29 October 2009

Caution: Handle with Care or You May Get Loved Up

Bravo for you, you’ve run from God all your life and now what do you find? Where are you? I can guess that if you’re conscious, then your suffering. Don’t get me wrong, not all suffering takes on the same outlook. Psychological, emotional suffering can be more excruciating than physical suffering. I think suffering comes in varieties. 

Here are at least two forms:

Variety 1 is "Cost and Loss" - a normal life suddenly is betrayed, a normal body fails, a business or nation falls apart, and family, friends, face, and finances are lost. In despair a person reaches for God and finds His comfort and solace, and he finds it. God never fails a sincerely seeking heart.

Variety 2 is "Gain and Lost" - a sense of pervasive lostness. This person is similar to a King Solomon, who suffered pain and weariness in the middle of all his greatness. This might be a person who has achieved or is given extraordinary advantages and gifts, and finds great financial or abundance, loads of friends, a good name, a "name in the field," a person of prominence and of influence. Simultaneously, the person finds he's lost all zest for life, his family and friends are boring, and nothing gives him the "zing" he craves. A person living Variety 2 suffering is on the razor's edge-in a great war between the despair of nothingness and the pull of "there-has-to-be-more" in his heart.

Where is God? God is there-was there-and is waiting, as aptly described in this poem:

The Pulley

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
"Let us" (said he)"pour on him all we can;
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span."

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honor, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

"For if I should" (said he)
"Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be

"Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast."

→ George Herbert

So, what if you dared to try the most radical, revolutionary idea-that God loves you and His love and faithfulness would never fail you? That He will satisfy the desires of your heart, those desires which you cannot even put a name to? You can dare believe it because it is the very thing Christ said? This is no psychological trick. No, here we are speaking directly to the Soul-Maker about Soul-sickness. Your Soul-sickness. Could be the Soul-Maker has the elixir for the Soul?

What if you believed it? What would be so terrible about that? How can you fail in your failure? After all, you know that, apart from the love of God, you will and are–right now-failing, in every area. We cannot remake the world-the best men in history have failed.

Only Christ succeeded-and that at the cost of giving away His love for you, specifically and individually. And, no, you didn’t deserve, it—but that’s because love cannot be earned.

Charity Johnson