Hey guys. I'm gonna jump straight into the action here because this passage is an excerpt from another post I was going to write but it didn't quite work in the context in which I was attempting to fit it. So I'm gonna share some semi-random thoughts if that's alright. If not, by all means, please leave. I don't know why you mosied on over to this corner of the internet if you weren't interest in hearing my thoughts. It's pretty personal stuff too, but I trust you guys. Why shouldn't I? After all, what harm ever came from sharing personal information over the internet?
All jokes aside, here we go...
I don't really need anyone to tell me I'm not messy, that I'm not broken. I don't need such cheap lies. I just need to know, deep down, way deep down, I need to know those I love, those who claim to love me, won't leave when they find out how messy and broken I am. I don't think I feel such certainty in any of my relationships, and it's sad, but true. That's how I feel. And it is, I think, the deepest solace I receive from my faith in God, that He is the only one who knows how fully messy and broken I am, yet loves me more than anyone.
And this is why I just sincerely don't get it when my atheist friends try to talk me out of believing what I do. What they're really trying to talk me out of is my identity, my truest and deepest sense of purpose and joy. My relationship with God fulfills my deep need, the one everyone has but nobody talks about. This bond is a wellspring of peace and hope, even and especially when my life is disaster zone. My God wakes me every morning with a reminder of love and lays me down to sleep at night with a promise of provision. Sounds nice, doesn't it? But not nice in an idyllic sort of way, nice in a way that just sounds like it's what we all need, like we were made for it. You guys, God looks at me and says yes, and I can't describe how much it means, how precious it is to me, how much I wish it for those I love, those I know, and everyone in the world who doesn't fall into either of those two categories. And it's not just pleasant, not just wishful thinking. It's true. It's too good not to be.
Ok, so here I go undercutting everything I just said. It is indeed true I believe God sees and loves and values me. The moments when I am closest to wrapping my mind, heart, and arms around this truth are the moments I feel nearest to the warmth and lasting joy of eternity. I believe it, but I'm not sure I always buy into it. I talk myself out of it. I tell myself, remind myself I am a miserable mess, a wreck, worth the time and effort of no decent human being, let alone the God of the universe. These are the lies the enemy whispers in my ear, and I know they're lies on an intellectual level, but it doesn't keep my heart from bleeding when the words pierce through. All the truth in the world can't sway a stubborn heart.
Now bear with me please as I explore this warped sense of logic of mine. I believe God loves my friends, and sees them as masterpieces. I see in them the marvelous handiwork of a God who knows what He's doing, and it is so clear to me they are immeasurably valuable to Him. I can so easily externalize this notion, but I'm no closer to taking it to heart for myself than a man with no interest in God or His kingdom. Of course it doesn't make sense God would love everyone but me, but most of the time I wouldn't blame Him for singling me out as the sole unloveable one. MY mess is too large, my sins too numerous, too great, my doubts too petulant. I've abused His love so far beyond what any human would tolerate, so I assume God has jumped my sinking ship. And I suspect more of us feel this way than are willing to admit it, because it sure would explain why we treat each other the way we do, why we see God the way we do. We constantly act as if we need to earn each other's love, earn God's love, be kind or funny or good looking enough to keep everyone else interested, and we act this way because we believe it, and we believe it because it's what we've been taught. Such is the economy of this world: desire for intimacy is followed by a perceived need to perform is followed by rejection is followed by heartbreak, and the vicious circle resets.
How can we be expected to know any better? How can anyone blame me for seeing myself as the unloveable schmuck? Well, because I do know better. Like I went on about before, I know God sees me, and loves me and what I have to offer Him, even if what I have to offer is often little more than a fistful of sins in my left hand and a fistful of doubts in my right. He loves my mess because He sees me in it, He sees who I am, who I could be, but loves me no less because I'm not there yet. And that's the good news, that I am the immeasurably valuable one. And that's why I get frustrated by the Bull Horn Guy who shouts damning words at passers by on street corners, because what he's peddling sounds nothing like this good news. It sounds much more like what the world is selling: prejudice and fearmongering, conditional acceptance and earned "love". That's not the Gospel of my Jesus, or the Jesus of the Bible. It's the world, telling you to behave so you can belong. God says you already belong, and we'll cross any bridge together once we come to it.
I understand now I have given far too much credit to my own capacity to sin. I think and feel and behave like the God of the universe is too good to stick around when I get especially wayward, and I think this idea stems from some bad theology fed to me by a few well-intentioned spiritual leaders I've encountered over the last few years. We Christians talk a big game about God's omnipresence, but then say things like, "God cannot stand in the presence of evil." How bold of us, to claim what God cannot do, as if He's afraid to get a little sin on Him. We're talking about the God who "became sin for us," (2 Cor 5:21). God BECAME SIN. FOR US. That's Christian theology son!
My sin doesn't in any way change or affect God's goodness, His love. It just means I need help, and the One who has the ability to help me also has the desire, a father's desire to reach out a helping hand to his struggling son. I've said it before and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face: We need God, but we don't often want Him. God doesn't need us, but He couldn't want us more if He tried. And it's a pretty beautiful system if you ask me.
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.