Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23rd

I've been walking through a lot of confusion lately. I don't care how valuable I know it to be- I don't like being in the middle.

It would be nice if I could pretend to be better than I am- more trusting, more obedient, more intelligent and quick to grasp these things, but I won't. If I did, I would be lying.

I'm still wrestling with how much of these experiences are my responsibility, for one thing. You know, I've been wrestling with this the entire time, and all I have is paradox.

A few nights ago, I was filled with such longing to know Him without this through-the-glass-darkly crap that I wept. It hurt.

"Why am I like this?" I cried out to Jesus, in desperation. "What do You want from me?"

I did not get an answer in words. What I got was a glimpse of His own suffering, through and with me.

I told Jesus yesterday that I wanted to test Him, to see if He would abandon me if I turned my back to Him, but I wasn't doing that, not because I wanted to be obedient, but because I doubted if He would keep me or not, if I did that.

So, I was being brutally honest. Which is scary, I know, but I didn't reach this level of intimacy with God by sugar coating anything.

I didn't get a clear answer, other than His love and understanding. It's not as if my thoughts ever take Him by surprise.

Later, I sat in bed and read the psalms and my thoughts wandered.

I thought about traditional Christianity and for some reason, I thought of Ann of Green Gables.

As an adult, in the later books, she seemed to personify traditional Christianity for me- having good character traits with just enough quirky personality flaws to make her interesting, having a working and almost poetic knowledge of Scriptures and a charitable feeling for the community and, above all, a respectful distance from a kind but formal God.

I was tempted by this form of Christianity. I thought to myself, absently, "That sounds like such a pleasant and undemanding way to relate to God."

And, unexpectedly, Jesus spoke to me, His voice in my spirit clear and quiet.

Not for you, Jesus said.

Allll- riiighty then. Not for me the pleasant and formal distance.

No, apparently Jesus wants us up close and personal, with all the messiness that implies, with all the unanswered questions worked through together, over time.

I'm beginning to wonder that maybe Jesus answers our questions through messy and challenging experiences as opposed to a simple answer because He wants our knowledge to be built into who we are, not just dropped into our heads.

I returned to the psalms, and I read this:

"To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause."
Psalm 25:1-3

I read that over and over again, and as I did, I felt Jesus very close to me.

The psalm continued:

"Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day."
Psalm 25:4-5

Those words just reverberated in me. I reached out for Jesus, and He bent His head toward me and I whispered those requests right into His ear.

It gave me the shivers. I knew absolutely that He would answer me, and that the growing understanding of those answers would continue to shape my life.

This morning, when I stood at the open French doors, I looked up at the sky all swirled with layer upon layer of silver gray cloud.

I thought of Jesus somewhere high above that smothering mess of atmosphere- aloof and removed.

I am not up there, Jesus told me, His voice full of tender love.

He drew my yearning heart down from the clouds and back to the present, to the messy reality, to me, where He lives.

But only for the time being- one day, this cloudy curtain will get drawn back, and I will see Him as He is. I will know fully, even as now I am fully known.