If God were a comedian…

…He’d be known for his great timing.

I’ve spent the last couple days wrestling with the Lord again. To no avail, of course. I really can’t put many words to it… just one of those spans of time where I find a lot of things frustrating but don’t really know what to do about them.

When I checked my mail and saw a letter from Ransomed Heart and our friend John Eldredge, I immediately thought: “This one is going to be timely, just like they usually are.” Sure enough, Eldredge put many words to what I couldn’t. It’s uncanny how this stuff works… but as I’ve been saying: “No surprises.”

I’m linking to the letter on his Web site for you to read. If I were to draw out the highlights, I’d end up posting the whole thing. But just in case you absolutely can’t find the time to read his whole letter (which I doubt is true), I’ll give you a few sentences:

The past year has had a great deal of pain for me. There has been incredible blessing too, but we’ve been through some really hard stuff. …What I noticed was that I was far more upset by these things than I ever am when God seems distant, when I seem to be losing my grasp of him. What is it with us? I am just stunned by this propensity I see in me—and in everyone I know—this stubborn inclination to view the world in one and only one way: As the chance to live a happy little life.

And there it is… my current state: “stunned by this propensity I see in me.” As I learn more and more what Christ really looks like (which is but an errant estimation of what he really looks like), I’m becoming more and more sickened by myself. And unfortunately, I find myself sickened by the church as a whole, which makes me feel even worse because I’m supposed to be interceding for the Bride, not being critical of her. Aghhh!!!

I’m so far off.

But there’s some hope. Eldredge highlights something I’m making subtle progress on: being “far more upset by these things than I ever am when… I’m losing my grasp of Him.” That’s been a major theme the last couple days. It seems the affect my frustrations have on my relationship with the Lord bug me more than the frustrations themselves, if that makes sense. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself now. If I were to cry out for God to search my heart and reveal any wicked way in me, something entirely different and repulsive may turn up 🙂 It’s sometimes hard to be honest with ourselves.

The thing is, for those in pursuit of the Lord, He’ll arrange for make-you-honest moments, also known as humbling/breaking experiences. They’re unavoidable steps along the narrow path. Eldredge touches on this in this bonus quote (you should still read the whole letter):

God must, from time to time, and sometimes very insistently, disrupt our lives so that we release our grasping of life here and now. Usually through pain. God is asking us to let go of the things we love and have given our hearts to, so that we can give our hearts even more fully to him. He thwarts us in our attempts to make life work, so that our efforts fail, and we must face the fact that we don’t really look to God for life. Our first reaction is usually to get angry with him, which only serves to make the point. Don’t you hear people say, “Why did God let this happen?” far more than you hear them say, “Why aren’t I more fully given over to God?”

Time to start obsessing about why we aren’t more fully given over to God.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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