My last post caused a lot of ruffled feathers. I wasn’t prepared for such criticism.
I’ve always taken things very personally, my brothers would call me “oversensitive” in fact, and when I was blasted with comments that actually attacked me as a person it spun me a little. Then my littlest ended up in urgent care and diagnosed with pneumonia, and shortly after my energy-filled preschooler was lethargic and sporting a high fever caused by an ear infection.
My weekend was harsh, to say the least.
And yet, I can’t say I’ve ever felt more joy in the midst of such emotionally exhausting (and also literally exhausting, because sick babies don’t sleep) circumstances. Because with each angry accusation (or in some cases more sarcastically critical), I found myself on my knees, or rocking sick babies, and repeating,
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
With each verbal charge against me, I found myself desiring that God scrutinize my heart, and to shape my character to be like his, I craved his words, his presence and ultimately his approval. But, still, all that anger, all those accusations, and I felt like I wanted to curl up and quit writing all together. Because, really, was it worth saying? And who am I that I should speak?
And the truth of his words never ceased ringing clearly. And though there are many things I have not said perfectly, and certainly a thousand areas in my life that need his grace and purifying work, that blog post wasn’t one of them.
And then, like a wind blowing through a quiet house, Christ’s Body responded. I received countless words of affirmation, encouragement, and perfectly-timed passages of God’s own words. And through each of his followers, God spoke. And he faithfully made it very clear.
Nothing is new, humanity has always tried to distort reality to fit our own selfish desires, and just as the prophets spoke to Israel, despite their deaf ears, we too must press on speaking the truth to a generation that hates us for it. Precisely because they hate us for it. Truth will always be unpopular, we humans after all, are the ones who murdered God.
With each glance in the mirror we cannot ignore the passing of time, and the truth that our life will end, it is fleeting, like dust in the wind, we try and cling to it and it slips rapidly through our fingers. When we try to hold so desperately to what cannot be held and chase these temporary pleasures, we promise ourselves short lives of discontent. But Jesus? Jesus promises us so much more. He promises that if we give him this life, this broken, temporary life, he will give us everything our hearts truly want. He promises that no matter what we have, or what is stripped from us, we will have joy, we will have peace, and we will have the hope of a future that will be without pain and suffering and in the presence of the God who created us and loves us. What a small sacrifice in light of eternity. If we are willing to suffer now for his sake and glory, in this momentary life, we will have an eternity in the presence of the most high God. It seems so simple, but so impossible. To give up everything for the sake of gaining more. But Jesus already did it for us. He gave everything on a splintered tree on a hill, and we only need to stand under him, to submit every part of ourselves to his perfect, scarred hands. And it’s so outrageous, because he gives us this opportunity to submit to him, this God who made everything, this powerful being who is the one from whom all things have their existence, he lets us choose to follow him. This God who gave us life, and when we screwed it up, he offered us life again, he deserves our praise, and all the glory of the universe that he created. We who hated him, mocked him, and murdered him, need only turn to Jesus, and then we belong to him forever. What a ridiculously, wonderful God.
And it is this outrageously good and merciful God who has commanded that we, who have tasted the sweetness of his grace, share it relentlessly with a world who has convinced itself that dirt tastes better.
So, to you, my brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, thank you for fighting the good fight with me, thank you for letting God speak through you, and do not grow weary in doing good.
And to you, dear world, I will keep speaking about how beautiful it is to be completely consumed by God, because I cannot help it, and if you taste of his love, you’ll understand why, and you won’t be able to shut up either.