Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Come Out of Hiding!

Hi Friends,

Here are some encouraging words from Reaching for Wonder ...

Who Is This God?      
         Who is this God who does more than heal? Who is he who is not satisfied to repair the deaf and make the mute speak? Who is he who calls us to deeper listening, deeper speaking? Who is he who opens more than physical ears, untwists more than physical tongues?
         He is the God of Ephphatha. He is the God of aletheia.
         Aletheiais the Greek word for truth. It also means unhidden. Exposed. No longer in isolation. 
         When we can’t hear God or others clearly, when our words don’t rightly reflect the longing and need in our souls, the answer is not to pretend, to blend in with the crowd, to hide in plain sight. The answer is ephphatha. It is aletheia. 
         We have to step out of the crowd and encounter the living God. We need to stop hiding the truth about ourselves, our situation, our fears, hopes, failures, dreams.
         We need to declare with Isaiah: “Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!” (Isaiah 6:5)
         We need to confess with David after his sin with Bathsheba, and his betrayal of Uriah, the Hittite: “I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. I’ve sinned against you . . . I’ve committed evil in your sight . . . And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places; you teach me wisdom in the most secret space . . . Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!” (Psalm 51:3-6, 10)
We need to sing with ex-slave-trader John Newton who wrote:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

         I was deaf but now I hear. I was mute but now I speak. Hear the truth. Speak the truth. Don’t hide any longer.
         As I write these words, my own soul sighs within me because there are people dear to me who need ephphatha, who need aletheia. I groan for those who want to hide and pretend everything’s okay, they’re okay, when everything is far from fine. I sigh for those who want to deny they even need real healing, that they need Jesus’ fingers in their ears, his spit on their tongues. They persist in deafness and muteness when their life is imploding. No matter how loud we shout, no matter how we crowd around them, they cannot hear, they will not speak. And their souls are withering beneath the weight of isolation and sin.
         And Jesus is calling out — Ephphatha! Open up! Just open up! There is healing, there is freedom, to be found in that simple, spoken command.
         Ephphatha . . .

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When You Feel Helpless...

Hi Friends,

I've been pondering this excerpt from the chapter about the paralyzed man who was lowered from roof from Reaching for Wonder. If you're feeling like you just can't go on, you can't get yourself to Jesus, like it's all too much and your overwhelmed, maybe this will help ...


Helplessness. A child . . . A spouse . . . A boss . . . An incurable disease . . . there are places in life where we are paralyzed. They make us doubt our worth, they make us doubt our friends, our future, our God. We want to either wallow in our pain or snap our fingers and make it better. But sometimes “you can do anything you set your mind to” isn’t true. Sometimes we are helpless. And helplessness hurts.
         Yet the man on the mat tells us that at times silence and stillness are just the conditions that Jesus needs to make us whole. 
         I am reminded of the day I found Smokey, my husband’s horse, standing still and silent in his stall. Smokey is never still and silent. 
         My daughter, Bethany, came into the barn. “What wrong with Smokey?” 
         Smokey stared at us from behind his feeding net. We stepped closer. He didn’t wiggle. He didn’t whinny. 
         Bethany moved toward him. “Oh, no.” She glanced at me. “His hoof is caught in the net. He can’t get it out.” She slipped slowly into his stall, hoping not to spook him. She took his hoof in her hand. “The fabric is wedged between his hoof and his shoe. I can’t pull it out. If he starts to panic, he’ll break his leg.”
         “Okay, you keep him calm. I’ll find something to cut the net.”
         For the next twenty minutes, we sawed and soothed and cut and calmed until Smokey was finally free. He couldn’t move, he didn’t speak, and he couldn’t help himself. He just stayed still and let us work. Sometimes, in our fear, in our helplessness, that’s all we have to do too. Sometimes God is whispering into our silence: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, KJV)