Whipping me with debris from old insecurities and new responsibilities, the cold gusts from a tumultuous encounter at first evokes the gut-response of curling up in a self protective ball. Being still in a blinding storm makes sense. Arms and legs protecting more vulnerable parts is sheer survival instinct.
But soon, cramps and darkness penetrate the position, and the initial defense becomes a thorny fortress, if I keep it much longer.
He reminds me to breathe.
He reminds me that the burden I bear is His, and that the winds will accomplish His purpose, if I allow them to run their course through me.
Gently, He touches tense muscles, and one by one, they relax. As He lifts my chin, I open the eyes that were squeezed tight, and I realize that the damage was not the disaster I expected from my closed position.
I feel the sun on my face.
Nothing has changed in the situation that brought the storm, but I can breathe freely. I am free, regardless.
And then He directs me to a poem my beloved mentor wrote when similar winds were whipping her. As I read the words I know by heart, I hear the sparkle in her voice again, her delicious love mingled with His in an elixir that revives my battered soul:
“Do you really think My love has left you
When your leaves begin to wither?
Do you really think My love has left you
When they lifelessly fall to the ground?
Do you really think you are beyond My reach
Do you think your leaves are essential to Me?
Or that you have depreciated in My eyes
Now, when you stand naked
In bitter chills, and lonely?
Did you think the leaves you presented
Were what gave you worth in My eyes?
I planted a tree – not a leaf
I loved a tree – not its leaves
And now, when your leaves fall
And you feel the pangs of nakedness
I see clearer who you are
The one I planted
And I love you
For we were intimate
When I pruned you
And deep in your marrow you recognized
That it was for you
You gratefully drank my rain
After a season of drought
And lifted your leaves as a sacrifice of praise
But it is not your leaves that I love
It us YOU”
– Brita Krarup
She is with Jesus now in eternity, my beloved Brita, along with so many friends who went before us. They are cheering us on from there, and in this moment, I feel her near. She is stroking my hair, while she sings the songs from my faith’s infancy.
Undergirding, harmonizing with her sunlit voice, His deep baritone urges me to stand erect in Him and keep my eyes looking into His, no matter what winds whip against me or against Him.
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)
“ Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)