Friday, June 15, 2012

Clinging or Compromising

Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access through faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God.
And not only so; but we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience trial; and trial hope;
And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.
Romans 5 DRA

I find myself here today when I should be at my school site, answering the question of how Native Americans and African Americans dealt with the issue of Christianity as it related to White society....because my own current question of the day is how as a woman separated from her husband, I am to deal with the issue of Christianity as it relates to American/Christian society.
I went to the bookstore yesterday because that's one of the things I do when I'm crying out to God for an answer or a response or a sign of some sort and I'm getting nothing.  I browse other's words, hoping for some insight or truth to get me through. And I walked out with: Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life  by Kathleen Norris; The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth by Gerald G. May;No Man Is an Island (Shambhala Library) by Thomas Merton and the one I went in for -Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner.

I think there was a theme, here.  It's not so much that I'm questioning God's existence.  It's that I'm questioning His seeming silence, His apparent allowance of my enemies to prevail,    If He is truth, why do I keep hearing the lies of the enemy?  If light has more power than darkness, why is the atmosphere dim? If I am free, why do I feel condemned?

And in a way, I know the answer to these questions. And I know that much, I have brought upon myself. That I forsook my first love.  That I allowed strongholds to take root.  I ignored the warning signs.  I became unfocused and searched for healing where there was none. Wrote words for peccary and pittances. And  out of self-pity.  I turned out of fear of my own sin.  Because as Winner writes, "my sense of myself as a Christian had become so wrapped up with my sense of myself as a wife that to question one was to question the other." 

 I read those words and I realize the dilemma in that.  The pride.  That marriage had become my god.  And I had developed pre-meditated resentments toward God as I prayed for my own will rather than His.  And so faced with my own disappointment and failure, I listened to the world's words rather than the Word.  I soaked up false niceties, stunned when they proved lacking.  

I thought I was clinging but now see that I was compromising.  And so now I confess.  

"I think of the Hasidic rabbi petitioning God for the gift of prayer, asking until such time as I can pour out my heart like water before You, let me at least pour out my words" -Lauren Winner

So I'm pouring words as prayers now rather than defenses.  Rather than cases, I'm making pleas.  I'm choosing to believe that I:

 may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth:
19 To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge,
-Ephesians 3
that Jesus loves me - as I am.  For how can I extend grace if I haven't accepted it? And the world needs grace.  It needs patience and love an prayer.  And if my pain and my new understandings have been purposed so that I might share with others, then who am I to question this?
I remember the lyrics to the Christmas song, "Away in a Manger" and I rest on the knowledge that when I sang this song year after year at Lutheran school, Christ heard me and answered.
Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever,
and love me, I pray!
Bless all the dear children
in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven,
to Live with Thee there.
And so today, as I find comfort in the words of others who have tread through that dark night and stood looking at the frightening face of a middle, I pray that God would show Himself in a real way to all those out there who are being tested now and who feel that awful silence, that they would know how deeply they are loved and that He does work all things together for good.


  1. Thank you for letting us in on your journey - for sharing your pain and questions, your heart and your mind. It is in your confession to live with authenticity before God and others that He will bring you himself. I was strengthened by your words today - as I walk - or rather stumble through my own twisted, dark, curving path, it is deeply encouraging to remeber that others walk here too.

  2. Thank you, Susan. Often, I feel like I'm coming here working it out,confessing even but don't know why. I am glad to here that out of my pain, I can somehow through God bring comfort to others, just as you have brought it to to me,through your own words.