Jitter to Glitter: Revival and the slow burn
My first official rock concert experience happened when I was 13 or 14. I say official because I’m not counting the Elvis impersonator who performed at the county fair when I was a preteen. (He was good — leather pantsuits and sweaty scarves and all!) My first official concert was a Christian one, and though Carman’s music was reminiscent of those “Monster Ballads of Rock” hits we all loved back then (and still do, of course!), his concerts had a very different message. In fact, at my second official rock concert — also Carman — I emerged feeling completely and radically saved. Boy was I blessed with awesome youth group leaders!
Until today I’d forgotten those songs and cassette tapes, buried deep in a cardboard box in the basement. But when I was considering today’s Jitter to Glitter conversation, one particular song popped into my head. It was one of my favorites back then — 1987 — I looked it up!
Please listen … ponder the words … and then we’ll talk!
Now … picture a blazing campfire. Suddenly a downpour drenches it and you. Flames die, sparks fade and smoke slowly rises into the mist. Smoke signals usually mean distress. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m angry and smoke is steaming from my ears … or I’m frustrated and muttering words that sting and burn … I’m sending my own kind of smoke signal. It’s usually to the people I love most of all and yeah, it’s very distressing.
Love — where is your fire?
It’s the question I asked in my previous post. C’mon Love, where is it? Where is that passionate spark, that blazing flame that burns bright for the world to see. Do you know or is it smoldering in fragile disarray?
The world urges us to to consume as much as possible so we burn brighter than everyone else. In doing so, we rob ourselves and those around us of the best we have to offer. Oh sure, we flare up in a hot blaze every now and again, but quickly die out. We’re searching, you see, for a slow, steady burn that isn’t easily extinguished by every passing breeze.
How do we keep the fire alive?
Speaking from experience, it can’t be accomplished by watching three hours of a Love It Or List It marathon on HGTV in pajamas on a Sunday afternoon. Oh, it’ll help. It will turn your brain off, sure — unless you’re like me and feel prompted to grab a sledgehammer and knock out a wall. (Do not do that!) The thing about mentally checking out for a bit is that problems are magnified when we finally resurface.
We must determine to stop the loathsome coveting … the gruesome idolatry that plagues our modern-day, do-or-die culture and be content with what is before us. Want is everywhere, draining our resolve and robbing us of joy. Don’t believe me? You need only turn on your television. During the Christmas season my living room was interrupted by a department store commercial exclaiming, “This is the season for GETTING!” It was loudly contradicted by an indignant six-year-old who literally yelled back at the TV, “NO IT’S NOT! It’s the season for GIVING! Mommy, did you hear what they said? We should turn it off!”
… and a little child shall lead them.
“That gentle voice from Heaven we cease to hear and know … ” — Revive us, O Lord.
This seems a heavy topic to start off the week. It is … but it’s on my heart and I feel compelled to share it with you. Every day is a battle between good and evil … a test between our wants for things, and the contented joy that comes from faith in God.
Happiness is an ideal we seek … but it’s all just jittery emotion.
What we’re searching for is the very real glitter of joy.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” ~ I Peter 1:8
Tomorrow … before you dress for work or prepare breakfast for hungry children or feed furry animals or run errands around town — say five simple words:
Fill me with joy.
And I know …
No matter what it is that quenches your spirit or puts out your flame every other day … you will feel the peace that passes all understanding. Your circumstances may still be terrible, awful or horrific. There will still be pain and suffering and sorrow. Happiness will always elude us all. But there is joy.
Not happiness, perhaps. But always joy.
Hear our cry. Revive us, O Lord!
Have a joy-filled week my friends. May your jitters subside and your glitter sparkle with brilliance.