Thursday, November 2, 2017

Deliverance will Come


It's week 9 with Jayber and his fellow Port William dwellers, as we study along with Michele Morin for the lively discussion about Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry, that she is leading at her site, 
 Living Our Days.
Have you been part of an online book study? I am reminded of my Literature Classes, and feel thrust back in time as I prepare what feels like my "Book Report" here on this blog.



But did I ever let those books, so long ago, touch my heart in the way that God is moving me as I read these days?



As life moved along, and history affected the day-to-day of each person, Jayber found himself having to face the grief and pain of those around him more than he might have wished. When the Grandson of one of his cherished friends, the son of the woman he secretly loved, was killed in the Vietnam war, Jayber, the grave digger, found himself no longer just an observer:

"I dug the grave. I waited while the pallbearers—Jimmy’s friends, unbelievably young—bore the flag-covered coffin to the grave and the mourners gathered. When they had assembled, instead of standing well out of the way as I usually did, I took off my hat and stepped in under the edge of the tent."

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 293). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.  



As hard as Jayber tried to distance himself from the deep grief that he thought he had no right to feel, he indeed was swallowed by "grief and bewilderment." 


I find myself swallowed in those same pains as I look at the hurting in this world, and when I am honest, at my own wretched state some days.


Jayber tried to sort out his bewilderment, but expressed words that I have heard spoken today in these times filled with a chaos so similar:



"In any moment when I was quiet, tenderness and madness would come upon me and contend to no purpose, to the making of no sense. I could hardly bear to read the newspaper, which filled me with disloyalty and unbelief."

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 294). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.
 


Even as Jayber tried to surrender his questions to God, he found himself asking the age-old question:  Where was God in the suffering--in himself, and especially in the poor and despised of this world? Jayber came to a conclusion that I find myself drifting to on many stormy and pain-filled days:


 "We are too tightly tangled together to be able to separate ourselves from one another either by good or by evil. We all are involved in all and any good, and in all and any evil. For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless. It is why God grieves and Christ’s wounds still are bleeding."

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (pp. 295-296). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition.





But was there something that he missed? I longed for the next pages to answer that question for Jayber. But his only relief was to find the mercy of time moving forward. 


A bursting in my soul sought to find expression as I examined my own grief, pain, and ugliness. 
Was there more for me?


  

 Broken To Deliverance

 

Longing to be restored I

Cry out

Feeling cut-off and rejected I

Cry out



Ugliness is what I feel

As I look back

Over

Years that led me here



Generations passed down these

Traits

I carry the markers for

Disease



But don’t we all carry

Aren’t we all children

Sin

Trailing behind our days



Burdens we bear together

Shifted

Agonies we passed on

Stunted



And out of the darkness a voice speaks

Listen to Me you who seek after other

Healers

Unable to carry the burdens

You yourselves go off into captivity



I am the Lord your God Your only Life

I have made

And I will carry

Even to your hoary head



---------------



There is no healing apart from You

My Lord

There is no freedom from chains except

My Lord



Without the blood that was poured

Without the blood on the doorpost

The destroyer continues

His work of shame and despair



But under your blood I am released

The curse cannot be passed down

There is beauty here for me

There is Life to be tasted by all



I come into Your Deliverance
--BG






















 "God will pass through to strike Egypt down. When he sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, God will pass over the doorway; he won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin."
Exodus 12:23 MSG 



“Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden.The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. ‘Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’”
Isaiah 46:1-4 
 



There is a rescue deeper than our grief, 
deeper than our pain, 
deeper than any ugliness


Jesus suffered for our release
and for our deliverance.


When the world
and our own thoughts
try to say the suffering 
will never end,


I pray that we will hear
His voice calling
"I will sustain you
and 
I will rescue you."











You can find a copy of Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry by clicking here.







 

16 comments:

  1. "For any sin, we all suffer." I appreciate your reflections on this Bettie! It's a joy reading your comments at Michele's place and here. Thank you for the further insight and bringing it to praise- we do know our deliverer!

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    1. Dear Bethany,
      I have appreciated your comments at Michele's site too! Isn't the discussion that she leads us into full of such great conversation? I am so thankful that our deliverer has come, and is ready to meet with each one of us. Thanks for stopping by here! Blessings to you!

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  2. Great reflections, Bettie. Thank you so much.

    God bless you always.

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    1. Thank you dear brother! May God bless you richly!

