Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Be Prepared for the Truth
I really thought I was prepared for the truth then. I thought I knew what was coming. I was wrong in everything except the very basic idea that everything I knew about God was wrong.
I expected to be turned into a functional Christian. Someone who could do what needed to be done in the church, someone to learn more details and start really following Jesus. Soon, however, like within a couple of weeks of that lunch with Keith, the story started taking a strange turn. God didn't seem to be as interested in a functional Christian as He was in a real human being.
"This is great," I thought. "God's going to make me a real person, not just the automatic fake I've been all these years." A few months went by along this track. I was kept busy by the church activity and various other things, such as writing stories about my experience. By the time I awoke to what God was really doing it was much too late. My feet were on a greased ramp. There was no return, although I have spent some time trying to find purchase on that slippery track, to at least arrest the descent. This was to no avail.
I knew where I was headed. Disaster. Becoming a real person has ramifications I hadn't considered at the start. Such as being aware of what I was feeling, and needing to be aware of my place in the world. The need for awareness implies a need for removal of the cotton batting I'd wrapped around my consciousness.
Eventually I got over that hurdle and went back to life. Fighting God is tiring. Just ask Jacob; at least I didn't a dislocated hip out of it. I did get a gimpy knee.
A few more months go by. I start thinking about happiness and other forbidden fruits. Beyond that are hints of other things even more terrible, so I hit the road again and this time was determined not to quit running or fighting. I didn't even want to know what the issue was. In the past I've carried on battles like this and managed to walk away unscathed other than in memory.
God, however, doesn't ever give up. He reminded me at times of what I'd said to him. "Whatever it takes, Lord, to keep me with You. Show me the truth." He didn't beat me over the head, or set my tail on fire, or put spikes in the path. No, He just gave me the occasional gentle reminder that was quite clear for all its quietness.
I also had memory. While it has become dulled by the passage of time and events, I still remember what the summer of 2003 was like. Did I want to die that way, or did I want to get killed by God?
That's really what was at issue. Self-concept. I am strong, I ask for nothing, I need nothing except what I can do for myself. If I can't do it by myself, I don't need it.
God was making me more dependent upon Himself. I couldn't believe this at first; the objective of raising children is to kick them out of the nest. The God of the Universe was removing the structure I'd used to make life bearable, and I was thereby becoming dependent upon Him for more than spiritual guidance.
Following Jesus is, in many ways, like driving a car from Denver to Poughkeepsie while rebuilding it. Who holds the pieces together while you're driving? God Himself. Life has to go on; you can't just stay parked for the time it takes for God to heal the sickness. So, you go on, limping at times, going sideways, wondering where you are in the moonless night, but going on because God won't let you quit.
Self-concept gets in the way. I know who I am! I don't need to be redefined!
If your self-definition worked so well, then why did you yell for help? Why couldn't you see beyond two or three months?
Can I trust you? Everyone else has sold me out!
Who picked you up, who listened when you were in such a tailspin that, added to the core hopelessness, you'd never have pulled out? Who calmed the spin? And who has made provision for all of your difficulties, from the beginning? Who has held you patiently while you kick and scratch and claw, trying to get free so that you can go back to that dead-end leading to oblivion? Who has let you run and run and run? I am that I am, unlike anyone else. And... who has held you when you've been exhausted, worn out and needing calm?
Oh, yes, tell me about that. Just another ploy. Kindness to dissolve my resolve.
Do you really think so? You may feel as if you're being destroyed...
And it's all for my own good, I'm sure. "This hurts me more than it hurts you," you say.
...but you did ask for change. You needed to change.
I'll agree with that, but you're making me incompetent! If this keeps up I'll have to have your help with everything!
Who breathes life into you at every moment? Who do you think understands you best?
I've chased around this circle until I'm sick of it. In the past fatigue has decided the issue, but God really doesn't quit. He even led me to a meeting with a co-worker in the hallway this morning, who asked me how I was. I gave him some hints, not knowing how much to say, and he was on the scent like a bloodhound. I ended up telling him my worries about becoming too dependent upon God, and he said "That's as it should be. Our very breath comes from Him."
I had an easier time trusting God for truth when that truth was rational. Now that His truth has moved deeper, making me the kind of person I've always deplored, I have a very hard time trusting. It's not that God is unreliable, it's that He's making into something I don't like. Or at least haven't liked in the past. Concept versus reality. I guess I'll find out what the reality is like, but only if God continues to hold me, step by step.