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Don’t Flinch

 

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
 
‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
 
Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Last Sunday, Tim Keller gave the vaguest anecdote (says the queen of extreme cross-references and name-forgetting) about a scene from a movie where a doctor tries to perform a delicate but urgent procedure to save a man’s life. They were in a war, and there was no anesthesia. He told the man that it would be excruciatingly painful when he removes the object inside, especially since there’s nothing to dull the pain. But while he’s doing it, the man may not flinch. If he does, it will kill him.

I’m zoning into some of his points when it comes to what to do, for growth and grace in my life. (2 Peter 1:3-11) It couldn’t have come at a better time of stagnation and paralysis after being thrown off the horse (?) by The Thing That Usually Throws Me Off The Horse. Two points that struck me the most:
  1. If I want to grow, there is a price to pay.
  2. Don’t flinch. Stand your ground.

#1

Rather than making every effort to choose what is right or good, or God, I’ve been hoping that God will override my consciousness. What a lazy bum.

 

But now, I ask myself: Am I willing to pay the price to grow?

 

God does His part, but I have to make every effort on my end if I really want this anyway. Most basic: how can I expect to grow is I lose the very connection to the source of growth and the reason for it all, i.e., my relationship with God. Without having a relationship with God (which will somehow be cultivated through the discipline to pray and read the Bible, etc), nothing can even start growing. It frustrates me how much I mentally understand it, yet find myself not doing it consistently even if it’s the most important, sensible thing to do.

 

God, can you override me to become more sensible? But who am I kidding. I can choose, it’s just that I’ve chosen not to. I’ve walked more blocks for a good cup of coffee, and I’ve hiked harder than this just to say that I’ve climbed a mountain. Nothing precious ever came free. I’m alive, only because Someone paid an infinite price.

 

#2

Growth also calls for a way of acceptance. Of submission to God, for/of His will, and even submission in suffering. Perseverance through suffering doesn’t mean becoming a stoic. It doesn’t mean you can’t cry or scream. Looking at the story of Job, he cried, he vented it all out (and I can imagine, screamed). But through it all, Job prayed before the suffering, and he prayed after it. He kept after God. Perseverance is me, going through my honest spectrum of emotions for whatever experience, while still praying and reading the Bible––––not losing my relationship with God. That is not flinching. That’s how to go through the fire, the darkness, the war, the emptiness. That’s how to go through all the crap of human relationships, because that’s what hurts me the most (alas, I’m not impervious to it at all) and makes me the greatest cynic.

 

I ended up cutting myself off from God (again), and just like a man who flinches in a life-or-death-determining situation, I died. I’ve proven to myself all too many times that being away from God destroys me. But if I want the wounds to heal, the shrapnel inside needs to be removed, and the impurities cauterized. If the things inside are to be straightened, this is necessary. The gold needs the flame for the dross to separate. And while that’s happening, self, stand your ground. I don’t know how I’m going to want to thrash about and kick, but self, I’m telling you now, stand your ground.
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