“I tried to be a hero for a day, but all my superpowers failed to save. So I turned in my ego and my cape. I was made to fly, but not this way. It all starts with breathing You in; breathing You in deeply. I’ve been drowning under my skin. No one but You can save me. My weakness is my honor, not my shame. Leaning is my portion, not my pain. I was frantic til you changed the pace. You won’t give me more than I can take.”(1)
Frustrated by a disconnect and straining my neck to see; I read the words, “Oftentimes, I’m so wrapped up in asking Him to be my Provider, I fail to see Him as my God and my Deliverer.”(2)
Ah. Yes. This rings true between my ears. My Deliverer. I scrawl Jehovah Mephalti on my hand. Ink bleeding into skin. Words bleeding into heart. Don’t forget. Don’t forget you have been delivered. Before you ask for more, look at what you’ve been given. Your hands overflow with grace abundant. “From His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.” (3) Grace upon grace; heaped on your soul, dripping from the strands of your hair, gliding over your skin. You have been saved! Delivered from the bondage that once held you to the fire.
A flash in my mind reminds me of where pride took me. The fall that ego brings us all. Humility is counter culture. We are told on every page, post, and proclamation that we are constantly deserving of more and that our worth is proven in what we achieve and acquire. The voices say that to gain all that the world owes us we are to believe in ourselves wholly; do more, slay the day, be strong, show the world your greatness. The human striving that leaves us fatigued and empty. A lie that gripped my heart; I recognize it now on faces I love. I whisper their names in a prayer. I write on journal pages how I wish to see the light in their eyes. So quickly I forget that my name was offered up too. A thousand prayers by those that loved me here. And there, right next to me, a Savior that never left. Waiting for me to breathe Him in; call out His name.
Jehovah Mephalti. The words leave my lips. And I wince at how I’ve forgotten. Conviction is an ax and it cuts the ropes. I fall on my knees and finally see clear. Sweet forgiveness rains down. But a dark voice hisses failure. “My weakness is my honor, not my shame.”, I sing back. No shame. I am weak. I am human. And in that brokenness I have the honor of leaning in, relying on strength that is not my own.
His power made perfect in my weakness. Deliverance. I remember now. Here I have been calling out, “When? More! Hello? Now! Please!”
And patiently He has held out a hand. Kind eyes saying, “I already have. It is enough. I’m here. My timing is perfect. I hear you.” The most gracious love wrapping arms around my writhing childlike tantrum.
In my pleading for provision, I have forgotten deliverance. I have already been provided for… my portion has been given to overflowing. Who am I to stomp my feet?
I recall the words on a page speaking of humility – gratitude – joy… “eucharisteo always proceeds the miracle”(4) If my joy is lost it is not because I am lacking in provision. I have forgotten gratitude. Pride does that. It paints over a thankful heart with thick onyx.
“‘Humility is shy’, writes Tim Keller. If I focus on humility, I look inward to see if I’m sufficiently humble, and in the very act, humility darts and I’m proud, self-focused. It doesn’t work. But what humbles like an extravagant gift? And hadn’t I felt that joy of small, child-wonder when I paused to give thanks? The quiet song of gratitude, eucharisteo, lures humility out of the shadows because to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and he will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give.”(5)
Is there any gift more extravagant than life saving deliverance? Deliverance that melts the frozen wall of pride. Humility dripping, pooling, and flowing… until it becomes a rush of gratitude rolling over stones. A forest wakes. Deep joy springs up as tender green shoots and soft moss.
This is not a permanent state. I will forget again. Winter will freeze my heart. And that is where the remembering must come. That is why this life is the daily action of prayer and praise. We are never done. We are never perfect. “I need Thee. Oh, I need Thee! Ev’ry hour I need Thee.”(6). I’m going to get it wrong- again and again. But I have redemption.
I write the words again. Dark ink pressing hard into my hand where the daily washing away had blurred the lines. Clearly, once again the letters speak.
Jehovah Mephalti: The Lord, my Deliverer.
(1)lyrics from “Save Me”, Steffany Gretzinger
(2)Exodus devotional, She Reads Truth Bible
(3)John 1:16, ESV
(4)One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
(5)One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
(6)lyric from “I Need Thee Every Hour”, words by Annie Hawks