[this post is sort of a part two of what I’m processing about the Kavanaugh hearings. Read part one here.]
I have an emotional hang over.
What a week.
I lay in bed last night, unable to watch TV or read because even escaping felt like too hard. My soul was weary. Deeply tired. I felt emotionally beat-up by the week.
And I knew I needed to connect with Jesus but I didn’t know how. It felt like too much work – and I know myself well enough at this point to know that if talking to my best friend feels like ‘too much work’, it’s usually an indicator that something is off. It’s evidence that some part of me thinks we might be on different pages on this one, it’s evidence that I am withdrawing, that something is happening that is muting our intimacy.
I woke up this morning – feeling even more exhausted and drained. The thought of starting the week again tomorrow is too much. In need – I turned to Jesus. I knew I couldn’t start another week without getting on the same page with Him.
So I carved out the time, and laid my head down on a smooth wooden desk and tried to have a convo with God about what is going on in this relationship of ours and what is going on in this world.
I tried to slow down, to tell the truth, to make space for the thoughts and feelings without shoving them down with the Gospel truth. I’ve found that if I want to figure out what is going on in the relationship, I have to give my body and brain room to speak without being interrupted.
Here is some of what came out:
I feel powerless. And maybe that’s what makes it all feel violating and exhausting, it’s this helplessness. I can’t do anything. i can’t fix anything. i can’t change anything. i can’t make anyone do anything.
And i just am exhausted.
That’s the only word I know to keep using. Because it’s like climbing up a hill. And it feels like that with you too – You who have all the power. Because I feel like I can’t trust you to act either.
It broke my heart to type those words.
At the end of the day, I want God to intervene. I want Him to step in. And if He do what I can’t – which is change some people’s behavior and decisions and minds – then it’s hard to keep throwing my pleas and prayers His way.
I want God to use His power to overpower their stubborn ‘no’. I want Him to force people to do what He has said He wants: love, peace, unity.
I want Him to stop abuse. I want Him to bind the hands of those who would force anyone to do anything; who would use their power inappropriately.
I found in His word and His Spirit the soft echo of how much He wants that too; of how deeply He longs to end injustice.
So why don’t you? You hold all the power. Do it.
As I was praying that I had the realization, that I want God to become the men I despise.
Abuse refuses to give people the dignity of making their own choices. It ignores a human’s God-given dominion over their own body.
And here I sit – asking the holy, righteous, giver of Grace – to use His power to force people to do things; to remove their agency and ability to make their own real choices, and brainwash them to make the choices that seem best to me. But this is not how God works. This is not what it means to believe in the sovereignty of God.
My Jesus – He is not an abuser. He is the only man I know who handles power perfectly. He had it all and surrendered it. He woos and calls and offers, rather than takes. He wants a surrendered will, not a stolen one. He wants to win us with love, not violate us with force.
I’ve been reading so much about willfulness and willingness recently, and processing how different the two are. And how true willingness is only possible where there is love and trust. True surrender – joyful surrender – cannot be forced out of you, it can only be given.
Sinners sin tonight because our perfectly righteous God, is – as He has always been – all of His attributes at once. Oh, make no mistake, He is the protector of the weak, and He is the just judge who will hold people accountable for the deeds done in secret. But, He is also patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but desiring all men to come to repentance.
I love that patience when applied to me – but I surely begrudge it when applied to others.
Sinners sin tonight because our perfectly righteous God is all of His characteristics at once. Oh, make no mistake, He is going to bend this world to His will. His kingdom will come. He rules and reigns, upholds all things by the power of His word. But He is also perfect steward of power. He chooses to put His Spirit in us to change our tastebuds so we choose differently, rather than turn us into robots who do what He says. He is changing us, saving us, shaping us, and doing it in a sovereign way that leaves us with our human dignity and dominion.
I am exhausted because it feels like there’s nothing I can do, but that’s not true. I can surrender. I can give up my willful attempts to bend Him to my will, and instead surrender to His. I can give up my willfulness to become willing to be spent to see His kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.
There’s grieving to do. Grief. It doesn’t seem like much of an action step – but oh sweet Lord how important it is.
Those who have not grieved their own wounds will continue to wound others. They will lose their capacity for care and intimacy, or they will become the walking wounded, lashing out at anyone whose actions/behaviors are reminiscent of those who have hurt them. I can guarantee you, that some of those abusers we have on our minds tonight, are individuals who have not grieved their own wounds. They have given up their ability to be healthy empathetic humans because they did not grieve.
Those who do not grieve together – with each other – will be driven away from one another. I feel it so deeply this week, a hunger for corporate lament. Church, regardless of what you think about this hearing, surely you can see people are hurting. Surely you can see that your silence is communicating something you don’t mean to say. Surely, you can wrap arms arounds those who are hurting, without fear of how it might be interpreted. Surely we can all agree to lament with those who are subject to systems and structures that serve some and sacrifice others.
Those who do not grieve with God will lose the ability to connect with Him. In weeks like this – they will withdraw or distrust because they begin to confuse His lack of visible action as a lack of care. Our God is weeping, and weeping with Him is one way we protect ourselves from using our theology to keep us from being image bearers.
Those who do not grieve with God miss the chance to hear our sweet Savior whisper His “me too.” He too knows how it feels, to be at the mercy of unjust systems. He too knows how it feels to bank on a Father to protect Him. To pour out His heart and hear the silent ‘no’.
He too had to trust this is a long game; that God is working something out that is cosmically and eternally essential. That God is finding the one way through this mess, and rejecting any way that demands He compromise a part of He is to elevate another attribute.
Our Father, who is above us all, show yourself to be all the characteristics you are. Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. And while you do that patiently and perfectly – give us enough grace to make it through today.