Kara’s Collection: Radiant Living

from an article posted June 25, 2014...

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man [Kara] cried,
and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
— Psalm 34:4

I imagine you look upon my story and think I am anything but saved from troubles. Look closer. I absolutely have been rescued. Beautifully rescued and restored in a way that is unmistakable. My story has been written, the conclusion is sure—as sure as it is for you? But my life is kept, beautifully kept in heaven. Sure I fear, I struggle when my family has to look upon my deep pain and suffering. But I do not suffer without hope. No, I get to reflect the radiant grace that consumes my going to Jesus. I get to lift my face without fear—I know where these hard steps lead me. I know exactly where they lead. It doesn’t mean the walking isn’t painful; no, they hurt, but they are not without meaning.

The radiance in this walk I have been trusted with is the reflection of Jesus meeting me in my fear. It is Jesus meeting me as each new hard comes. Some moments are suffocating, but breathing still happens. Some moments I look upon the faces of my little people and wonder, How can this be the good story? Aren’t I the best answer? But why would their good story be free from hard, when beauty is born in pain? No—they get to learn dependence and leaning deeply on Jesus right next to me. Won’t you pray that we shepherd them well in gentleness and truth?

I get to nurture and love these people as long as I have breath to breathe. That does not mean keeping them from all that is hard. Sure, we do protect them from the worst, but we have prayed to be led clearly as we walk this with our people.

We so often equate goodness with the absence of hard. That’s the American lie. But in the place we find ourselves broken and needy, we run to our Father in Heaven desperate for his love and grace. And we are met, beautifully met and loved in that place. How can that be bad? Needy is not a mistake.

Where do you find yourself broken and needy today? Don’t you see that is the edge of existence that causes you to ask the bigger questions of life? Comfort is often the place that leads us to self-sufficiency. But this brokenness—this pain—pushes me to a desperate dependence to see grace in each breath. This new hard lifts my face in a way my health would not. And in that lifting my face to Jesus for sustaining, I reflect his radiance. The same is true for all my people. Do not feel sorry for us, we are kept. We are loved, and we know the gift of today. Do you?