27 July 2014

Architect

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You have lows in life, and lower moments in those lows when you drop whatever you're doing and cry. You wonder why, if you're trying to do everything right, why things are so hard and empty. You wonder if your heart will ever heal enough to let in whatever it would take to make the pain go away; you cling to the pain, knowing that's counterproductive to healing. But the pain springs from love of dreams lost. And if that's all you have to cling to...well...

Fate throws fast, mean curveballs; and when they hit your heart, your heart breaks. The heart is key. Key to everything we have been, are, and will be. Some balls merely crack it. Some break it. Some shatter it.

I posted a poem here once, one I'd memorized and believed in. The shapers of the future, we, with mandate to shape it to the best of our ability.

I don't think it's true anymore.

Man cannot architect his fate.

If he could, life would go as planned, as effort and will and strength and prayer directed. He would hit every curveball back, either out of the park or, better yet, straight into the teeth of Fate. To hear that kind of crunch, to see the eyes of Fate pop with that kind of shock and pain...beautiful.

But that's not what happens. We plan, we dream, we work, we pray, we try our best to work the opportunities that come, to work through the hardships that mean the reaching of our goals—

And then something comes out of left field that flattens us and shatters dreams—and hearts—like glass.

If man could architect his fate, such would never happen.

Longfellow got it wrong.

I've had those kinds of lows, and definitely the lower moments. Those lowest, frightening moments, when you go to the Lord clutching the pieces of your heart, brittle and sharp now, and you too tearful, too disappointed, too utterly wasted to even try to piece the thing back together. Besides, you cannot breathe it to life again, make it warm and soft and pulse the way it should. You hear it takes time, that time heals all wounds. "These walls of time," in these circumstances, seem like bars through which you watch as the rest of the world smiles on its way. On its way to those very dreams you guarded with the fragile heart-glass you now hold.

I've learned something, though. Actually, I'm still learning it. But it's beginning to settle into substance.

Man cannot architect his fate. He can only architect his faith.

Faith is the true pulse of the heart. Faith not in a restoration of things lost or in hoped-for change or perceived miracle. Faith in He who is the only Master Fate recognizes.

Fate may throw her curveballs because the heart is at the center of everything we are about here. And we must architect our faith because...the heart is at the center of everything we are about here. Faith is what conditions the heart. Our attitude about Fate, Destiny, whatever you call it...that's what matters. And that's often what's hardest to cope with.

I have wondered sometimes why things are so hard if I'm trying to do everything right. Why happiness and fondest dreams seem so far out of reach some days. Why it's so hard to heal, or let my heart be healed from hurt. Why every day seems such a struggle at times. The stories of those who endure much more with greater faith don't comfort; if anything, they bring guilt and hopelessness. Those people centered their faith and hope in Christ, not in other people or in hoped-for circumstances. And apparently it sustained them. But how did they do it?

I think I'm finally beginning to understand, at least a portion. I think they could do it because they knew that they were doing everything they could. They trusted that, if they were in this hard situation, if their hearts had intercepted that curveball, it was because the Lord had willed it so, or had at least allowed it to be so. And because of that, because the Master is involved, they were still in good hands, and things would be well.

Those people had put themselves in a position, through obedience, to be healed, to be delivered, and they knew the Lord's promises of deliverance are sure and in the process. Deliverance may not come today, though we are in the position. Or tomorrow. Or days, weeks, months...years...from now. The Lord's deliverance comes when it will come—man still must work within the walls of His timing (and that's the hardest part). But the heart's responsibility is to be ready to receive it every day, so it isn't missed.

That kind of attitude doesn't change circumstances; it doesn't bring solutions. The curveball still hit; the effects are still there. But that kind of attitude does bring with it a certain peace and calm that begins to glue the heart together again, that brings a smile and deeper breath even in the midst of what seems to be an unending, unsolveable problem. With that kind of attitude, whatever deliverance happens to be—a restoration of lost dreams or a pathway to even better dreams—will be the right deliverance, and the heart will not only be convinced of it but will be in the position to receive it with joy.

None here is architect of fate; all are architects of faith. That is the purpose of everything we experience in life.

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