There is a verse from the Book of Luke which has been running through my mind for months now. It’s found in the sixth chapter. Jesus has called his disciples and healed a multitude. He then began teaching his disciples, sharing teachings that are difficult for the best of us to observe… things like “love your enemies” and “be ye therefore merciful” and “judge not, and ye shall not be judged… forgive and ye shall be forgiven.”
And then comes this little verse stuck in there after all the counsel:
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38, KJV)
These are the words that I can’t get out of my head. Good measure. Pressed down. Shaken together. Running over. They’re always marching with imagery and feeling that really grabs me. And while I’ve been working on being more forgiving, less judgmental, and more merciful (with some success I feel good about), the words have taken on sort of a life of their own in my heart.
I feel like they describe my life.
In the book of Malachi we read about the law of tithing, where the Lord promises a blessing to those who pay it. He says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)
Great images here as well. The windows of heaven open, blessings being poured out, not enough room to receive them.
I guess I feel like the recipient of open windows right now, and the blessing being poured out in such abundance that there isn’t room to receive it is simply this: life. Experience. And although my efforts to give are so small and halting, life’s experiences seem to be tumbling down upon me, the good and the bad, but they’re coming with “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” Truly, God seems to be sending more to teach me and try me and touch my heart at a rate that leaves me breathless and exhausted. There is just so much of LIFE being lived in our house right now. I realize it’s partly a result of numbers, but it’s taken on a quality even more intense in recent days, weeks and months.
This feeling represents a paradigm shift of sorts. I have wondered sometimes about the windows of heaven, about blessings so tremendous we can’t fully absorb them. I can imagine all kinds of blessings I’d love to receive even in small doses, and there are other matters about which I have wearied the Lord for years.
The other day under our cherry tree, as I was laughing to myself about our cherries, I was also pondering my husband’s recent injury, the new violin I need to purchase, repairs that need to be made, and things that will now be delayed for health reasons. I looked up at that tree and recognized that we had more cherries than we knew what to do with, which reminded me of the windows of heaven. I laughed as I thought of all the forms I’d like our blessings to come in, yet there we were. It was raining cherries. So I smiled and opened my heart up wide to receive so great a blessing.
I’m learning some good things. I’m learning how to plant my feet on solid rock and open my arms up wide to what is ahead of me. Firm at the feet and open at the arms. I want to live that way.
Tonight I feel like I get it. It’s raining life at my house. I’m trying to leave the umbrella in the closet and look up at the rain. Surely the Lord knows he’s overwhelming me, which perhaps means I’ll be forgiven for missing some parts of the downpour while I’m learning to smile at others. We can’t watch every raindrop’s race down the window but we can do our best to benefit from the moisture. The rain feeds our flowers as well as our weeds and I’m doing my best. It’s coming faster than I can process, faster than I can write about it, faster, almost, than I can feel. Yet having relief and disappointment so close together, the blessings and the trials linking arms, gives me the feeling that it’s all being tumbled together for our good. That’s what I mean by pressed down and shaken together and running over.
And so my heart is running over too. Running over with countless different feelings which, when pressed down and shaken together, take on the form of gratitude.
And it’s still raining. How blessed I am!