Except

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My soul finds rest in God alone,
except,
of course,
when it doesn’t.

My soul finds rest in God alone,
except
when I react based on the primal fear of the moment,
running around like a startled rabbit,
zigging and zagging to escape,
moving too fast to find the safe, warm place that waits to shelter my frantic body
and quiet my ragged breathing.

My soul finds rest in God alone,
except
when — “Excuse me, I’ll be back,
I need to run this past my people first.
I mean, this is a big decision, it’s been keeping me up nights,
and I totally want to know what you, the God of the Universe,
who made me and knows me better than I know myself,
think about this, and what you recommend I should do,
but hang on just a second,
I need to make a quick phone call first.
One sec.”

My soul finds rest in God alone,
except
when it seems too simple.
“Prayer. That’s nice, that’s warm and fuzzy,
but we’ve got to do something here!
There is not a minute to lose! This is a call to action!
I want to see movement, I want to see progress,
I expect a flurry of activity here!
You’ve heard, ‘Never let them see you sweat?’
Well, never let them see you pray!
You might as well just wear a sign:  weak.
Weakness won’t win wars, people!  Let’s go!”

My soul finds rest in God alone,
except
when I put my own, hand-wrought, artificial limits on grace.
“Yes, God has provided for me in the past.
I could tell you personal anecdotes that would warm your heart and fill you with hope.
We could look in the Bible and find scores of stories
of the unmerited, abundant grace of God.
But there is bound to be a bottom to this well and I’m sure I’m about to hit it.
No way something this good will last, will always be there for me.
That just can’t be how this works.”

~~~~~

The wandering son, once he awakened to his predicament,
sat for a while among the swine,
gathering his scattered parts to himself once again,
shaking the haze from his mind,
attempting to think.

He traveled the length and breadth of his life,
searching for clues as to how he got to the present moment,
looking for steps that might be retraced to home and wholeness.

His questing mind recalled his father,
and the abundant embraces of childhood.
Gazing at that flickering warmth,
remembering that spark of love,
he mumbled his hopes to the universe
through dry, cracked lips . . .

but immediately,
doubt,
fear,
self-recrimination,
except.

“He might have welcomed me home again
back in the beginning,
except
now too much time has passed,
too much damage has been done.
I have strayed too far for too long,
destroyed everything he so willingly gave me.
I have reduced myself to nothing,
and surely there is something or someone else
now filling the space in his heart
where his love for me, his son, once resided.
There is no redeeming this.
I am beyond acceptance.
I am lost.”

The story does not end there,
however,
with a shell of a man
sitting in filth,
despairing.

No.

The story does not end
until the son is held, cherished,
renewed, redeemed.

The wanderer is rejoiced over,
given more than is needed,
brought from the brink of death
back into the full circle of life.

~~~~~

My soul finds rest,
my soul finds love,
my soul finds home
in God alone.

No
exceptions.


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