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  3. You have such a gift, Bettie, for putting your finger on the pulse of Jayber's emotional state. This must be something that God has given, and I can imagine that it manifests itself in your face to face dealings with real hearts with real hurts. One of the huge impressions that reading Jayber Crow has left me with is this tangling of individual situations with the web of community. This goes against the grain of this introvert, but God is using even this to chip away at my rough edges.

    Thanks, Bettie, for your voice in this discussion!

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    1. Dear Michele,
      Thank you so much for sharing your great ability to lead these discussions, Michele! We each have so many different perspectives that we bring to the table, and yet God is the One who would unravel all of those tangled webs, and bring a true binding together by His Spirit! I am so grateful that He has offered us such grace, as He does indeed chip away at all our rough edges! May I continue to let Him open my heart. Blessings and Love to you!

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  4. Beautiful words Bettie. I love the poignancy of Isaiah's words. He suffered in such a hard (and seemingly unfruitful) ministry but behold the legacy left! We have such words from God's heart.
    I am reflecting too this morning on God's forgiveness and how it is meant to complete my shortcomings as I 'believe in him who justifies the ungodly' my faith 'counted as righteousness'. "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the LORD will not count his sin." Amen?! Thanks Bettie ( :

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    1. Dear Linda, Oh, yes, what an incredible legacy Isaiah left for us who would yearn after God's own heart! And truly, I do not feel that we have begun to understand the depth of transforming that is begun in our hearts when we have found forgiveness. We are so blessed! I love your thought that our shortcomings are completed as we believe in Him who justifies us. Amazing Grace indeed! Blessings and Love to you!

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  5. Dear Bettie,
    I really love reading what you glean from your Jayber Crow reading. (I still need to get back to reading it.) You really bring out deep truths. I love your poems! We are all broken in some way, but God takes those broken pieces and puts them together to mold us into the people he wants us to be. He strengthens and sustains us and gives us peace. He brings deliverance! Thanks so much for always sharing your heart and encouraging and inspiring me. Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      I am so glad that you found encouragement and inspiration here, my friend! What a sweet gift that we could share back & forth in that way, as our poems touch each other. It is another way that He brings His strength and sustaining power to us, isn't it? I do think you would also be blessed by Jayber, as he brings in the beauty of nature so much also. May you have a Blessed Weekend, my friend! Love & Hugs! xoxo

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  6. I love your reflections of Jayber, Bettie, and the deep insights into our own hearts through it. It's such an comforting truth that we are released under Jesus' blood. The song is so hope-filled, too. Thank you. Have a blessed weekend! Hugs!

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    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh, I'm glad that you were blessed by that song, too! It is so filled with Hope. I am grateful that our Lord brings us such insight as we read, or listen to music, or even walk outside in His creation. He releases under Jesus' blood, and we find such transformation there! May you have a Blessed weekend also, my friend! Hugs & Love! xo

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  7. Wow, it never ceases to amaze me what gems you glean each week in the reading of this book! It's been eye opening and illuminating to read your responses. It's also served to whet my appetite to read 'Jayber Crow' for myself! I love your heartfelt poem and the way it moves from lament to faith, to hope and reassurance. Isaiah has long been a favourite part of Scripture for me and I find great encouragement in it, especially in these words you have shared:
    "I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
    So often we just need to let ourselves be held. To be carried in arms much stronger than any other. To rest our weary head upon God's shoulders, knowing that close intimacy is what we need and what He desires to give us as our Abba Father.
    I've been greatly blessed and encouraged by these reflections. Thank you, Bettie! Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh I am so blessed that you are finding these responses to the book study to be a blessing. I am still learning so much in this blogging world about how to share my heart! I love the thought that you brought out from the Isaiah passage. I have always focused so much on the rescuing and the sustaining, that I did not even think that carrying is another way of being held, so intimately. This is such a blessing to me in this current season, my friend! The passage has a long history with me, so to find even more fulfillment here is a deep blessing. I appreciate your encouragement so much! What a gift that God brings as we share with each other. Blessings, love and hugs to you too, my friend! xoxo

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  8. Oh, your writing is so beautiful, dear friend! I feel so refreshed in spirit after visiting with you...so edifying to my soul! And, the song is just wonderful. No longer a slave to fear...I am a child of God. YES! So beautiful...thank you so much for sharing. :) Sending much love to you.

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    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you for your gracious words--I am so blessed the Lord brought sweet encouragement to you today! We so need to be reminded in these dark days that our Lord has purchased our freedom, and brought us into that place of adoption, don't we? The world tears at us, and tries to cover us with that fear, but I am so glad that He never leaves us! Much Love and hugs to you also!

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