Back from summer. And what a summer it was. I have wrestled with God this summer, inevitably losing, but emerged stronger than ever before. I have no idea how to begin to write about it, exactly like last summer – I am at a loss for words. If you want to know about the summer, write me. I think I will keep the stories and details to people I know and come in contact with.
But if I had to sum up the biggest lesson I learned this summer, among hundreds, it would probably be this:
You are not in control. Things happen in this world that you will not be able to understand, and your attempts to analyze and reason the events until you can comfortably make sense of them in your understanding will only frutsrate you and your peers. These are times when God says: No, don’t reason through this one. Let it go. Have faith that I am doing this for your best interests, and stop whining like a child saying “but I want to see” or “let me try” or “tell me why.” No, we should be Baby and let him be Daddy. Shouldn’t we be happy just to sit down in the ocean and let the waves lick over us instead of looking at the waves and saying – “why did that one break that way, what makes them break?” Man’s place in the cosmos really is rather like a child playing in the waves, anyhow. Do you think finite minds can safely explain all of the mysteries that make this world run? Then why do we expect God to explain why he has spun our circumstances the direction he has the instant he has spun them so.
If a pastor ever tells you that the “let go and let God” sermon is misleading, do not believe him, he is testifying false things to the spirit of Christ. Everything in the phenomenological study of my life and the life of my peers points to the fact that we need to abandon our senses of control and start walking out into that unlit balance beam that is faith in the Lord. God hides, and so he must. We are walking on an unlit balance beam, being sanctified as we go, until we reach him and he scoops us up into his arms in Glory. But on the path, we will learn to uncover him more and more, until we, the pure in heart, can learn to truely see God in all there is. We cannot expect to see him, however, until we have fallen asleep in his will. No longer will we ask “Lord, what is your will?” because by being so closely identified and at one with his spirit, we will actually be his will.
Check out this scripture. It was given to me by a girl whom I think of as a true sister now. Having at least fifteen or so coincidences between the stories of my 22nd year on earth and her 23rd, she came to me with this scripture and asked me the question: Can you believe in a God that wounds his children? Can you believe that God is a God who allows his children to suffer for their eventual strengthening, and that such a God is still benevolent?
Isaiah 30 : 19 – 22
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean. You will say to them “Be gone!“”
Ok, this has to do with my life in the following ways:
- Starting around august of last year, the Lord began to be really sweet to me. I had found life, true life, as it was meant to be lived by way of the Spirit. I was unstoppable. The lord had given me something really good as well, a gift I definitely would have considered bread and water. It was a gift, I did nothing to earn it or to make it happen on my own efforts. Here it was, sitting in my lap, placed before me without money or without cost. I had even heard the Lord indicate – “yes, this is the way walk in it.”
- When you hear a word behind you, it means that all circumstances are pointing to the fact that God is working in your decision and his blessings are upon you to move forward with it. I did this, romantically entertaining that this might have been the gift, the greatest gift, that I had been expecting for so long. I walked and he made my paths straight. Until december / january where, as it turns out, I was still on the straight path but without any lights by which to see.
- The lights went out. All was dark wilderness, and I feared that the Lord had left. It was here that his bread and water turned into the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. The pain that resulted from this period is incomparible to any I had previously experienced – profound, soul twisting, gut wrenching pain that begged me to rebel against god. The voices whispered, “how could a good God let you go through something like this?” And yes, I began to rebel. I thought – “God I had done so much for you. I have obeyed your precepts and walked in your commandments, for once! For once I did it your way, and this is what happens?” And so I began to believe that there is no right way or wrong way, because the right way did not bring any of the good stuff as promised. So why walk in it? All for loss! So lets walk in what we know to be the wrong way, because there is no right way or wrong way, you just have to live.
- This rebellion then led to a disaster worse than disaster.
- Now, months later, the Lord has spoken to me again. He says “Son, you did follow my commandments. Yes, you walked uprightly with me on the surface of things. But for what reason? Did you obey my life giving instructions because you love me for all I’ve done for you and so you could respond by honoring your creator? Or were you looking simply for the good stuff that you’ve heard comes with an upright walk? Son, you still have an idol standing between us. You were looking for the good stuff, the blessings of life that you were so sure would satisfy, without seeing the real truth. There is no good stuff without me. I am the good stuff. Where else need you look?”
- My teacher is not hiding himself anymore. He has revelead that one can walk in the right path for the wrong reasons, and that there are more idols I need to cast aside. Curse the earth, then! For I feel as if we did not carve these idols like the Israelites carved them, but instead they were carved into us. We are all programmed by the powers of this world to love love, to love money, to love family, to love professions, to love power, to love justice, to love philanthropy, to love anything over the place of loving God. And God, for so many reasons, can be the means to one of these ends. Do we love Darfur? Do we want people to stop being tortured? Then we use a fraction of the nature of God, his unconditional love, as a means to rouse Christians to action – to save Darfur! When really, we are neglecting the real true love we where created for. If we save Darfur, let us save it for the purpose of having more of Christ and delivering more of Christ, not for the simple end of ending people’s misery. What is true love except for that with eternal consequences in mind? Do we want Darfur to have peace or do we want Darfur to have Christ?
- I did this with Romantic love, in case you haven’t gotten it until now. What I wanted was a wife who would satisfy me, join my patheticly imagined “full life”, who would love me and I her until we spun a delicate love story so powerful that it would be read over and over in the pages of time as an image of how deep and heartbreaking love can truely be. I was using God’s rules to find this, this romantic love, because following the rules for a healthy marriage would naturally lead to the best marriage possible. But not when your life isn’t as full with the Lord as you imagined, and not when you are using him as a means to your own end.
- All this to say, I am learning to cast away idols. The lord has wounded me, left me with a physical scar and a heart scar, and I will not be the same after this. And now, endued with the Holy Spirit’s power, not my own, I command these idols to make haste and “be gone!”
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God. ]