Character, Not Comfort

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I had a vision once.
And it stuck with me.
I guess visions do that.

I saw an impenetrable wall.
Thick. Tall.
Made of gigantic, rough-hewn stone.

Somehow, the wall was God’s will.
His sovereignty.
His severe, yet righteous, plan.

I felt within myself the words,
“You have gone this far.
You will go no further.”

A Hand picked up the vessel.
A vessel made of clay, glazed brilliant azure.
A representation of my family: Our life up to that moment.

The Hand violently thrust
The vessel against the wall.
Pieces scattering, flying far…

I asked, “How will we ever put this back together again?
What are You doing to us? O God, please help us…”

“Let My will be done.”

It came to me in a moment as I was waiting to bail my son out of jail, wondering what would come next. I knew He would be with us; He had not forsaken us. But His discipline is severe. My son needed the strong hand of the Lord to hold him back, to set him on the right path. We would all be affected. Not one of us would be left untouched. Where we thought we were headed as a family had been snatched away from us. How would we come out of this intact? We would never be the same…

Although His work is severe —
“At times as hard as crucible steel” —
We chose to surrender to His hand.

“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when He corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son He accepts.”
~Hebrews 12:5-6

That was almost four years ago.
Today, I can sing this song…
And so can my son.

LESS LIKE SCARS
It’s been a hard year
But I’m climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it’s

Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel You here
And You’re picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But You are able
And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like
Character

Less like a prison, more like my room
It’s less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel You here
And You’re picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But You are able
And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago
I couldn’t feel the power or the hope
I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t feel a thing
Just a little while back
I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping
You would come

And I need You
And I want You here
And I feel You

And I know You’re here
And You’re picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But You are able

And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars (x3)

And more like
Character

~Sara Groves

Dear brothers and sisters,
whenever trouble comes your way,
let it be an opportunity for joy.

For when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.

So let it grow,
for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

James 1:2-4

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10 responses »

  1. Michelle, your poetry’s…beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us. Your post’s title certainly fits your blog’s name (no surprise there)… Just think: If Jesus had picked “comfort” over the Cross… Where would I, we, any of us be right now? I can tell that the Potter’s re-making you into an even lovelier pot than the first one… “Thanks, God, for Michelle… and for the way more & more of You is continually splashing out of her life through those broken places…”

  2. Beautifully written Michelle.

    It’s great to read that your family has found the right path to the faith you needed.

    Faith only becomes an obstacle when that is what we make of it. I built up my own wall, with the bricks of my self-centered ego, between me and living life with love and joy. I must admit there are still a few of those bricks left standing.

    I liked the very thoughful “Less Like Scars” and will look up some more of Sara Groves. Thanks for posting it.

    I don’t know how much character I have, but I have been known as a character by everyone who meets me. 🙂

    Great post, and lessons for all of us to learn.

  3. Pretty amazing writing Michelle, and those lyrics are pretty amazing too. It’s encouraging to see that you are able to see God’s work in your life now, testimonies like these strengthen my faith. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Both of these:

    The hand violently thrusted
    The vessel against the wall.
    Pieces scattering, flying far…

    Less like breakdown, more like surrender
    Less like haunting, more like remember

    …hit home.

  5. Thanks Y’all!

    It’s been a long row to hoe, but we’re making progress. These trials were overwhelming at the beginning, and it seemed we would never get our feet back on the ground. And in some ways we haven’t yet. We’re not through working it out…it will be years to reconcile all things…and then some things may never be the same. But we do know God and He is faithful. Forever faithful.

    Thanks again…every. one.

  6. A bit more time:

    I really like her, Laz. Thanks for posting this song for me to find! 😉

    Thank you, Grace. I hope He is shining through me. I know myself too well to know I’m not much to look at, unless He’s shining. He is the lifter of our heads…you know? Thank you for praying for me.

    Hey, Ed! I thought we were moving right along, following after God with all our might. Then an ugly part of us reared its head and God had to do some major surgery. But we’re all, once again, looking to Him for help and answers. He has been faithful to His promises. (If being known “as a character” you mean a classy gentleman, I do believe it! 😀 )

    Sara Groves has some great music, Rain, with amazing lyrics. I bet you’d love her. She speaks my heart. I’m glad to know your faith was strengthened by our story. It’s good to begin to be able to thank God for this tragedy.

    Yeah, Ric, that line “less like haunting, more like remember” hits me too. It’s good to get some perspective. When the shattering happened, I didn’t think we would be here after only four years. I expected a much longer road for recovery. And like I said earlier, we still have lots to work out. However, He’s been good to us. Severe, but good.

  7. Oh Michelle. I am SO glad to hear notes of relief in your voice. I know (without knowing) that the road has been SO HARD for you. In walking my own path, I know both the pain and the freedom that comes through the storm. Both are unmatched … and I would not trade the one for the other.

  8. It’s good to feel the relief, Annie. I know the pain is necessary to get the ‘cancer’ out, but it’s good to finally be able to breathe…a bit. Love you, Sparkle!

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