“‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them,’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16)
It sometimes takes going into a battleground—a forbidding space—to find out who God really is. The light and glitter and distractions of this world that dangle in front of our eyes like tinsel often keep us from digging our manicured nails into the meat of things and asking the tough questions: Who am I? Why do I exist? Why is there something, rather than nothing? What is the point of this painful existence, and is there any way out? These questions have become almost cliché, but they are the ones I asked myself right before I became a Christian, right before Jesus Christ pulled me out of the dark pit I mulled around in aimlessly, and sewed the torn pieces of my insides back together. When I fell to my knees on the battleground of my soul, surrounded by nothing but visions of that which was dead or dying, I cried out to God. And I found Him. Or rather, He found me. And not just any God—the true God, who is life itself. The one who can glue together the shattered bits of yourself and make them smooth, whole, and more beautiful than you could ever imagine. The battle never goes away while we are living, but it’s unmeasurably better when you know God is on your side.
As you read Issue Seven, you’re going to see battlegrounds. Many times, you’ll see these battlegrounds from the perspective of those feeling defeated, even numb. In some writings, the battle is against God Himself. The writers wrestle with Him, drenched in the pain of loss and struggle, but like Job, sit and scratch at their wounds in contemplation. For other writers, they wrestle against the problem of evil, against sin, unable to fight darkness and doubt on their own as the truth calls out to them from some far distance. Often, their subjects fail to feel His presence and get lost in the pieces of the wreckage, looking for vestiges of His goodness and grace. Others are ground into the dirt as they face the reality of their unworthiness in the magnitude of His being. And then, every once in a while, like a breath of sweet air after being held underwater, we see God peek in, carefully hold our hearts and carry us toward Him.
That is my prayer for you today as you read through these pages. To see Him. To feel His presence in the dark moments, as well as the lighter ones. And to realize He’s been there all along.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to Issue Seven. For those that know Him, thank you for glorifying God with your talent and hard work. For those that don’t, thank you for graciously sharing your beautiful work with believers and non-believers alike. You all are truly a blessing to me. My hope is that the Holy Spirit will speak through every piece, directly into the souls of our readers.
Thank you to everyone who follows Heart of Flesh, for your encouragement and support. And, of course, thank you for reading.
May God bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and give you peace,
Artwork: “The Levite’s Concubine” by Veronica McDonald, 2017.