Sunday, August 12, 2012

For Me to Live is Christ...

Lord, why is this simple lesson so hard?  Everything in my being screams that for my life to have meaning, I have to do something meaningful—like saving hundreds of orphans or donating millions of dollars to charity or adopting children or even—be it so simple—keeping my house in order.  But you have thwarted every design.  As the poet exclaims, “Lord why is this…wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?”  But I think back to the heavy contemplation that entered my mind when I walked off the airplane and entered the wealth of middle class America after having been in the poverty of third-world civilization.  “It’s too easy…too easy to be lazy, to be disciplined to walk with God, to forget God because everything is so comfortable.  It’s harder to live the Christian life here than in the DR!”  The thought was prophetic.  I shudder at how far I have slipped.  The daily fervent prayers that seemed to be an essential on that island seem to be few and far between.  Now, when I do pray, it’s cursory or forced, and I find that passion only comes when I am pushed into a situation where I really feel my need for God.  But I should feel my need for Him every moment.  Even the will to live or to initiate any life endeavor is from Him, but I don’t ask Him for it.  I don’t feel my need for Him enough.  Oh this idolatrous heart!  I have used my own schemes to try to replace the emptiness I feel.  If only I could get my house in order…if only I could have a child…if only I had more money to give to good causes…if only I felt well enough to go on weekend excursions, have parties, or just plain enjoy life…if only…  But God’s hand has been getting heavier and heavier.  Alas!  Has the light finally dawned on this sleeping soul?  How is it that I have known the truth so well in the past but have forgotten it so well in the present?  How can I have experienced God so deeply not that long ago and yet have taken so long to wake up to God’s pursuits?  Oh wretched soul that I am!  How glorious my redeeming God!  Oh the blessing of His unrelenting discipline!  Katie of Uganda writes in one brief paragraph what I have been trying to figure out for a year—really, for my lifetime; just because my life has so vastly changed through marriage doesn’t mean this truth has changed one bit: “A life is not made by lives saved or bellies fed or words written. To adore the one who created the Heavens and the Earth, to give thanks for who He is and all He has given, to worship and commune with [the] Holy God, whispering in the quiet, clinging in the noise, believing in all circumstances – this is what makes a life large” (

I have been looking for meaning to life in all the wrong places--yea, under the guise of serving God--when all God wanted was me.  When I would scan through all the events of my life in my mind’s eye and find so many that have seemed utterly wasteful, I would grow so very depressed.  I would ask myself and God why those things happened.  I would search desperately for some redeeming quality that would make those events worthy of my life.  I would tell myself the promises (e.g., “All things work together for good to them that love God”) or that God is sovereign, but I was still earthly-minded in my search for peace.  Why can’t I seem to think beyond the five senses?  I should know better!!  I was still missing the foundation that ties it all together.  God wants me!  Not what I can do for Him, not what I can accomplish, not even what I can do to love others (although that should flow from love for God).  No, God just wants me to find my fullness in Him—to be enraptured by Him and to see all life’s circumstances in the great vortex of His awesome power and greatness.  The details of how everything fits together, He’ll work out; I don’t have to grapple with it.  All He wants me to do is find Him in it.  On my honeymoon, I had no problem enjoying myself, even though a spectator would have thought it was a less-than-desirable experience (frequent power outages, marooned on a beach without a soul in sight, caught in undertows, sunburned, head sore from a crash into a tree branch in a mad dash home in a thunderstorm, etc.).  But what made all these events seem unimportant?  We had each other.  We were in love.  That’s all that mattered.

Can I start again?  Oh Lord, may you be ever before me.  May I never again lose sight of you in the details of life—indeed, may they reveal you in depths I have never had eyes to see.