Water To The Lowest Place

It’s been another night of holy tears.

My middle daugther and I have been making our way nightly through the Lord Of The Rings trilogy by Tolkien. We came upon the place in the story this evening, where Frodo decides that he , as a small person, will take the Ring Of Power to its destruction.

Elrond, the great elf responds that such a choice will mark the days when the small “leave their quiet fields,” and “shake the towers of the great.” When the small make those kinds of choices, he continues, then they will sit in the circle with the greatest of all.

With that line, I began to think of the many friends I know who have chosen to live their lives this way. I thought of Jesus, and a view of God that is rooted primarily and centrally in love. As my mind went to these dear friends, and the God whose love we seek to model, a real tear came to my eye.

I took the tear on my finger, and made the sign of the cross on my daughter’s forehead.

“I bless you to heal with your strength,” I said, “and not to harm.”

“I bless you to be like silver water – to run to the lowest places and spend yourself nurturing what you find there.

I bless you to aid the seeds in cracking the hard soil that is theirs to rise through.

I bless you to strengthen the closed buds that they may open and spread their fragrance.

This way of living in the world is why I choose to follow Jesus.

This is the kind of God who makes sense to me, a God who runs to the lowest places.

This is the way of God, this is the way of Jesus, this is the way of life.

We choose not to use our strength to elevate ourselves, make ourselves visible, gain love from others, or gain the accolades of men and women.

We choose to become great in the eyes of God by healing the wounded, sustaining the weak, and building the broken with our gifts.

This is the kind of life I choose; one that celebrates the dignity and majesty of humankind, recognizes our bent ways, and still heals and loves.”

Both eyes overflowing with tears, we hugged each other while quietly weeping. It’s as if we felt the pain in our human company, our human family, and were drawn to it in the same way Jesus was drawn to the prostitute about to be stoned.

We looked each other in the eye.

“This is my prayer for you,” I said. “That you would become truly great in this way.”

After a kiss goodnight, I noticed that she never wiped her forehead.

Note: I asked my daughter’s permission to post this. She thinks its a good idea.

RELEASES FEB. 8, 2022 | Brazos press

Sheltering Mercy helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

Pre-Order below, and join my email list, to get author notes and updates about the book and events around it. If purchasing for Christmas gifts, soon you’ll be able to download a Christmas Gift Certificate PDF here so you have something for under the tree!).

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