By: John Lucas
Inspired by Brandon Heath’s song, “Give Me Your Eyes,” Andrew Peterson’s “Everybody’s Got a Song,” and the recent mass shooting in my hometown.
I never loved you enough,
I spent too long,
I was somewhere else.
Until I got to know you.
I started to learn,
In my home.
You were always here
You raised me,
As a friend.
And then I left you.
My college travels,
I thought away.
And then I realized
My loving city
Me back home.
I woke up, city
What happened to you?
Blood on your streets.
I’ll cry too.
I spent too long,
I was somewhere else.
Who raised me,
Is what I must do.
Thoughts before a shift in the emergency room / Emergency: P
It’s a funny thing going to sleep to wake up for a shift at 4am. Maybe it’s because my responsibility hasn’t quite sunken in yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t remember that when I will awake, I will walk into an emergency. It’s a funny thing going to sleep to wake up for a shift at 4am. Maybe it’s because my responsibility hasn’t quite sunken in yet. Maybe it’s because I don’t remember that when I will awake, I will walk into an emergency.
Maybe it’s because emergency is a relative term; while one’s is a subdural hematoma, another’s is a stuffy nose. While one confesses to me that tonight they planned to die, another holds on to life so close that the very sliver away from normal drives them to seek out a place that will protect them. I suppose everything has the potential to become normal in a world of 8 billion plus different people. But still, I will awake to an emergency.
I don’t know who I will see when I walk into the emergency room doors at 4am. I could see you – I hope I don’t see you. I might see your mother, or your friend. But whomever I will see, I will keep my secrets. For the world can never know of the secrets confessed behind closed curtains and the shame that may be exposed. Yes, tomorrow I will enter your emergency.
I pray that you will see beyond me, because I am selfish. I think that is my emergency.
A poem about life from the words of a father penned in Mark 9:24
Do you remember when
You showed me how to trust You
In the midst of a nightmare?
Do you remember how
You taught me to find
joy in the spinning…
Hell. Objectively good and yet somehow
A trauma inside my mind
Enough of that!
Help my unbelief. You showed me how
To live beyond circumstances
And to find joy in pain.
Somehow, here I am.
And there is no joy to find.
Because joy is all around!
Joy is everywhere now.
No conjuring and no striving just
Why is it good? I learned over the years
– not from You –
To believe I don’t deserve
Or at least the kind
that comes from external gifts
And yet, here they are.
Everywhere! How can I…
Lord! Forgive me.
I believe, but
Help my unbelief.
You did say that everything
Works together for those
Who love You
But I don’t deserve this good.
No, not the conversations
At the café.
Not the church, not the friendships,
Not the youth group, not the preceptor,
Not the job, not the absence of…
Lord! Who am I to tell You what I need?
Lord, I believe but
Help my unbelief.
Help my unbelief!
You are good and I see that now,
I confess what I did not allow
Myself to believe was real –
Love, joy, peace, patience,
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Yes, You in your beautiful
And divine providence
Used my fear but the fear itself
Oh Lord, I believe
But please, help my unbelief!
You. Are. Lord.
In the good and the bad
In the clouds and in the clear
My precious Savior, forgive me.
Help my unbelief.
By: Brandon Heath
And stay tuned for the reflection post!
I don’t know where to start. Although a writer, there are times when the flowing of my heart and the translation of my brain don’t quite communicate with my hands, and perhaps this is one of those times. Maybe it’s just the God-inspired task at hand. Or maybe it’s that it’s almost midnight. I digress!
Today I want to reflect on the song I posted on Sunday – “Time,” by John Lucas.
Although if I had the time I would love to duly focus on its entirety [cue: go listen to the song now if you haven’t!], I love the lyrics Lucas uses to pull us in to a different focus midway through the song:
“There is a time for everything / Until we crown the risen King.”
How true is this? Having, like the author of Ecclesiastes, assessed the nature of living and the essence of humanity, here Lucas draws the most crucial conclusion of the entire song. And I believe these simple lyrics are profound – not solely because of their poetic meter, artistic imagery, or of any stylistic feature -but simply because they point to what I believe is a truth often forgotten in the world.
“Crown Him when you bury / And crown Him when you marry / And crown Him when your faith finds a spark.”
