For background to this post, you may want to read Friday's post, Trusting Love: A God-ramble from a Broken Heart
I didn't always doubt love.He let it break like a wave on the shore, leaving sand and shells and foam and litter behind to fall back into the sea and break again against Him, tide flowing in and out, a restless broken heart always seeking rest, never still until He stills me.
Once, I trusted easily. Too easily, it seemed.
That was before God let my heart break...
By the time I finished, the realization that I'm still aching for His love - in spite of everything I've been through with Him! - left me bemused, disillusioned.I think I should have noted that I have been here before; I am always here again, because I do not do the things I want to do, and the things I don't want to do, I do.
I assume that even His "yes" will eventually become "no," so even the good gets rejected, and I am afraid to accept what He gives. The bad lesson pain too often teaches.My surface-grievance is become habit, and I ramble and bumble my way through feelings and theology and what-I-know-that-I-know. I share the scribbled questions without resolution.
Faith doesn't require my answer - but I look anyway.
I ran across this last week, and wondered if God was trying to convict.
There I was minding my own business, relishing some bitterness about my grandmother, and the Holy Spirit broke into my thoughts with an unusual assertion... that I was being an idolater, putting myself up on a pedestal in an act of self-worship over and against my grandmother.Nothing moved in my spirit. Just a still and quiet "wait."
- L.L. Barkat, excerpt from an interview at Holy Experience
A friend left this in her comment on Friday's God-ramble. Surely, this must be His confirmation of conviction.
One of the most telling Scriptures in support of this fact is "You shall have no other gods before me." If I say, "God, I can't be happy without such-and-such," I am essentially telling Him there is something I want more than Him.Again, I looked inward, searching, asking God to search. But no. Still the quiet, "wait."
- Excerpt from Christy's comment
"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."I read, and reread, and something soft and real and alive with joy pinged in my heart, ringing like a clear bell through the too-familiar clamor of the questions. Something that had nothing to do with "He gives and takes away" and everything to do with "blessed be the name of the Lord."
- Phil. 3:8-11
A year ago, I didn't want Him at all. Oh, I had no choice but to believe He was there, being God. Some things just are; He is one of those undeniables.
But I. couldn't. choose. Him.
My reasons were many: perhaps then it entailed some of the idolatry detailed above; perhaps it was my humanity, sin striving against Spirit for an assumed right.
Thus my heart was grieved,I tried to push Him away. He was too much for me, for my heart. His kindness seemed only to hurt me more. He could not be my greatest treasure, the object of my desire.
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
- Ps. 73:21-24
Do you remember how Hezekiah laid his enemy's letter out before the Lord? Sometimes, I have to do this with the questions, with my feelings, say "this is what is here, God. I can't figure it out."
In Jesus, "sin shall not have dominion over [me], for [I am] not under law but under grace." (Rom. 6:14) As I acknowledge His Life in me, I know I have done - and can do - nothing to earn this grace to doubt and fail. I lay me out in front of Him, and sometimes in front of the world, embarrassed at my humanity, my foolishness, my easy disillusionment.
Finally, on the heels of the wait comes a phrase from a prayer, a quote mixed up in the whisper of desire... "how high, how wide... the love of Christ."
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.He is not holding out on me as I have feared. He is granting me Spirit-strengthening. Love-grounding. The questions I have shared are the beginning of comprehension - of width and length and depth and height - the beginning of knowledge of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge...
- Eph. 3:14-19
And the ping of joy ringing in my heart?
I actually want to know it. To know Him. To be filled with it - all the fullness of God.
Somewhere in the struggle - or in pushing the struggle away and being still and letting Him be God - my desire has changed. Somewhere in my quest for relationship with Him, He has become the object of that desire. Knowing Him means finding a Person at the end of my questions, learning to trust His heart instead of my experience-concepts of the God of the universe.
It is the most surprising thing to me, this awakening realization of desire. I no longer own a "want-to-want Him." I almost don't want to want Him, because it leaves me so vulnerable. But like a woman who has fallen in love, I just know He's the One who is meant to hold my heart.
And here I am, being invited into His.
I think He expects to take my breath away.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)