Contending For Connection

I awoke at 4:30 this morning feeling the weight of the world...the weight of things that are really out of my control. Not able to go back to sleep I brewed a pot of coffee, grabbed my umbrella and my dog, Molly, and walked out on the beach in a steady but subtle rain. Normally I would stop at the benches on the boardwalk, especially in nasty weather, and just look out over the water. But today I felt the need to walk all the way to the waters edge. I walked as far as I could till the waves crashed around my feet. I could go no further.

I couldn't get Peter Gabriel's "Father/Son" tune out of my head so I just sang the verses I could remember. "Remember the breakwater, out on the waves, I first felt my courage, knowing daddy could save...I could hold back the tide...with my dad by my side...with me." We all have a spirit within us that is crying out "Abba". It is the longing for connection that brings security, warmth and purpose. Like Peter's song suggests, we feel an invincible quality within us with our dad by our side...we could even hold back the tide! That is the power of connection.

It's that connection that we must contend for. However, that connection is most readily felt in the place of need and that is a place many of us avoid at all costs. Too often we have been disappointed in the place of need and those experiences have taught us that vulnerability will only leave us bereft of connection and feeling exposed and unsafe. This is why the Father sent the Holy Spirit, that great Comforter and guardian of our spirit's connection to God. In Christ we have been grafted into the Father's Family forever, but that reality must be welcomed through the doors of our heart. Our hearts seem to be fully equipped with their own security system in an attempt to block out all threats...and only we possess the code to disarm it and allow someone to safely enter.

Jesus stands at the door of our hearts knocking. He doesn't bust down the door. He knocks, then He waits. Do we have the faith to open up the door? Scripture says when we are faithless, He will remain faithful...for He cannot disown himself."

As Molly and I continued to walk in the rain a new song leapt into my heart. "Keep me as the little man, there in your eye, an intimate connection like water to sky...hold me like the wick that cradles the flame, I hear Wisdom's voice ringing as You're calling my name." We only realize that we are the "apple" of the Father's eye when we are face to face with him.

Last night my mother taught at Big House on vulnerability and she shared part of its definition as being "open to attack." If we are to defend ourselves then we must take our eyes off of the Lord and on to our assailants. But if we are to allow the Lord to be our defender then our eyes must remain on him. As the ancient King Jehosophat once prayed when facing an imminent attack from an overwhelming enemy, "Lord, we don't know what to do... but our eyes will remain upon you." The place of intimacy is the place of vulnerability, and yes, it leaves you open to attack, to loss, to pain. But without vulnerability you will never have connection and without connection you will always feel alone.

I pray the Lord grants you a bold and brave heart today that finds the strength of unconditional love in the place of your naked need. May He grant you ears to hear the cry of your own heart that is calling out for connection with Him and others. I bless you to be vulnerable but not foolish, discerning with whom you are safe to cast your pearls, knowing that you are always safe with Him. I pray you experience connection through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is a first deposit of your Father's love. Finally, I pray a new song on your lips that describes the atmosphere of your heart and invites heaven to fully saturate that space.

God bless you people...I think I'm going back to bed.