Black & Blue

Luke 22:31-32 (New Living Translation)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

Somewhere on the drive, who can be sure the mile marker or exit passing me by, I felt the presence of the Lord. Perhaps it was the quiet.

(I can’t seem to make my life quiet down)

But on the road, with only a sleeping toddler, my heart could hear.

How long will you lie there, your soul beaten black and blue?
Stand up! Stand up!
It’s time to get up, to remember who you are!

My unaccepting heart answering…

And who am I, again?

My daughter! You are my daughter!

With the roll and whirr of wheels I move. He moves me.

It comes like a vague childhood memory… Oh, that’s right! Powerful and fulfilled and certain! I do remember…

Contusions come from the hard pressing. Why? Why? WHY??

Living why-consumed cripples faith. Demanding an answer narrows vision.

Myopic living, really.

I guess it’s okay to want answers. To want to understand.  Where did I go wrong to end up here so black and blue?

Sometimes our seemingly insignificant, dishonoring choices lead to bigger choices and our lives fall apart.

And sometimes we are sifted.

The bottom falls out.  The walls close in.

We search the pages and search His heart.  We split ourselves open–down the middle–waiting for a diagnosis.  That thing we can fix. Yet in between pages and prayers we feel more break of bone. More shatter and ooze.

When the sifting is complete we’ll know something more of ourselves.  We’ll see the holding-on, the crossroads-choice, the toast-dry living as a tearing away and a building up.  We fell apart but did not separate.

Because nothing separates us from the love of God.

We find out that who we are is about whose we are. There is simply no way to remain if this isn’t true.  I’m His daughter. He blasts my heart with the truth of it…shouting me awake from a deep sleep.

The Message says this of verse 32:
Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.

I inhale the words Jesus spoke to Peter like a treatment for my constricted, wheezing heart.

Peter deeply loved Jesus yet under pressure denied even knowing Him.  Jesus, knowing this would happen, prayed for Peter.  Not that he wouldn’t mess up, but that he wouldn’t give in to the messing up.  That he wouldn’t give out from the pain.

I wonder if Peter’s greatest struggle, his greatest battle, was believing that he still belonged to Jesus. Shame will beat you black and blue. Disappointment will break your heart. Discouragement and depression will twist your thinking until all you can do is sputter and strain to hear Jesus over the disquiet that is your soul.

Do you relate?
Do you hurt black and blue?
Do you feel sifted so thin you wonder if you won’t just disappear?

May I encourage you?

Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.

You belong to Jesus.  You belong to Him.

Don’t give in…don’t give up.  


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