It’s been awhile.
Where have I been? Here. And a million miles away. Sitting at my computer in coffee shops typing words I longed to shout from the rooftops. And curled up in my bed cowering in caverns of darkness and corners of fear. Facing dragons I suppose I’ve been preparing to fight all my life – facing the rejection I was assured would not wait for me. Facing failure. Facing isolation. Facing me. Facing Him.
What have I found? I have found the edge of myself. I have reached the borders of control and on the other side I have found darkness and light and the fluttery fear of freedom. I have found the limits of the power of men. I have found the land beyond the fear of rejection.
What have I found? Death – fighting for me like a jealous lover, battling a strange Man who emerged from a vague mess of written words and became a visible, tangible Champion. This Champion refused to act as I want, still refuses to be who I think He should, but I know Him now as my true and never-failling friend. He has led me into this thing – led me out onto a ledge that really only has room for one, so I have been forced to climb inside of Him. Or He has climbed inside of me. It is impossible to tell which.
What have I found? Life. In unexpected and surprising places. Love. shining so brightly from the faces of those around me that they make me believe it is easy. Glory. In the mundane; in the wilderness work of pulling water out of wells.
What have I lost? Too many things to mention. Precious people and parts of myself that I once thought essential, and boundaries that I believe matter, and dignity and respect and hope.
I have lost chains as well, and fear and doubt and pride and interest. Oh, how I have lost interest. In this. In this world of christian celebrities and competition wrapped up in encouragement.
I have no interest in the ‘duty’ of ministry; no interest in ministry that doesn’t leave us all – at the end of the day – covered with the blood of others, covered with our own blood – and most of all – drowning in the blood of Jesus. I have lost interest in numbers, in followers or in the reasons why platform matters. I have lost interest in the measuring sticks of men.
I have lost interest in offering ‘how-to’s’ on getting through obstacles that are nothing but shadows of the giants we should actually be fighting. I don’t have any interest in climbing into the sandbox of distraction that exists at the click of a button. I have lost interest in theological debates held with dry eyes, or conducted from behind keyboards; lost interest in words preached from a stage that cannot be proved behind closed doors.
What do I want now? To declare the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Real darkness. and real light. The kind that scars us, that causes us to walk with a limp for the rest of our days.
What do I want now? For you to see Him. For you to bank on Him. For all of us – me included – to wake up from this veil of apathy and distraction that is choking the life out of us. I want us to be not dismayed – not shaken – by the thoughts of others, by the insecurities in our souls, by the seeming bigness of other people, by the foolish and stupid arguments about whose life is harder and which christian-celebrity scandal is more shocking. Seriously – who gives a damn.
There is a God who reigns. He restrains His wrath with a gate of iron, covered with a million locks. He is slow to open it – but when He does, it descends with a crushing weight upon His own Son upon the Cross.
There is a God who abounds in steadfast love – there is no gate that holds that back. It pours forth sometimes seemingly even against our will. It infects everything, every decision He makes. Every atom must yield to it – every part of every person works for the unfailing love of God toward us.
There is a God who forgives the unforgivable and that includes the people we each think deserve grace the least: it includes the friend who has failed you, it includes the church leader who turned their back on you, it includes the murderer and the rapist; it includes you and it includes me. He is not embarrassed or ashamed to redeem any of them, any of us, and place a crown of honor upon the worst of sinners. He will find your enemy and smother them with mercy. That is why He will offend us all with this Gospel of grace if we actually look it full in the face. He will level us all with the suffocating force of His abundant unshakeable love.
There is a God who is so jealous that He will ravage your life and leave nothing standing but Himself. He will break over you, wave upon wave, until your desire for your bosses approval is broken and beaten into a tiny grain of sand, until your need for affection from that guy shrinks into something too small to be seen with the naked eye, until the burdens in your marriage dissolve into opportunities for the great glory of God, until, with trembling hands you can place those you love most back into the hands of the Owner of us all.
He will win you. No matter what it takes. He will win you.
That is where I have been. It is where I always am.