Awaken first love, come awake
And do as you did, at first
Spirit of the Living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow, to overflow
Awaken my soul, come awake
To worship with all your strength
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Another week fall afresh on me with a new understanding of who He is and what He is capable to do. Every year in October, there comes an annual commitment of where my heart is for Cambodia. A yearly checkpoint on the depth and width of His calling out to us to dig deeper and further into His treasure to break away the inertia. It is never about any huge gathering of people at an emotionally charged event that fuels our commitment. It is always when there is a quiet nudging from the Lord to be daily, weekly, monthly seeking His face and encountering His faithfulness that distinguishes all the others.
This year’s Ride has gathered up just enough momentum, not as much as what we saw in the past few years. Yet we shall never expect God to show up where we expected Him to be. That would be simply foolish act of manipulation. To be honest, I was boned tired last week just to think of what have been happening around the world. I didn’t have the drive to post anything or email anyone for donation. All I could summon myself up to do were to commit to ::
get up early on that Saturday morning,
get dressed warmly,
pack our water bottles and snacks,
make sure the children were wide awake and ready,
pump up the bike tires,
check and double check our bikes were securely fastened tightly at the back of our wagon;
drive an hour away and arrive safely to the Ride location.
As we drove along the highway, the weather didn’t look promising, at best, gloomy. Yet there is always the moment when you know you simply have to get out there and participate NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what the result is, no matter what the precipitation shows how windy and rainy it was going to be. We need to show up half awake-half asleep. Simply show up on time and meet the King wide awake.
The weather started with some serious drizzle at the beginning of the ride. Yet it was through the rain and the wind, it once again reflected our journey fighting this battle of child sex slavery. It is never an easy ride. Rain, wind, opposition and backslash are inevitable. Yet we are more committed than we started 5 years ago. I remember as I pushed Lilias in the stroller and 9km ahead of us, I looked down to my shoes, seeing my feet moving forward, one step at a time, pushing a 40+lb toddler in a stroller with the rain and the wind blurring my vision. There were many riders passed us by. Sometimes it does feel like we were falling back and not able to see what is ahead of us. Yet all I could think of is how sweet our Lord Jesus who has always been walking along with us, blessing us with His sweet mercy, fuelling our hearts with His Spirit (wind) propelling us forward.
The song captures what my heart is yearning for. For the Holy Spirit to fill up the cavern of my soul, to wake me from my sleep, pour in me to overflow, overflow with His strength and love and faithfulness when I at times no longer stay faithful. Eugene Peterson wrote,
“Faced with a thousand disconnected jigsaw puzzle pieces spread out on the table, you keep the picture propped before you. You know that if you just stay with it long enough, all those pieces will finally fit together and make a beautiful picture. But we [prone to] never stay with it long enough. Maybe we concluded that there had been some mistake in the packaging of the puzzle and many of the pieces had been accidentally left out.
As I am now going through this trough of inertia not knowing what is the next step. I am reminded by this great wisdom by Frederick Buechner,
Listen to your life. See if for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
Suddenly it dawns on me that practicing death by giving up our will to live on our own terms is the only way to live life. Karl Barth, quoting Nietzsche, pithily reminds me, “Only where graves are is there resurrection.” We practice our death by giving up our will to live on our terms. Only in that relinquishment or renunciation are we able to practice resurrection.
Between these two signposts of waiting for the Spirit to fall on me afresh and practising resurrection while living, I stand and wait. As I am praying through Psalm 108 longing for the wakeful moment, using it to speak to my life, as Scriptures so often does, it soon takes over, and I find it is using me.
“Awake, O harp and lyre and I will awake the dawn”
… Am I awake?
… Truly awake?
… I have my eyes open now.
… I am pondering and writing out my thoughts.
… But am I God-awake?
… Is my soul awake?