Once again I’m struck by my inability to express in words something I’ve seen, felt, touched or heard. On a 747 at 47,000 feet, somewhere over the rainbow between Los Angeles and Sydney Australia, I’m hoping to describe a few men’s experience of the Boot Camp we just finished.
I know it’s easy to be cynical reading glowing reports from the field of lives changed, dramatic conversions and profound miraculous works of God. In years past I’ve been on “Missions” that barely resemble the written accounts/reports following them. Read enough of them and you wonder, who doesn’t make those claims as their “come on” for fund raising, validation or ego stroking…
Heck I’ll admit it...I will, at times, use a little hyperbole here and there… adding a little “color”, but in this case I’m really trying to be true/accurate.
In my initial attempt to write out some of the stories shared with me my words seemed abridged, deficient…”off”. My word pictures seem like a chalk drawing on a sidewalk… or like my 4 year old granddaughter’s crayon portrait of the family – though beautiful in expressing her heart, and a memory to frame for the office or file in the grand children’s artwork 2008 banker’s box, it doesn’t really resemble the family…. I’m not that thin, Lori is much cuter and our Labrador Retriever, Sonoma, is a dog with 4 legs not a spider with seven…
Men cried grasping for their own unreachable words to describe what God did for/in/with them. Smiles unseen for decades surfaced/returned; hearts lost were now found, ears heard God for the first time - Imagine a 70 year old man for the first time facing the defining wound of his life… and hearing his Heavenly Father say, “Good on you son, I am proud of you” (an Aussie phrase). A band of prodigals found their way home, a clique of Pharisees delivered. Gratefulness and appreciation for our coming and offering was almost to the point of embarrassment. So many used the phrase “for the first time” as a preface to their story of the weekend. Hearts hard softened, young boys posing as older man grew up in some unseen region of their soul… the wolf hidden as a sheep was exposed, horrifically godless systemic agreements with the Liar exposed and expunged…. faith birthed/renewed. For many hope returned (for themselves, their marriages or families), for others some important/timely/foundational questions – prerequisites for a walk with God were faced honestly… (it’s at this point I fall asleep for a 5 hour segment of the 13 hour flight whispering to God, “How do I say all this… what words can capture your majesty among us?).
Waking… sort of, I coincidentally… sort of, come across a thought of Augustine as he ends an attempt to describe the inexplicable virtues and supremacy of God by saying,
"What can a man say about you my God, my life, my holy joy? Woe to him that that does not speak, and the mute are the most eloquent."
While I had to try and find the words to describe all God did, I’m more eloquent in my stunned holy silence. In His presence I am mute.