I’ve been mesmerized by this word that keeps cropping up on me. In songs, in my readings, in my soul…FIERCE.
Fierce by definition (from several dictionaries) is as follows: 1) wild or menacing in appearance.2) violent in force and intensity. 3) aggressive in temperament. 4) menacingly wild, savage, or hostile;strong.
I have always been enraptured by this word. I have so wanted to be fierce, to be wild and strong and intense. I always wanted to be impenetrable, unhurtable because well… hurting is not something anyone willingly wants to go through. Yet, I’ve always managed to fall short of that. I’ve always managed to be the Lilly that is vulnerable, weak, and powerless in so many things.
But fierce is what God is. I have discovered in my twenty something years that have felt like fifty something that He is the one who can, who is impenetrable, unbreakable, strong, and He is willing and ready to help little me. Honestly, I have no idea why. I don’t see what a perfect God can possibly see and want in someone so broken and shattered that He’d go the extra mile to make sure I knew who it was that got me out of my pits, the conundrums of X,Y, and Z called my life.
All I know is that when there was no way, no possible way of getting myself out of whatever the bind was, and I got on my knees and said ‘that’s it, I’m done. I’ve lost. I’ve failed, everything is going to fall apart”, He was the one who made a way. And it was always such a way that I knew no other human force could create. The biggest example of this in my life is work. When I graduated with my BA in English Lit, I moved halfway across the country to start fresh. No job. No prospects. I just knew I needed to leave Florida and the only place I could go to was San Antonio to my grandma and some aunts and uncles.
Well here I was, three months in, still no job. Still no replies to the hundreds of applications I sent out. So what did I do? I gave up. I said ‘i guess I’m going crawling back home as a failure.’ And then it happened. Not two weeks later, I found a cool church. I took a few days off job applying and went to volunteer. I walked out having met the kids ministry director, offered a part-time job in pre-K and was hired in two weeks.
I didn’t go seeing a job. I didn’t even consider working in pre-k. But it’s been one of the best rewards, one of the most healing experiences of my life. I love my little peoples. They have such joy. They so love the little things. It’s so refreshing and beautiful to behold.
But I had to get to that point, the one that said “there is literally nothing I can do. There is really no more in my tank and the only thing that’s going to save me is NOT ME.” That is when God is at his best. That’s when his arm is long enough to reach. Well it’s always long enough, but if we’re not reaching out to grip it, He has nothing to take hold of to pull us up. When we are helpless, thats when we discover the power of God.
That is when we discover He is nothing like us. He is so extravagant in his love, his mercy, we are so undeserving in this thing called grace that it’s not human. He doesn’t think human. He doesn’t do human. He does extraordinary. He is the definition of what it is to care, to share, to love.But really, I think I tend to forget, He’s NOT actually human. He’s God and nothing my little inexperienced brain (or yours) can conceive will ever come close to understanding his reality, what love means in his dictionary.
But lets put this in human terms. If we as people, who are NOT by our very existence the definition of love, find that we can kill and destroy, ravage lands and crowns, go to war with each other no matter the cost, over a love, well… why can’t God?
Why can’t He act extravagantly or go to war for your soul to show how vastly you are adored, how deeply you are prized, how grandly you are gifted and purposed? Why can’t God, the inventor and actuator of love, pull a Menelaus and go to war for his Helen? Why is that such a foreign concept to me, to you, to us as homo-sapiens? I think part of that answer is that there is no other experience to compare God to, no one that comes close to how He operates (which is, most of the time, highly opposite to human nature).
From what I have experienced, definition 1 is dead on. His love is ‘wild or menacing in appearance’. Not in actuality. It’s hard to put into words, this feeling of raging love: a feeling of joy, awe, fear of what this is going on, of mattering so significantly when I feel so insignificant to a God I can’t come close to understanding- all at once.
When I’ve failed, have no strength or power or will of my own to help me out of this predicament, all is hopeless. Yet, God brings in hope amid despair, courage amid the fear. It’s unrealistic and yet so real that it has happened. More than once. To me and to many others.
I think of this wild love as a hurricane.As someone who grew up in south Florida home of the hurricane, pretty much yearly, well…summer storm takes on a whole new meaning. It’s one thing to look at TV footage of palm trees bending in the wind. It’s a whole other thing to be there in the thick of it, feeling the raging invisible winds push you back.
You feel the torrents going up and down, in circular motions, in fluctuating direction. You can’t see the wind, you can only see its effect. You see the trees bending, you feel the currents threatening to toss you aside. But when it comes to God, being rooted in him keeps you in place amid the wildness going on outside and all around you. You are firm in the hurricane because God’s love is Fierce and it roots us into the ground so we can be bent but not broken. It carries us. We just have to say yes and not let fear keep us from it.
So when the storm rages REMEMBER…