I need to bare my heart today, but not for the purpose of the exposing, because there isn’t really much about opening up that makes me healed, but rather I feel that friendship and friends are worthless without the truth, and it’s truth in this matter that sets us free.
Lately, despite the grandest of efforts, I have been in a dry spell spiritually. One of those seasons when everything about my relationship with God seems to be dull, mundane and just out of reach. I sit down to read my Bible and the words on the page are quieter than the thoughts in my head.
I shake my head, rub my eyes and try to focus in, but it always ends the same, I close my Bible at the end of a chapter and walk away completely unaware of what I just read.
And then, invariably, I struggle through the day.
I yell at the kids, I focus tirelessly on the plans, in hopes that I can somehow grab hold of this craziness that is life and wrestle it down until it listens to me.
“I am in charge here!” I scream and emote at the things of this world that scurry around me in tireless circles.
Yet here I am, life has won.
I grumble at my wife and complain about life.
I digress into the deeper parts of my being and I begin to worry again about tomorrow, I try to position today in hopes of finding something solid to grab onto.
Yet, unsurprisingly, I fail to get anywhere with these exercises.
This here is the precise place that I have visited so many times before, a place where I focus so much on my efforts, on my doing better next time, that I forget all about the completed work that Jesus offered when He died for me on that cross.
This past Sunday we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, something so very special not only because He rose from death, but because the debt for our sins failed to come out of that grave with him.
On that day, before I was even born, all of my struggling became for nothing.
All of the work that I do to see life from a different angle
All of the effort to become better, to do better
It was all deemed void and worthless on that day
God already did what I need, and its already mine for the taking
I know what you are thinking. And I get hung up here as well, His having done all of this begs the question of why Christians aren’t all better people?
Truth is we are a mess, all of us are.
And just because we are forgiven does not mean that we are perfect.
I read recently in a book by Tullian Tchividjian about how someone famous (I don’t remember who, but that is beside the point) called Christians “losers”, and how Christians then reacted to his statements in a fury of emotion against him. They screamed at him and said “No we are not!” Yet in the Bible Jesus says so clearly that he came for the broken, the lost, the “losers” if you will.
Our reaction should have been to say “Yes we are losers!” And then go on to explain why that does not matter any more because of what Jesus did for us.
The beautiful thing about putting our faith in Jesus is that He is the one place in this world where we are safe, where our doing, and our efforts are completely beside the point.
When Paul says “No depth, nor height, nor distance can separate us from the love of God” We so often read that and say, “Yes, but….” And explain why the depth we find ourselves in today is lower than God can bend.
Today I am finding Jesus in this low place, and I am giving up.
Today I am holding onto Jesus down here in the pit because of what He did on the cross, not because of what I did today, yesterday, or tomorrow.
Today I am holding onto Jesus, finding that He is here in the place that I thought I was alone in, and in His arms I am choosing to quit struggling to become better.
Isn’t it so much easier to grab onto something already done, then try to do something we will never be able to do?
I know it is tempting to read this and say “Aww, poor guy who is going through a dry spell” I get that. And if you want to stop there and go your merry way, that is fine, but there is a truth in the substitutional atonement that Jesus gave to us that applies to every season that we may find ourselves in. A truth of how we can be doing life completely differently, and also an example for how we should be treating others.
I find that when I see myself for what I really am, a sinner-in-need-of-him, then I have no problem giving grace to others around me who are failing, or hurting me.
What Christians should be know for is forgiveness, yeah we might be struggling, and might be messy, but we have been forgiven, and in that we are free to turn around and forgive.
Ok, lots to chew on here. I will stop now and pray that this strikes the same chord inside of you that it has inside me these past weeks.