Bright and strong and beautiful

By Dave Henning / June 1, 2024

“There are also all sorts of things in our own spiritual life, where a thing has to be killed, and broken, in order that it may then become bright and strong and beautiful.”- C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”- Psalm 16:5-6 (ESV)

In Chapter 7 (“Beautiful Boundary Lines”) of The Gift of Limitations, Sara Hagerty notes that a process exists between our collapses over a lifetime and the rebuilt structures that come from them.  However, surrender only comes with our participation.  Thus, we must be actively involved in order to receive the trust of surrender.

But, Sara notes, even though we must choose to surrender, it rarely happens as tidily as a Hallmark moment.  In addition, like grief, surrender involves a cyclical process.  Therefore, over a lifetime we revisit patches of ground that need tilling, and new seeds.

Yet, Sara stresses, the aspirations Psalm 16:5-6 speaks to feel far from our reality.  Because what those verses say can feel distant from our experiences and how we relate to God.  Certainly, we want to feel, know, and claim these words as true in our hearts.  But, on a subconscious level, many of us feel disappointed with our portions. Our lot in life.  As a result, we dislike the lines God’s given us.

In conclusion, Sara underscores, limits allow us to thrive.  As adults, though, we equate our status with limitlessness.  So, Psalm 16:5-6 only becomes real on the other side of surrender, mourning, and loss.

Writing in A Kingfisher’s Catch, Eugene Peterson says:

“Every Christian story is a freedom story.  Every story tells how a person has been set free from the confines of small ideas, from the chains of what others think, from the prisons of the self, sin-separated from God.  We are free to change.  The process of that change is always a good story, but is never an easy formula.”

Today’s question: What in your spiritual life has become bright and strong and splendid?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Watchfulness – full of wonder”

About the author

Dave Henning

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