I try to sneak out for a daily jog. A few times I have taken a spill. Sometimes there is a reason like a bumped up side walk, other times I just fall. The one common aspect of these falls is the first thing I do after the fall. I look around to see if anyone saw me. Why? I am guessing it is my pride. No one likes to be seen “falling”. I mean how many of us would post a picture of us falling on facebook? For some reason it doesn’t seem to be a common thing amongst believers to admit their failures and to be broken. Ann Voskamp asks a thought provoking question:
“What if the church was a place where our most broken places could be seen and we were loved in those broken places?”
I can’t quite imagine a place like that. It sounds like heaven.
I think that most of my life, most Christians that I have met have pretended to have no problems, no real sins. It has never really felt that I could be real with my struggles. Until now, as I have no option. I have no way to pretend anymore. I am a messed up , broken human so very much in need of a God that knows what it is like to be wounded, rejected and feel fear. Scott Peck points out “How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded!” Why do we do this?
“A bruised reed He will not break…” Matthew 12:20
In the above verse the reed is an emblem of feebleness, of the soul broken and contrite on account of sin, weeping and mourning for transgression.” And yet the Lord will not break it, or be severe, he will not be unforgiving or cruel. He will heal it, pardon it, and give it strength. Somehow it is in this place of brokenness, of our falling down, that He sees us. It is in our very place of weakness we are made strong in Him. Back in November I came to that ultimate place of brokenness. I call it my dark night of the soul, my garden of Gethsemane, in which I asked of the Lord, “can this cup pass from me?” The answer was no.
“All my brokenness is a whisper that I do not belong and every time I don’t feel like I belong, the Scarred and rejected God whispers, “come here my beloved.” Ann Voskamp
God has a way of taking care of our pride if we are letting him “mess with us” as Tim Mackie would say. Being a follower of Jesus is so very hard: taking the narrow gate costs us. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech before his assassination he gave a stunning commentary on the story of the Good Samaritan. He said,
“ And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”
Something does happen to us when we are obedient to God’s call. And yet in comes the paradox of the Kingdom, “If I spend myself in love for your benefit; it looks like I loose, but actually I win” Tim Mackie. Somehow my loss in this world is transformed in the here and now for another’s benefit and in the Kingdom that He has asked us to pray to come.
We have a savior who won by dying, so why should we be surprised when He says: Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
As Ann Voskamp says, “We each carry an unspoken broken.” My prayer is that we each can find a way to find and speak our unspoken broken with Him.
And there we find our battle to struggle our self-will. The brokenness somehow moves this process along. We no longer have a self-will. Somehow our will becomes replaced with His.
A line from a prayer by Thomas Keating:
“In the greatest of labors, the struggle of self-surrender, You are our repose—-our peace in the depths of our souls.”
In each day of hard, I would not trade it for this gift I have found: Him, Jesus, lover of my soul, closer each day and in every way. I need you so very much Jesus. Amen.