Repairer of Broken Walls

tgrs002

Throughout the land of Israel and its neighbour Jordan, I saw many broken walls. It was the first time I had seen so many. Some are remnants of war; others are simply the result of decades and centuries of neglect; still others are testaments to a past that cannot be completely destroyed. The outward image perceived reflects an inner life of so many untold stories of devastation, pain, survival, and hope.

The picture of broken walls seems to me one of mourning the loss of security, refuge. My mind and heart fills with pictures of shanty towns and lean-tos desperately constructed with hope of creating a place to call home in a place where “home” – a dwelling in which I belong, filled with safety and peace – is almost completely foreign. How can this be reality for so much of the world? My heart cannot comprehend.

When I pull back the piece of cloth draped across the doorway in my mind’s eye, I am greeted by families with beautiful faces and hearts in need of love just like mine. I don’t know their stories, but oh how I wish I did. How I wish I could tell each family in pain and need that Jesus is in love with them and that He is close. How I wish I knew how to “visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world” (James 1:27 AMP) so that my thoughts never returned to my selfishness but instead always turned to “Jesus, how can I show Your love today?” How I wish I could repair all the broken walls of the world so that I may provide just a small glimpse into the redemptive and restorative heart of God.

Tears come easily when I remember with deep thankfulness that He knows their names, their every thought, their tears, their pain, and He is at work to bring His Kingdom here.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Isaiah 58:6-12 NIV

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Broken

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I just read the news headlines of today. 300 missing. Mauled to death. Hit by car. Victims’ families and friends shattered. Schoolgirls still missing. Warplanes targeted and destroyed several vehicles trying to cross the border.

My heart is breaking, splintering. So many tears. And I can’t fathom the searing pain felt by those close.

Comfort feels hard to find. Lament comes easily. Jesus wept. And He does again and again at the pain suffered each moment in our world, His world. I am thankful to be able to let Him sit with me as tears stream down my face.

The apostle Matthew wrote of Jesus’ familial heritage, the people into whom God Almighty wove His redemption story. And what humbles me is this:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.
Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam…
Matthew 1:2-7 NLT

Tamar mischievously prostituted herself for revenge (Genesis 38). Rahab was also a mischievous prostitute whom God used to advance His Kingdom (Joshua 2). Ruth was a faithful foreigner whom the Lord redeemed (Ruth 1-4). Bathsheba was the silent object of David’s covetousness and sin (2 Samuel 11-12). These loved-by-God women, broken in each her own way, were part of the physical blood makeup of our Saviour. He carried their brokenness inside of Himself with each step He took.

When I see and understand such mess so humbly-borne, I am brought to my knees in thankfulness to our God who loves through brokenness — because of brokenness.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread and, praising God,
gave thanks and asked Him to bless it to their use, and when He had broken it,
He gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is My body.

Matthew 26:26 AMP

This weekend, we celebrate how Jesus Messiah would choose to be broken so that we could be whole again. He would bear in Himself the weight of the brokenness that His family, His people, and we could not and cannot carry. And today He stands victoriously ready to take upon Himself our continued brokenness because He knows we desperately need our Redeemer to do it. And I am so eternally grateful.

Growth

[from shariklassenphotography.ca]

Dear friends,

I have decided to take an indefinite hiatus from professional photography while I take time to grow in other areas of my life.

I want to thank each of you for your overwhelming encouragement through my photographic journeys over these past 2 years. I have been blessed to be a part of capturing some of the memories of your lives!

I will continue to spend each day noticing the intricate beauty and uniqueness in the people and the world God created and sharing what I notice with others whenever I can. Wherever my photography takes me in the future, it is my hope that you have been blessed by seeing the beauty and joy of your lives through my eyes!

~ Shari

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