My brain is tired. My body is tired. Life is good, thankfully, but full…also thankfully. It has been nice to have a season of forward movement in contrast to the previous one which just seemed so full of setbacks and disappointments. But those hard places make my weakness so clear and therefore my dependence on His power, control and work so much more evident to my heart. In this new season of “practical decision making” and straight forward task lists to accomplish, my Gospel sight seems blurry and my heart, quite frankly, feels a little numb. Those fragile places at least make me feel more confident of His presence, while this more stable (so relatively stated) season makes me feel more distant from the One I need the most.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-29
What does it mean that I am loved well, deeply, and fully now, in the midst of my blurred vision and short circuiting brain? Why is it easier to believe His unmerited love for me when I am feeling lashed on every side than in the quiet of “normal” daily life? I’m guessing it has something to do with my default sense of responsibility to aggressively pursue Him, therefore feeling righteous in my active, holy pursuit. Put more plainly: when it feels totally out of my control, I can believe His grace covers me. However, when I gain the smallest sense of renewed strength, I assume just like time in a hospital or under the care of family, I am in danger of overstaying my welcome in the generosity of that sacrificial service. What it comes down to, it seems, is a pernicious belief that the covering and smothering of His grace, of His gracious, merciful affections and sovereignty over the details of my life, is somehow merited by my weakness and forfeited by my “strength”. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. John 4:10 While I was still a sinner, He died for me. When did I stop being a sinner? On a practical level, I didn’t. From a legal sense, I was given Jesus’ innocense as He took my guilt. But what must be lurking under all my insecurities before is a false sense of my own righteousness, which essentially says, “Yeah, I was a poor shmuck back then when I needed Jesus to die for me. But now that’s done and I have enough righteousness that I shouldn’t be so dependent upon Him anymore. This failure of mine to be faithful, to be actively pursuing His favor and intimacy, rests fully on my shoulders now.” At no point in biblical history have God’s people deserved His pursuit, His help, His mercy, His kindness, His strength, His protection, His affections or His adoration, except one: And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Rom. 6:11 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Cor. 1:30 At some point in there, after the moment of crisis passed, I stopped finding myself in Christ and began to believe that I was merely in me, in my own righteousness and self-redemption. I began wondering what I must do, what I should be thinking differently, how I might “get back” to feeling “in Christ”. From God’s perspective, I never left. He has sealed me in and will bring me to deeply believe this Gospel’s promise about my security in Him even as He reminds my faith is not complete yet. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Cor. 1:20-22
Oh may I begin to deeply and genuinely believe this!