"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Putting the Pieces Back Together: Jesus and The Well

posted by Susan Dominikovich on ,

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"Throughout our messes, I believe a patient and loving Saviour 
waits for us with one message:  
You're standing by a hole in the ground.  
But now you're talking to the Well."

Mark Hall , from The Well

I mentioned in a previous post that when my cup was smashed and I faced a storm, I first had to find Gratitude.  It was a logical first step for cup-mending.  I needed to pick up the pieces of my cup before I could put them back together, let alone attempt to fill it again.  Gratitude led me to Jesus.

If you know my husband you will know two things about him.  The first is that he loves Christian books.  He reads them, contemplates them, keeps me up late at night discussing their ideas and tenants, and then he probably reads them again.  The second is that he loves Casting Crowns.  I am pretty sure he has every album and he definitely never tires of their sound, whether listening in his car, at home or on his mp3 player, but more significantly the lyrics of their songs speak his language.  Paul reckons that if he could meet Mark Hall, they would connect instantly.  He gets Mark Hall.  He just gets him.  And I am certain Mark Hall would get Paul.  So I do have a soft spot for the singer too.

As you can probably guess, Paul's love of Christian books and his passion for Casting Crowns made Christmas shopping last year extremely easy.  Mark Hall has written a Christian book called The Well.  It just doesn't get any more obvious than that.  So a very happy husband on Christmas morning gave me a kiss and a "thank you so much" and then a "I think you should read this."

Pardon me?

If you know me you will know two things about me.  The first is, while I appreciate Christian books, I seldom read them.  I get keen and start one but by half-way through, I find myself getting annoyed that the writer is really just repeating themselves and worse, filling the book with fluff.  I am not a huge fan of fluff.  So generally I stear clear.  Confession number two:  while I appreciate Christian bands and the genre of Christian music, I am not a huge fan. (Note:  I make a distinction between Christian music and worship:  I love worship and will listen to songs that glorify Jesus' name through their lyrics and sound endlessly. It lifts my soul.)  So while I appreciate the music of Casting Crowns and while I appreciate that Mark Hall wrote a book, I had no intention of reading it.  

Christmas day 2012 was not a day of good cheer and joyfulness for me.  I was very sad.  I was down.  I was confused.  I was a little lost.  Paul lovingly and patiently knew what I needed.  But I stubbornly resisted for a few days.

So God nudged.

God pushed a little.

God screamed in my ear.

I read the book.

I devoured the whole book.

Then I read parts of it again and took notes.  It is that good.  Or maybe it isn't.  Perhaps Mark Hall wrote that book for me and me alone for such a time as this and just didn't know it.  I doubt it though.  I reckon it is annointed.  And I am so grateful for its truths which jump out of every page.

Through Mark Hall's annointed book The Well, I learned a lot about myself and this enduring season I've been in.  I realised that I had been relying on wells of resourcefulness, control and approval all these years.  They were nothing but dry holes.  I had forgotten my first love:  Jesus.  He is the only well of Living Water.  Page after page as I read, the pieces of my cup started to fit together perfectly.  There weren't even any chips I had to worry about.  It all fit.  And one section of the book in particular which brought me to my knees, was like the glue I needed to make sure my cup could not be broken again.  

In chapter 2 Hall refers to the story of Paul in the storm and the shipwreck from Acts 27.  Paul hears from God and tells his captors, the centurion and the soldiers on the ship that they must stay in the ship in order to be saved.  Obviously, getting into a lifeboat or jumping overboard to try to swim to shore makes more logical sense than staying in a ship that is being cast against the rocks and the reef.  But Paul knows that God is in control.  There was nothing anyone could do to save themselves except obey God and hang on to something.  Hall points out that in this story, Jesus is the boat.  He beautifully creates an image of Jesus being a piece of the ship that has to be broken in the storm.

"When the seas crash around you and the endless salt water streaks to your chin, 
do you look for the logical?  Do you go for the lifeboat?...
Or do you cling to the ship no matter what?  
Do you trust the Word of God and stay in the ship, 
even if it feels like it will break apart around you?  
Have you reached the point where you stepped back from the helm, 
threw up your hands, 
and fell into the arms of the Lord of the storm?" 

 Mark Hall, from The Well

The image of Jesus as the plank of wood carrying me through the storm was the turning point for me, and even now when certain memories or thoughts flood my emotions, I close my eyes and picture Jesus in the water with me.  And storms will come again.  I know that now.  I can no longer stubbornly control my life in such a way as to guard against those storms.  But I can rely on Jesus.

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