Monday, December 22, 2014

Cynicism and Weariness

Jun 2, 2013
Cynicism is a tricky thing.  It gives the appearance of evolved sophistication while masking its root of brokenness.  Have you ever met someone so coolly cynical that you wondered what brought them to that point?  I remember a co-worker in Los Angeles years ago that was steeped in cynicism when it came to matters of the heart, namely, men.  Upon getting to know her, I realized that her lack of faith in the male gender was due to her ex-husband’s betrayal.  The man she had trusted to love her forever, had not.  It’s an age-old story.  She buried her pain deeply, closing herself off rather than risk being hurt again.  But the defenses she put up didn’t allow healing to reach her either.  Her mistake was in believing that all men’s motives were the same.  Her expectations were skewed.  She carried a lonely burden and it exhausted her.
All cynicism is sad.  However, I think when it’s directed towards God and by his own people, it’s the saddest of all.  People blame God for all sorts of things.  If life doesn’t happen according to their preconceived expectations, they conclude that God has failed them.  Malachi’s people did this.
You have wearied the Lord with your words… By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17, ESV)
Notice the result.  They wearied the Lord.  It causes me pause to think I can actually weary God with my sin.  It’s not that he runs out of energy.  The prophet Isaiah tells us that the Lord “neither faints nor is weary” (Is. 40:28).  Rather Malachi says that God, who has proven his goodness and love time and again, gets weary of seeing his people persist with unbelief. 
I think one reason this unbelief is sad to God is because it plays out in our relationships.  When a person quits trusting God, the only one left to trust is human… and let’s face it, we disappoint.  Then when disappointment comes, the blame is on God all over again.  I get weary just thinking about it!  Distrust is exhausting.  But God understands our limitations.  He fulfilled his promise to the Israelites and provided an answer for us today, through Jesus, the Messiah.
How have you become cynical?  Do you weary in wondering when your burdens will lift?  Jesus invites us to bring them to him.  To learn from him.  To rest in him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV).

Spiritual Wasteland (Matthew 6:6; John 6:68-69)

Aug 23, 2014

I have found that when the first and last willful thoughts of my everyday are of and for God, that place we can all fight throughout our lives of "spiritual dryness" is no longer the issue.... rather my focus shifts from my thirst for intimacy with God to one of desperately drinking at his well of worthiness. And I choose to worship there - surrendering all I think and feel. 

When I willfully choose to practice the habit of taking everythIng to Christ- I find myself looking more at him than myself. When I shift my eyes from my lack and needs, to God's goodness and grace, I am not as concerned with the “status” of my spiritual life- wistfully remembering times of sweet communion with my Lord- as I am concerned about bringing him into all I live. 

It is in sharing these thoughts that they feel more real to me. It is in communion with his family that I increasingly feel I belong to Christ. It's not about acting upon my feelings... it is about acting upon my knowledge of who Jesus is and what he has done for me. Feelings are not necessarily an evil within themselves... yet they are seldom consistent. But Jesus is consistent. He is the place where I find and live my existence... which is forever. I choose my forever to be at his feet because he has lifted me up from so much pain, sin and anguish. 

This all can seem so ethereal and vague... yet I cannot wait for it to "seem" more real to me than my environment or circumstances. I cannot afford to waste any moment I have been given on trusting more in what I feel than what I know... I choose faith over fear, hope over anguish, peace over chaos. Those are the bedrock choices upon which I can best love my Creator, Savior and Master... Because he has loved me with an everlasting love I cannot comprehend... but I believe, because of his grace and mercy. 

Maybe some day I'll understand more of his powerful, fierce and holy love... but for now, it's enough to know him... to say he is my "all in all" without quite fully grasping what that means. He is so very trustworthy, that I see no alternative but to surrender my will into his loving care. And I am thankful he invited me in... and continues to pursue me every day. 

I take the love I carry for family and friends- the fears and worry for their well-being and mainly their eternities, and place them in his expert hands. I take this urgency I feel for others to know and accept him, and attempt to show them a fragment of his brand of love and compassion. 

I fail to do this well... But his mercies come every morning anew and I carry on accepting his invitation to daily rely upon his strength instead of my own poor reserves. The more I see Jesus and others through his eyes, the more I realize how much I don't see, and how far I have yet to go... but then... slowly... I begin to feel him more than I feel my lack of seeing him. It's not about seeing him "well enough" or "often enough," but just seeing him... in this moment... continually choosing what he reveals. 

This much I know... I am but a poor soul lifted up into the glorious presence of the King... And when I feel it, it's like no other experience in life... And when I don't... it's still the truest thing I live. 

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ‘And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.’”  (Mt. 6:6-8, ESV)

 …“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn. 6:68-69, ESV)