Thursday, October 24, 2013

today, I cried hot, angry tears; and I wrote.

I got mad at God in a really weird way today. I got mad at how good He is to me when He doesn't seem to be so good to other friends of mine. It's not that I am any more faithful or deserving than anyone, so why do they not see His works as fully, quickly, and accurately as I do? How can He claim to be so good and yet fail to have equally immediate compassion on all His children? How can He alleviate my pain so effortlessly and have others struggle through the same pain for years on end, when they're banging on the door of His heart for Him to end it? This infuriated me, and as I cried and wrote out my anger, a poem of sorts formed.

Sometimes I don't believe You.
Sometimes I think I don't really need You.
Sometimes, You make me angry
and I'm not sure how to relate to You.

You said You wouldn't delay
so why do we still wait
for the salvation to arrive?

You say You're good to your flock,
yet the passing time mocks
the healing that still hasn't come.

I want to believe You,
to hear You and see You,
and trust that You're working for us.

I want to be near You,
understand You and fear You,
and know why You're taking so long.

I'm sorry I'm angry.
I'm sorry I yell-
but if You're really that "good",
You'd have compassion on those who fell.

You wouldn't stand by,
as it seems like You do;
You'd wipe tears from their eyes,
yet they wait, broken, on You.

Move, if You will.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I promise I'm not a transcendentalist.

I have this weird thing I do where I try to assign God to different inanimate things and see if it works as a metaphor of His character. It's surprising how well this works with many things, and one of the many I've been pondering lately is an ocean.

'God is an ocean.'

People claim they love the ocean, but there's always that moment when you're with someone who "loves" the beach and they start complaining about how awful it is. They hate the sand, they hate the saltwater, they hate the sunburns, they hate the unreliable weather, the list goes on.
It reminds me of the nominal, cultural Christianity that plagues America. We "love" Christ but we hate how much he demands of us, how uncomfortable he makes us, how painful it can be to follow him, how illogical his plans often seem. We "love" Christ but we spend our days whining about things that aren't going our way.

People claim they love the ocean, but then there's always that person who doesn't get in past their ankles. You're at THE OCEAN, people. Get in. Let the waves knock you down. Let your throat and eyes burn with surprising saltwater. Be submersed. It is only after immersion that you can feel the waves rock you to sleep long after you have walked back in from the water.
It reminds me of the many times I sit in God's presence only dipping in my toes and wishing to still feel his presence. Then, of course, wondering why I don't "feel God". I'm not saying that after every experience with Him I should feel him- honestly I really don't think God is a super-feely being. I'm reminding myself, though, that if I want to find God, hesitantly dipping my toes in isn't going to cut it. Immersion and total loss of self and sense of direction and being caught up in the rip tide is necessary to fully understand God (which is why none of us do understand Him fully... we never let ourselves be swept away. We anxiously swim parallel to shore hoping to get back to 'safety'.)

If you want to feel the effects of the ocean, ya gotta get in the ocean.

Also, there's the whole wideness and deepness thing that David Crowder's How He Loves already covered for us: His grace is an ocean. We're all sinking.
And let's talk about the storminess.
A sea storm is a pretty frightening thing to behold, even just a tropical storm, much more a hurricane.
His jealousy over me is like the force of a hurricane.
His love is 90-mile-an-hour winds, and I am a sapling pine tree, not really sure what I'm doing growing near the beach anyway. I can't help but be overwhelmed and bent over by the weight of His wind and mercy.
"All of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions, eclipsed by glory- and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me."
The moment comes when I'm terrified of being blown straight over or ripped out of the ground and suddenly everything else grows "strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." All the 'afflictions' I am 'suffering' from don't matter. All I can see is His glory. His Shekinah Glory. His presence on me and in me and around me.
All I can see is His beauty and love. All I can remember is His faithfulness and justice and righteousness, no need to try to recall what life was like before this stormy sea took me over. I am undone.

Shouldn't that be the essence of 'christianity'? Shouldn't that be what children are taught to seek, instead of seeking to be a 'good' person? Shouldn't we be passing on to others the ability to be completely caught up, knocked over, and wasted for all other strains of 'goodness' aside from Him!?

But we cannot pass on the thirst for this moment, because we don't let ourselves experience it. We see our sin compared to His glory and we cannot handle it. We see the storm coming and we evacuate. We hide. It's been true since the very first humans experienced Him: "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked... And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Gen. 3:7-8)

It is impossible for one to tell another how frighteningly wonderful the ocean is if he has only ever stood on the shoreline and watched the clouds come, before he goes running for cover.
Only after standing in awe of the might and marveling over the strength of the storm and being caught in the middle of the deafening thunder, blinding lightning, and driving winds and rains are we able to talk to others about the ocean, and completely understand it ourselves.

Can I say this again? LETTING YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH GOD STOP AT A CERTAIN LEVEL AND NOT LETTING HIM OVERTAKE AND WRECK EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE IS HYPOCRISY AND STUPIDITY. I am not condemning you, reader, for I stand on the shoreline every day and many days fail to dive into the ocean.
But I have chosen to dive in the past, and those short times of total immersion and being tossed about by the waves have taught me that God moves most and best when we open every area of our lives to Him. We feel the ocean most and best when we lay in it for hours being rocked and tossed about.

God is an ocean and He cannot be understood simply by being talked about or 'seen'. God is an ocean and to be His, we must swim straight into the rip current and float along with it and let it wash over us and rock us and shift us to where we need to be. God is an ocean and He therefore belongs to all of us, and there is more than enough of Him for all of us. He will never run out, never stop being, and we will never be able to see the end of Him.

welcome to midnight.

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