Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crushed, yet drawn…

Christians are people who always have hope. God never leaves his children alone and we will never find ourselves beyond his grip, out of his divine control and hopeless. But what does this look like? I've always had the misconception that this somehow meant you could always find some morsel of happiness regardless of the circumstance; that no matter how bad, there was always something to smile about. This may be true, certainly God has poured out many undeserved blessings upon his children, but there are times that the road is hard; and God allows it to be hard and finding a smile is cliché, shallow, and meaningless. There are times that tears and frustration overwhelm you and the hope you know is there is just a faint flicker in the distance; It's not that you're hopeless, it's just hard to grasp it.

There are those times you feel like God is crushing you, and yet He is the only One who understands you; the only One who can speak any amount of tangible comfort into your soul through the pages of His word. It's an odd dichotomy; to feel crushed and yet drawn all at once. I don't know if that's normal; its certainly nothing I hear about in the shallow, cliché "Christianity" I often see used to draw crowds, sell books, or increase giving. No, this is completely different. It's a difficult thing. It consumes you, it isolates you, it breaks you, but in that place you hear the words of your Saviour saying, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart O God, you will not despise." He will not despise my brokenness. That is the sacrifice he wants. He leads all of His children down that path; at different times, through different methods.

The Bible has countless examples of this; The woman who suffered for 12 years with an illness that caused bleeding, spent all her money on doctors and yet was worse after the treatments than before; God brought her to a place of brokenness before she met Jesus who instantly healed her. (Mark 5:15-34) Or take for example Jarius' 12 year old daughter who became gravely ill, and even died before Jesus went His home and raised her form the dead. (Luke 8:49-56) Twelve years of futile, expensive medical treatments, watching your daughter fall gravely ill and die; do we really believe these individuals didn't crumble emotionally; Of course they did, and God says that broken spirit is what he wants. He wants our brokenness.

Read the words of David in Psalm 88, "You have put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. Your wrath has rested on me and you have afflicted me with all your waves." David is broken, he is crying out. And this Psalm doesn't end in rejoicing. It ends with David lamenting that God has removed his "lover, friends, and acquaintances." He is alone, he is crushed, and God hears him. God doesn't look at Him and say, "Don't feel that way", or "Smile because I love you." God doesn't do that to his children. He instead, picks us up, holds us in his hands, and listens to us cry. He is the source of all good, and although I don't understand His ways, I do know that in His grip is the only place where true comfort is found, near His side is the only place I find the any consolation that calms my soul, and in his grip I will eventually find hope even if I can't see it today.
"Though He slay me, I will trust Him." Job 13:15

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