Joining the Five Minute Friday community a little late this week to write on the prompt:
Psalm 84: 11 AMP
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and favor and honor; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
When I was a preteen, my heart yearned for the deep down grace I saw in new believers’ hearts, in those who had lived in darkness as children and came to Christ as adults. They had something I wanted. Something I knew I didn’t possess. God gave me what I wanted and yet I didn’t see that until more than twenty years later.
What did He give me? He gave me a heart spilling out in the midst of trauma. He gave me light shining into my darkness. As a preteen and teen, that scared me. I wrestled with what was spilling out. I was afraid of God’s light. No, I was terrified. Why? Because I believed good Christian girls didn’t struggle as I did.
What was spilling out most? Distrust, doubt, anger, pain and unbelief. And in my wrestling, I yo-yoed between turning toward and turning away from God. Between numbing and pouring out. Between sinful distractions and brutally honest laments. There were ugly moments of sin and there were beautiful and powerful moments of mercy.
Until, my eyes began to rest more on human idols than they did on God. Until I began to see God, through the lens of man. Until Scripture, which was used to justify a truth void of grace, began to frighten me, rather than move me to trust and faith. Until I no longer worshipped God, but man, believing man to be God personified.
When I finally fled my idols, believing those idols to be God, it didn’t take me away from God. Instead, my Prodigal path set my Savior’s sovereign plan of redemption into action. He guided me blind, as without even knowing it, I began to walk into truth and grace. Into the depths of His mercy and His everlasting love not just for me, but for each one of His children.
When He opened my eyes to faith, I returned to my idols without even realizing it. My as yet untransformed, legalistic mind turned toward explaining away, controlling and sinking my feet into what was known and safe. Until my untransformed mind began to grate with the mind of Christ at work in me. Until my Savior challenged me to question what I had always believed to be true and what others told me was true. Until He encouraged me to still to hear His Voice, and to surrender to His will. A will that called me, not to clamp down in control or to sit still in my known, but to step out into the unknown deep.
It’s then, the trauma that first began my Prodigal journey was triggered again, as I met the same religious responses I once did as a child. But this time, as I wrestled and yo-yoed between sinful numbing and brutally honest laments, my roots of faith did not give way. Instead my feet did not move, even as I longed for them to, because my roots were no longer shallow, but growing deep. They stretched out through the darkness of the earth below to drink from my rivers of delight: Christ.
I cried out to God again and again and again, and each time, He heard my cry. He reached out and drew me up out of the deep, setting my feet upon the Rock. In my terrible lack, I discovered not just once, but again and again, that in Christ I lack no good thing. God has begun to break open the seed He planted deep in my heart all those years before (Psalm 139:12 ESV):
“even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.”
Praise God! “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
Leanna Tankersley, On Being, P.154 – 155
“Who has the capacity to sit compassionately with herself, over and over again, when all she wants to do is condemn? Who, among us, has the Love within to forgive herself again and again? Who can open their hurting heart that has clamped shut yet again? Who could let God in once again, even though our faith has not protected us from disappointment, maybe even devastation, maybe even disaster? When we’ve been burned by people who said they believed too? Who could have the resilience and resolve to go on believing when faith hasn’t seemed to produce much of anything? Or so it feels today.
I’ll tell you who: none of us […] we will never—not one of us—be able to muscle our way through it.
God, in his grace, shows us the door, and Love, only LOVE, invites us through. We bring that wounded, wide-eyed part of ourselves to him—the one we’re constantly tempted to appease. We do this over and over and over again. And then, the truth is, there’s really not that much to do. We bring him our burden and he gives us rest.”