Come Down, O Thou Great Jehovah
This won't be a well-written post; I'm too tired for that.
I'm tired of things that I can't justify to any other person. I'm tired of love--all the abundant affection that I feel so utterly undeserving of. I got a gift just recently for my birthday, and I can't even look at it without feeling so undeserving of having received what I asked for. Who was I to ask for it? I bring no value to anything.
I'm not being self-loathing. I'm being honest.
Even when I show love towards others, it fulfills my own desire to love and be loving. I can't see a single person without filtering them through myself. I can't consider a single situation without weighing how it would affect me. I can't see a classmate or a friend without comparing myself to them subconsciously--almost to an unnervingly subconscious level.
I could live if only I wasn't always there. Living without myself in the picture would be so much easier.
And the simple answer is: "get over yourself!", right?
But how can I box up those feelings of self-loathing with the big red tape of shame? How can I shut down the pity party without self-berating and without some part of me being overwhelming revolted?
I can beat myself up as much as I'd like, but I'll still be here to put myself to bed and get myself up in the morning.
But the most anger, and the most grief, comes from the place where the solution is supposed to filter in. I can't seem to look to Jesus because I'm looking through my red-blurred eyes. I'm still stuck inside myself no matter how hard I try. Oh, I've got the Bible notes. I've got the New Testament Survey and the Chapel recording and the Bible Study. I've been Bible-thumped upside the head enough for a life-time. I've got to the point in my life where the Devil sounds most like a Baptist Preacher.
"So read your Bible!", you tell me. And what if the Bible runs dry for me? It can't be the Word's fault, I know, so somewhere down the line the fault belongs solely to me. The preacher rams his Bible down my throat, but when I try to grasp hold of mine, I feel it slipping through my fingers. Would it surprise you to hear that the more I read it, the more devastated and confused I get?
Recently, half of the reading doesn't make any sense--oh, the greek-scholar knows the truth and the veteran church-member can justify the phraseology, but I'm lost. At one point, they tell me I don't take God's Word literally enough, and yet when I come to them with a passage I can't justify, they have a way to crow-bar it into the life-style I've always lived. Maybe I'm just not as used to this idea of fitting God into my gaps. And the other half of the reading terrifies me.
I wouldn't be surprised if I knew the word "Jesus" or the word "God" before I knew the word "mom" or "dad". God has been used in every facet in my life. He's been an all-seeing eye to warn me with, He's been a coming judge to motivate me, and He's been a big old stick of retribution's discipline. And, then, there is an accepted idea that God is, of course, kind. That was so much of an understood when I was younger, that it went almost unmentioned. "Of course, God is good, but don't you dare cross Him." And so when I set out to try and understand God for myself, the idea of His goodness became this fragile thing I had to protect. I worked so hard to get the idea of a gun-toting God out of my head and replace it with a Sovereign who was entirely invested in my life with more grace than I could ever understand. But, then I read about Him. I read about my Beautiful God who holds me everyday in grace and mercy. I see Him clearly in Psalms, Song of Solomon, and the Gospels of Jesus. But, where is my loving God in the Prophets and Revelation?
People tell you that God is gracious for any mistake, but sin and then feel the Bible thumped hot-and-heavy against your head. And how do I justify that when I read God's proclamation to the Revelation churches that they either confess their sins or receive His retribution before they even realize their time has come? How can I focus on a merciful one or two chapters of the Prophets while God spends the rest of the book graphically describing punishment?
Everyone else seems to have Jesus in their shirt pocket. They walk around with the Joy of the Lord, never doubting that God is good all the time.
And I can't write these things without feeling immense shame. Who am I to doubt God's intentions or His Word or a worship that thousands seem to be able to thrive in while I feel like I'm drowning in the fundamental question of "Who is God"?
And maybe your answer is: "He's too big to understand. Just accept Him as too big for you". That's easy to say until a mistake is made and you're left to wonder whether your God is in fact the Psalmist's God of ever-enduring mercy or John's God of swift-coming judgement. It's an okay ideology until you call for Christ and are left to wonder whether He is the God who always hears us or if He is the God who will not regard us if we hide iniquity in our hearts. And iniquity-- all my life I've been told we are sinful beings bound to fight with the flesh till the day we die, but further explanations of the Bible reveal countless passages about the saved walking free of sin.
So, which is? Is God merciful or judging? Does he hear me or only sometimes? Will I always be a sinner bound down by even presumptive sins, or have I been expected to live free of sin for years now?
This year makes a decade that I've been saved, but my progress doesn't show much, does it?
And for hope, what is there to hope in? If I gain more things or more love, I will just continue to resent it as too good for me. There will always be another night to fall apart and another passage of Scripture to send me reeling. There will always be anxiety over not being far enough along and shame over wasting so much time already. And, when I get to heaven, won't there be shame because I could have done more or judgement for the things I chose not to do?
It sounds hysterical, but it's the sincerest I've ever been.
God, I need You to plead Yourself. The Jesus I accepted as my Savior was loving, and I can't continue in the service of an unmerciful God. Spirit, I need You to fill these awful wounds, and reconcile my relationship with Your Word. I'm tired of preachers and evangelists and teachers telling me who You are. I'm tired of Paul and Peter and John telling me who You are. If You are to be my God, I need You to show up for Me. Don't give me blessings. Show me that You are loving, then teach me how to love. Show me You are merciful, than show me mercy. Show me You are good, because I can't take anyone else's word for it any more.
There is a crowd around You, Jesus, and they want me to be quiet. I know it's undignified. I know it might well be wrong and shameful and a sin. But, God, I'm calling out for You. I'm calling You out, God. Come down on me. Come down like David saw in Psalms if that's how I'll see You sincerely. Come down on me like Elisha over the Shunamite's child if that's how I'll see You honestly. Come down on me God with the voice of a whisper because my ears are ringing from all the preaching I can't abide and all the praise I can't share.
I am the blind Man by the side of the road, God. And, I'm angry, and I'm grieved, and I'm beyond afraid. If it's in Your character, God--Jesus, Thou Son of David--have mercy on me.