It's been an emotional day, for a host of reasons. For one thing, we hauled a trailer (and by 'we', I mean our Highlander) down to Seattle, unloaded our daughters' large pieces of furniture into their new apartment, which made sweat pour down at least one of our shirts (I'm not pointing fingers, but he does sweat mighty easily...always has!). Moving is always a sweaty work, though. A grumpy, sweaty work. Last night when the girls were picking up the U-Haul, the man handling the transaction asked, "Is this a good move?" They told him it was. It made me wonder how many terrible moves he must see from his side of the counter. Divorce, lost jobs, homes, lives...it's pretty sad to consider. So our grumpiness, in light of that, seems so unwarranted, so trivial. We should be celebrating--with great joy--what God is about here, rather than getting irritated because people aren't doing things exactly as I would want them to. OH, there it is. It's just me. The silly old mom, still wanting to tell her adult daughters where to put their furniture, dishes, etc. Wow, how hard it is to release the iron-tight hold I have on their lives. It's a life-long battle--this letting go of my children. I want to do it, but the mama in me just has to try to mama them. Sigh.
So that was one thing: that recognition that I was the one in the way. Deep sigh.
But there was also an inward struggle. One I also struggle to write about. I had a conversation this morning and afterwards, realized I was fighting not to feel offended. It doesn't matter what the conversation was, what counts is that my reaction was to feel offended. And then, in fighting that reaction ( I was in the car, and unable to get alone to pray--at least, that's what I'm telling myself now), I allowed that 'feeling offended' feeling to color the rest of my day, and my interactions with my daughters and Beve. Even with J, on the phone. It was like I got fat with myself today, if that makes sense. So caught up in my own defense (in an internal conversation with this other person), that I was no use to anyone here. And certainly no use to God.
And that, of course, is the point. As usual. The very epitome of being selfish, is when we're so pre-occupied with self, we cannot be His instrument. I am not my own. How many times does He have to remind me of this? I don't get to pick and choose when to respond like Christ, and when I get to respond selfishly. That's not the deal as one in whom He dwells. "I die daily," Paul says. These are much easier words to type than to do, aren't they? Only with Him, can I even say them at all.
And a final few thoughts:
I have wanted to write a few words in response to the post my son wrote the other day. I have always been very careful to respect his (and all my beloveds') privacy on this blog. And, when I am transparent about myself, it is not to call attention to myself but in order to trumpet God's glory. Nevertheless, I am awed that J feels strong enough to write with such raw honesty about his life. It gives me great hope. You have no idea. And that hope is the most important ingredient for living J's life.
About J's search for an authentic relationship with God, I will say two things:
First, we don't believe in the Triune God because we feel Him but because He's true. Experiences are quixotic things-- easy to manufacture, then just as easy to denounce (or revise history about). Experience or feeling, therefore, cannot be the foundation for a relationship. It must be more than that, because feelings change. To wit, divorce rates. The question is, is it true? Is Jesus Christ who He says He is? If He is, then He is worth our devotion. That's it. Even if you never feel His presence, even if you go your whole life on earth without ever sensing Him, if the Gospel is true and He is God, you must call Him Lord. There is no other response.
That's my second point: I absolutely agree that there are many, many people who are 'fake' (or inauthentic) in their faith. However, I also know of many, many others who have given their lives to Christ, then live out those lives on this planet without ever 'feeling' Him, with no real experience of Him. Faith and obedience. And He honors that devotion beyond measure. And I believe--no, I am as certain of this as I am of this couch on which I sit--that when these dear saints finally have the doors thrown open to the throne room, they will hear God Himself standing and applauding them for their lifelong, great faithfulness.
That said, I pray, for my son and for all who earnestly seek Him, that He will reveal Himself to each in such a way that they will know He is God and He is not silent. That He will heal them of all their diseases, lift them up where they've fallen or simply (but importantly!) meet them in their ordinary lives and transform them. Once and for all.