Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: Truth AND Dare: Love Amidst War
By Beth Muehlhausen
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You want the truth, Lord? My heart labors; it longs for heaven.
I cry out to You while wandering through desert-like circumstances, all the while believing You for oases, green pastures, and still waters. I ache for a taste of paradise while suffering on earth.
A shriveled, hidden part of me recoils in the blinding heat of trials, disintegrating like plastic wrap exposed to the flame of a gas burner. Fear’s putrid stench threatens to consume me from the inside out. I feel numb and paralyzed as if I should retreat, and yet at times I cannot seem to move from a dusty stranglehold of discouragement laced with gritty dread and anger.
Another part of me prays and waits, knowing You are faithful. The Spirit within me pelts gracious relief like raindrops - faith, hope, love - faith, hope, love – faith, hope, love. These heavenly encouragers refresh my desire until I believe I can be a whole person in spite of the trials; I can be healed in the midst of them. They promise to never forsake me and in so doing, to conquer all else.
Meanwhile I wait and wait for You to transform the natural into the supernatural. This is my only sure defense against despair.
In everyday experience my heart continues to bounce like a yo-yo, hopping up and down between exhaustion and expectancy; between discouragement and the peace that passes understanding.
But the question is … which of these two predominates? Which defines me?
A war is raging.
One battle flows into the next and the next, almost like violent rounds of a game when opponents compete back-and-forth taking turns, leaping ahead and falling back to the tune of victorious cries and defeated groans. In the midst of the offensive and defensive moves You challenge me with a transformational dare.
You ask me to leave desert-like emotional burnout and anxiety in order to dwell with You - even IN You, and You in me. You promise me peace if only I venture beyond my known self, risk leaving the familiar, trust and submit to You implicitly.
I wonder about this kind of daring leap of faith. Could the paralyzed portion of my heart actually regenerate and morph into something more complete and whole?
You alone give me the will and the strength to reply with confidence.
Your journey for me begins as I take a step beyond myself, beyond my rational mind, beyond any innate capacity to understand or know or assume anything. My boldness grows as I expect Your power to descend upon me, change me, direct my attitudes as well as my path.
It is true my heart knows what it means to bend in sorrow, and yet it accepts Your dare … a dare to embrace love.
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