“. . . and turn, and I would heal them.” -John 12:40b (ESV)
Dear Sonya, remember being in school and having to take a test?
Would you please fill in the blanks?
A Creative Exercise for a Writer
It’s OK to be imaginative, like a creative writer.
August: Hi April. How are you? Just wanted to say Hi to you on your special month. It only comes around once a year . . . the month of April, I mean.
August: I’d love to hear from you, April. Please send me some words of yours.
August: I’d love to know what you think. Please, April . . . tell me what you think.
August: I’d love to hear the sound of your voice, April. Please say something, so I can listen to your voice.
August: I’d love to see your eyes looking at me, April. Please look at me, April.
August: April, what other song (s) do you like along with, “The Rose”?
August: April, if you don’t want to fill in the blanks, maybe this would be more agreeable to you: Dear Sonya, about 22 months ago I began to feel pain. First it was my right shoulder; then, my neck; and then it was abdominal pain. I’ve given some thought to all this pain and arrived at the conclusion: It’s a pain. Sometimes, I see the humor in all this pain. Did you ever hear someone say about the weather, “We’ll take it.”? [What else can we do, but “take it.” We just can’t stop the weather. And, I just can’t stop the pain; so, I take it. Think I read somewhere that suffering builds character. So, I guess there’s something valuable about suffering. So, I’ll take it.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:1-5 ESV.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” -Romans 5:6-11 ESV.
I still remember a greeting card you sent to me: “A Man is What the Wind and the Waves Have Made Him.” You didn’t tell me about the pain, though. Maybe you’re just so kind you didn’t want to tell me about the pain. Thank you for being so kind to me, Sonya. I love you, Sonya. Sonya, would you be so kind as to write to me? Maybe one of the reasons I’m feeling all these pains is because you don’t write to me. Maybe your silence is hurting me so much it’s making my body hurt.
Sonya, are you still so afraid to touch? You can hold my hand, Sonya. I’m so vulnerable, now, Sonya. If you held my hand, I imagine it would be so powerful an experience to me that I would need a hug too, to keep me together. Could you hug me, Sonya?
Don’t worry, Sonya, if you’re still so afraid to touch, the Lord himself will do whatever is needed. He helps the helpless, you know . . . And don’t worry, I’m listening to what you’re not saying . . . and there is so much to listen to there in the gospel and in all of His Scriptures and His Living Word and His Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Understanding the Helper the Comforter Whom He sends to those who believe in Him; Who leads us into all truth and will be with us forever.
And about being on a pilgrimage to self through source. By His Holy Spirit, we know better than to be fooled by that, don’t we?
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:23-27 ESV Study Bible.
So, we should not turn to self; we should turn to Him.
“So Jesus said to them, ’The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
‘Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom, has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’
“Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
‘He has blinded their eyes
And hardened their heart,
Lest they see with their eyes,
And understand with their heart, and turn,
And I would heal them.” -John 12:35-40 ESV Study Bible.
Turn Around Look at Me – The Vogues
“Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
“And Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” -John 12:41-50 ESV Study Bible.
Bette Midler – From A Distance – lyrics