In which the mask comes off

In case anyone's wondering where I've been - I've been very discouraged and emotionally drained lately. The last few months have been difficult. I've been working hard. I've been reading and trying to understand C.S. Lewis - his simple faith and his incredible joy (and the inexplicable extremes of love & hate he seems to provoke in folks). I've been troubled by the state of our nation, on many levels. Many positive things are happening (which, as a Republican and a Christian I'm not supposed to acknowledge). And some pretty terrible things are happening (which, if I'm to look like a good Christian, I'm supposed to get indignantly outraged about.) I've been troubled by the way the Church by and large is addressing the great moral issues of our time - as if She herself was not made up of sinners struggling with their own moral issues. Troubled by how we look, to me and the onlooking world, like a bunch of miserable, judgemental, bickering, isolationists who would rather stand back and judge them than befriend them, offering to them the most joyous news imaginable. It's okay that Jesus was labeled a friend of sinners, but apparently I'm not supposed to be, even though I'm a sinner myself. I've been troubled by the lack of joy, in myself and in the church. If the gospel is really good news, why aren't we celebrating, laughing, talking non-stop about the amazing things God has done? Why am I not? Why am I not dying to tell whoever will listen about God's kindness and unthinkable love? Indeed, why am I not dancing in the aisles?

So, today I was busy at work - a house that should take 3 hours to clean that was such a mess it took 6. I listened to a series of teachings on grace. Six long hard hours learning about grace. Half-way through found myself crying and praying that what I was hearing was really true. I think I knew it once, in the beginning of my Christian life - but - where had it gone? When had I dried up and started hoping in my ability to please Him, trusting in my pathetic obedience and doctrinal precision? Having begun with the Spirit, am I now ending with the flesh? Did I experience so many things in vain? Does He who supplies the Spirit to me and works miracles in my life do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Perhaps I'll have a thing or two more to say about all this later - or - hopefully, I'll be talking about it for the rest of my life. First I have to make certain it's not too good to be true!

Comments

Andy C said…
It is when we feel lack of His presence and in the world that our faith is at its strongest; for when we feel alone is when we most need to just trust in Him, have joy in Him and know He is our sovereign God.

Our joy and rest is in Him, it is not surprising that the world fills you with concern, sadness and at times, anger. How else should something you are not part of make you feel?

We are promised salvation in Him, security in Him, not the world. It really does not like us, but we must live in it and try to be salt and light.

But you know in your core you are walking with a sovereign God, and when the race is over you will stand with Him, forever.
David Porter said…
Wow Laurie,

Seems like a clear case of the funk!

My prescription: go to the most beautiful place in creation that you have immediately available to you.

Bath in God's creation, read your favorite Psalm and remind yourself that you are in fact, a child, the adopted and chosen child, chosen from many, of a great King.

Imagine....God...the creator of the universe....chose...YOU!

Perhaps the funk is coming as the result of separation from our Father. Do we not long to be in the presence of Abba?

Abba,

Please come to the aid of my friend Laurie. Completely melt her with your presence. Change the very substance of her cells with the realization that you, the Creator of the universe, have grabbed her and consciously decided to place your love upon her.

Please lavish upon her that taste, that only your indwelling Spirit can bring about. Let that light glow stronger to not only encourage her, but shine such that all around her see your beauty in the simple smile of her face.

Abba, make her earthly marriage one that extols the beauty, and minding bending example of your love for us, your church.

And this day, Abba, after melting her with these profound truths, leave her with a peace that she has never before tasted. Move in her life in such a way that never more will she be able to return to this particular funk. Future funks will be from a higher place, securely rested in your love and care.

Thank you Abba, I come to you in the name of my Elder Brother, the Savior of my soul, the great Judge, eternities greatest example of love, my King...Jesus Christ
Betsy Markman said…
Bless you!
It's so easy to try to walk in the flesh, isn't it? It sneaks up on us, and we don't even realize it at first. But it always leads to misery, at least in the believer, because God wants us back! The emptiness helps us seek Him again. So I guess it's a "good misery," even though it doesn't feel good at the time.

Thanks for being vulnerable, and for sharing your hopeful joy!
ke4juh said…
Laurie,
Know that you are loved and that there is nothing you can do to change that. Jesus loves you and came into the world so that he could bring you home. When you were first called there was that excitement and newness in the experience which like everything in this world fades away but the good news is that you have reached paradise yet. The day you first believed you accepted the ticket to paradise but now we are in the stage of waiting for that day.

Of course, we could all go stand on crates in Times Square and yell the Good News at passing strangers; how strangely the world would see us then. Instead we follow God’s word

1 Peter 1:13-21 (ESV)
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Andi said…
Yes, I lack that joy often as well. It's only when I stop to consider the beauty in the tiny things, like a 3 year olds goofy grin, that my hard shell begins to crack. I'm learning that it's only myself who is building these high walls which block out the joys of His grace. (Not that your doing the same thing, just my experience!)
I love you!
jeri said…
Sounds good, Laurie. God is at work.
Laurie M. said…
Thanks, my friends, your prayers and words of encouragement are precious to me. My hope and prayer is that this will be a turning point in my walk with God. May God bless you all for your kindness to me.
barrywallace said…
Laurie,

I think you've just described the common experience of all Christians. I know I often find myself in the same frame of mind, and your honesty both humbles and encourages me.

It's always good to be reminded of our need for God's unfathomable grace. I'm reminded just now of some of the last known words of Martin Luther: "We are beggars: this is true."
Lynn Cross said…
God takes us through times like that in order to show us the parts of our hearts that are not trusting Him, or that we have an unhealthy attachment to. Barry quoted Martin Luther right, and I will also add that he said, "our hearts are an idol factory." What truth. I get through repenting of one, and almost before i am through, I hear myself say, "wow, aren't I spiritual." We as believers are always headed to our death to die to self, which leads to life, and then the cycle of sanctification begins again....I am praying for you. Love, Lynn
Laurie M. said…
Barry,
I'd give everything I have to understand God's grace the way Martin Luther did! Thanks.
I read your post and the comments. May God bless you. May He have mercy on us all.
Knowledge that is spiritual and knowledge that is sitting on the perceived line of theological rightness are not necessarily the same. It is good to have the latter and it makes it easier to be accepted and recognised by fellow believers among whom we walk.
But when we are exposed to believers like Lewis (and my dad,) we suddenly see others who are spiritually no less, to say in the least, than their counterparts in the perceived right line. For they clearly have the same Spirit working within them.
Thankfully, it is not for us to figure out the whole of the kingdom of God through the ages and across ecclesiastical divides, and theological positions.
Not that we should become liberal in our thinking, but just gracious and humble.
Laurie M. said…
-N-
That is such an important thing for us to remember, lest we become cold, rigid and legalistic - and fall from grace. Blessings to you dear sister.
haithabu said…
Laurie, it sounds like God has been bringing you back to basics. It is knowing Jesus which it is all about, and I know it's easy to forget.
Laurie M. said…
Phil,
You've got a way of summing things up. That's exactly it. I'm going back to pure trust in Christ. May God help me!!

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