I often hear three voices echo through the walls of my house and in the confines of my cranium: Corrie ten Boom, Elisabeth Eliot, and Amy Carmichael. This week, Corrie’s words have been coaching and coaxing me.
Corrie ten Boom, best known for her book The Hiding Place, experienced the anguish of Nazi Germany and lost her beloved father and older sister Betsy to the concentration camps. God sovereignly allowed her to survive, and she spent the rest of her years as a self-proclaimed “tramp for the Lord,” going wherever He would send her to speak of the faithfulness and incredible forgiveness of God.
In her daily devotional book Each New Day, she wrote the following thought that continually reminds me to look for God’s provision and presence even in the darkest dungeons of human experience and suffering.
“Once, while we were on a roll call, a cruel guard kept us standing for a long, long time. Suddenly, a skylark began to sing in the sky, and all the prisoners looked up to listen to that bird’s song. As I looked at the bird, I saw the sky and thought of Psalms 103:11. O love of God, how deep and great; far deeper than man’s deepest hate. God sent that skylark daily for three weeks, exactly during roll call, to turn our eyes away from the cruelty of man to the oceans of His love.”
“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:11.”
On a national front, my heart has been weighted. El Paso. Dayton. Refugee crisis at the border.
On a local front, my heart has been weighted. Church demands and decisions. Friends who are trudging through the swamps of aggressive childhood cancer. Another dear friend who, though a brilliant and qualified scientists, has been out of work for over a year and just found out that she did not receive the potential offer she has been waiting on for months.
On the home front, my heart has been weighted. Seeing how much I have allowed consumerism and comfort to steer my parenting. Separating sibling squabbles well into the summer. Feeling powerless to help my husband navigate work situations.
On the heart front, my heart has been weighted. Realizing how deeply entrenched my desire for instant gratification truly is. Wrestling against the leviathan of discontentment and self-pity, even though I know that the aforementioned three fronts should put self in its rightful place.
Weights pull downward, hunching me over, leaving me staring at my navel or the dusty earthy reality around me. When I am looking down at self or around at others or circumstances, I cannot see the providential larks that a loving God has purposefully placed to point me to the vastness of His love.
Today, I am asking the Lord to make me more like Corrie who found the little messengers of hope sent from the Lord, even in the most cruel circumstances imaginable.
I am asking the Lord to send little larks that lift the eyes of my struggling friends.
For on the Cross, there was no lark for the Lord. He experienced all the pent-up anguish and wrath of God against sin and all its devastating, spiraling effects. Yet, He still entrusted Himself to the Father who turned away His face, knowing that there was no darkness that His dad would not illuminate in His time.
He died lark-less that we could live lives anchored in hope, looking for reminders that He will come again in glory to finally eradicate evil and repair all brands of brokenness.
Jesus, may we look for the larks today. May we be anchored in Your Word in the midst of gathering cultural and personal storms, until the day when there is no need for larks for we will be face-to-face, fully in the presence of our Lord. Amen.