Once again, an old post but this time heavily reconfigured. Some things do not change, do they?
'In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.'
This is a quote from a traditional spiritual song that I don't know which was famously (apparently) arranged by a lady called Alma Blackmon. The words are very simple, and beautiful and the refrain:
'You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus'.
That's about it.
There have been a handful of times in my life, Lord God, when I've run out of... well, everything. Energy, ideas, patience, peace of mind. This week is pretty much one of those times. It's been a week in which anxiety and worry linked arms and barged their way back into my head where they set up camp and made themselves comfortable. Fear crept in quietly and ominously and now huddles with them round the camp fire and depression has taken a step out from the shadows and is asking to join in the conversation.
Give me Jesus.
Lord, give me Jesus when I rise, and before that, when I lie in bed and stab at the snooze button and try to stay asleep because it's easier being asleep than awake. Give me Jesus when I come downstairs and try with as much tact and diplomacy and thick-skinned-ness to communicate with my teenage daughters who have their own sizeable problems at the moment.
Give me Jesus as I exercise to try to loosen my aching joints and fight on against the accumulating excess pounds. Give me Jesus as I make phone calls and check for sad messages that are surely coming soon. Give me Jesus as I break news, as I make arrangements, as I try to think of things to say. Give me Jesus when I'm on the brink of saying things I should not say.
As I spend time with people I love, give me Jesus so that they can see Him, not me.
Give me Jesus as I try to find a meal that everyone will eat at a time when everyone is free to eat it. Give me Jesus as I head off to bed before my daughters and try to sleep not knowing when they'll go to bed and if they'll be able to get up in the morning.
Lord, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.
Lord, you can certainly have all this world. I don't want it very much at the moment. It's a world full of broken marriages and pain and illness and hospitals and doctors and shaking heads and bad news and low self esteem and tears and waiting and lying awake at night not-knowing and filling the gaps with imagination that just loves to paint everything bleak and grim.
It's a world full of shadows that are so dark that sometimes it's hard to see you.
It's a world where you are visible in the huge extravagant beauty of the magnolias blooming in my garden (well, the ones that survived last week's sub-zero temperatures) and in the promise of the flowers on the tomato plants and in the baby radishes peeping potential above the soil. It's a world of purply-grey stormy skies and lashing rain then watery sunshine and subtle rainbows and the smell of wet dusty ground.
It's a world where those that have eyes to see and ears to hear can find you all everywhere - and all that's just lovely and great but right now it's not enough, Father God. I don't want to discern you in subtleties, I want to run actually, not figuratively, into your real, solid, faithful arms and feel the weight and strength of your embrace. To let my legs go as wobbly as they feel and let you pick me up effortlessly and hold me close like a little girl.
Daddy, I'm tired.
I don't want to be strong. I want to give up. I want to stay asleep.
I don't want to keep trying to communicate when I don't have words. I don't want to persevere with the goals I've set myself - who am I kidding? I abandoned them long ago, but they haunt me still. I want to sit down and not move. I don't want to make decisions and I don't want to explain bad things to small children and I just don't want to do any of it any more.
I don't want to run the race, I'm tired and I want to rest.
You can have all this world. Just give me Jesus.