When life is about crowning the Risen King, circumstances don’t matter. Emotions can fluctuate, seasons can change, and even worldly death can pervade, but He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). Yet how easy is it to forget that He is our purpose in life.
“Crown Him for He’s faithful / And crown Him for He’s worthy / And crown Him for He is good.”
This is His nature! The Bible describes our King as life and light (John 1:4-5). He is faithful, even when we struggle to have faith (2 Timothy 2:13). Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-39)! He tore the veil (Hebrews 10:20). He made us pure (Hebrews 10:21-23). He made us His (John 1:12).
“Crown Him for His promises / Cut through the blindness / Of children that have barely understood.”
Despite all of our individual and humanity’s collective brokenness, and despite our finite minds, God spoke of His Son through the mouths of and words penned by human authors.
And the entire Bible points to Him (Luke 24:44).
So, I chose this Sunday song because of its poetic truth. And I will close with the closing lines of our song. They remind me of all that He is; that He is our sustenance, and He is our King, and He is our Joy. And they can remind us that, in every situation, God is constantly painting beauty in pointing us back to His Son.
“And that death produces life / And that we are made alive / By the King who paints beauty with time. / By the King who paints beauty with time. / By the King who paints beauty with time.
And I don’t know the end, or tomorrow’s story / But I have found the one who gives me rest. / And I will make my bed in His promises / For He holds true when nothing’s left…
When nothing’s left.”
Lucas, J. (2015). Time. On Promised land [Spotify] Boone, NC: Everett Hardin.
By: John Lucas
Lucas, J. (2015). Time. On Promised land [Spotify] Boone, NC: Everett Hardin. .
On My Time at New City Cafe
In this café, here I sit
Strangers once were we
People wave and people stay
And people talk to me
I say “my name is Kayla
It’s just my first time here
I want to know your story” –
They tell me with no fear!
In my dreams this place exist’d
A place where people grow
Where coffee brews and people sit
And souls do overflow
Christ is in the background here
And Christ is in the walls
I can feel Christ’s presence here
And I can hear his call
In my life now this exists
Sole purpose not for me
But for the people all around
And for to set them free
Today I realized that I don’t know you.
Sure, I know the name. I know the college student, and the stories that made you who you were.
But as I sat in bed reading your thoughts from the past several years, I found myself wishing that somehow you had the answers to your painful questions. So, my dear – here are the beginnings.
You will be free. Ridiculously free. And contrary to what you believe now, your freedom is not the result of any grand or philosophical conclusion on the part of yourself.
I want you to say the name again –
But this time, not with any fear that you aren’t good enough for Him.
Because, well, you aren’t.
I want you to face that fact now.
I want you to give up striving; no grades will make you perfect.
But neither will any friends – nor leaders, mentors, nor any deep thought.
And especially not anything you think you can prove to Him.
You will learn what it is to sit and bask in the presence of the One who is worthy.
And you will cry because you have no words to express His goodness.
You will realize that you don’t have all the answers.
Indeed – even what you came to know of what it truly means to follow Him will change.
Your theology will change.
And you will realize that even I don’t have the answers.
But you will have a knowledge and a wisdom so much sweeter than any knowledge you ever had sought or will seek to obtain.
My dear, you will learn to love again, in all senses of the word.
Joy will radiate from the inner depth of your being at the thought of community.
And even when your community drastically changes –
You will be ok.
And finally, Kayla, you will learn to read the Bible. But not just read it.
Study it. And love it. And cling to it.
I pray I never give that up, because it is our sustenance.
Our very bones ache at the thought of a day without it.
So, Kayla Marie.
I don’t write you with answers or a quick fix, but I do write you with the hope of a new beginning – a beginning that starts with the knowledge that you will never be enough.
Because only He is.
It’s precious on the other side of the trenches, my dear.
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” – 1 Corinthians 1:17
I have found the Breath of Life
Of Whom few words resound
That scare tell of His mighty love
Which set me back around
To pictures tongues cannot suffice
Nor pen nor pencil tell
Though etches vie – for Him, to show! –
His presence solely quells
The searches of our aching hearts
The weeping of our souls
And with no phrase our mind could hear
He made our living whole
So find me in the absence
Of what is understood
He’ll meet you on the outskirts
Of what you said He could
We’ll find Him in our beating hearts
Our souls now overflow’d
Where minds won’t vie to demonstrate
His power – precious so