to bolt across all six lanes of traffic, in a very Tom Cruise/Mission Impossible style, to get to my side.

Once he got to me, a little breathless, he asked me if I was married. I looked at him and said, “As a matter of fact, no, I am not.”

To which he responded, “Then, will you spend the rest of your days with me?”

And then he woke up.

Never, ever will I forget him relaying that dream to me. Never, ever will I forget how my heart has caught itself, a thousand times today, in absolute wonder and gratitude that this man, 32 years married to me, would still dream about me at all, much less dream like that. I can’t imagine any man, especially subconsciously, where the true-truth lives, loving a woman like me, like that. (Don’t worry, I am not down on myself. I simply understand that I am blessed far and above what I have earned or deserve.) I’ve wiped tears at the tenderness of all of it, many times - I may or may not be fighting them now.

But I need to blow my nose, and move on. I want to tell you about a dream I had about The Preacher.

About a year or two ago, I had a vivid dream where my husband was the hero:

I dreamed that I was exhibiting in an art show in the mall. Suddenly, art-hating terrorists stormed the mall and descended on the art show, armed and shooting.

Keith Urban was a featured musician in this art exhibition of my dreams. He was hiding from these masked terrorists, quivering under the table where I sat. In my dream, Tim had read an interview where Keith Urban had told the reporter that he didn't carry a gun, but he "always carried a concealed knife" in case he ever needed to defend himself.

So my Preacher struck out to kill the terrorists, one by one, with the goal of preventing more loss of life. He made a series of very professional, emphatic, very military style hand motions to Keith Urban (still hiding under my table). I somehow knew that those complicated hand motions translated thusly:

"You. Keith Urban. Come with me. You go left, I go right. Bring your knife."

But Keith was paralyzed with fear, as was I. So I ducked under the table and whispered hoarsely, "He isn't ASKING you because you're a country music star. He's TELLING you because he knows you carry a knife. NOW GO HELP HIM."

So he did.

There was more to the dream, but that is enough to give you the gist. I woke up, pulse pounding. I looked across at The Preacher with big heart eyes and said, "You saved everyone's life…

…and Keith Urban is a PANSY."

We still dream about each other, y’all. Sorry/not sorry if that makes you want to roll your eyes. I’m pretty sure that makes us candidates for hosting what might be the worst, or maybe the strangest (or perhaps the best) marriage conference in the whole history of ever.

We’re…uh…”dreaming” about it! Who knows??

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