My Bible has become a mere book, page upon page of laws and legalities that overwhelm me; a collection of penned promises that don’t apply. His word bound up in should-dos and must-dos I can not accomplish. Every day, every moment falling short. Failing. I’ve made a mockery of bloody thorn and piercing death, of a man on a cross on a hill. All for naught.
Church has become a building along the side of the road, its marquee a marker of my insufficiency, my ineptitude. It is a holy place. A perfect place. Its doors open and opened to those on a purer path. Those clean and pure and good. I don’t measure up to those walls so high and grand and firm; those walls encasing and holding the pure of heart.
Prayer has become stifling, a slow suffocation of chronic disease and decay. A slow death by way of what I could not do, could not be. My shortcomings a hangman’s noose I myself strung; my thoughts and deeds and desires my own verdict; my failing and falling away the platform giving way, feet dangling in empty space. In nothing.
The failing. Always the failing. So sick of “sorrys” and “forgive mes”. So sick with repenting then repeating, reliving. So sick on me and my Self and my every thing dangling in empty space. In nothing.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Just once. Just once I want to open His book or walk through His doors or kneel in His presence without “I’m sorry” preceding. Just once. Just once I want to be clean and pure and good. Just once I want to be worthy. Acceptable. Just once.
But I am not. I am ugly. Ugly as sin inside and out.
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I say I’ll try harder tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do better. Be better. I’ll do right and be right. Tomorrow. But tomorrow becomes tomorrow again. And tomorrow again. And over and over again.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
How does one so unworthy call upon Perfect Perfection? How does a sin-filled shell walk into a sinless sanctuary? How does someone so ugly walk beside Beauty no eye has ever seen?
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
So I avoid. Avoidance becomes art; pure artistry side-stepping and averting and running down every detour I myself can find. And every detour presented me like forbidden fruit guile-disguised and beckoning.
Here. You’re safe here. It’s easier and faster and oh so tasty. You’ll like it. You’ll enjoy.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
My Bible becomes a bookend. My church mere landscape. Prayer a dream I thought I had.
And I hide. I hide from Him and inside me. I hide in me and my Self and Darkness unfurling. I wrap it around me and seek shelter there; shelter from Him and me and this world and the tripping ups and falling downs. I park myself, unmoving, collecting dust like a book on a shelf.
If I don’t move, I can’t fail.
Have I not commanded you?Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
But there’s not just me in me. There is something else. Some One else. There is a pulse. A breath. There is a breathing in and a breathing out reverberating off and with and in each beat of my heart. It is alive and moving. Its breath becomes my air. It is in me and it is me. It is all and every thing that I am, can be, will be.
Try as I might to avoid it, to suppress it, there is no way, no means, no strength to over power it. It is ever present and all consuming. It is bigger than me and my sinful self and the darkness I try to hide in.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Yes, it is alive and growing and moving and calling out.
It calls out
It moves and pushes and pulls and calls again
and it says
and it says
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16
And I’m pulled from me and in to Him and a Hope so bright I can see nothing else: no fault so deep no sin so dark. I am pulled in to a Peace so pure there’s nothing I could ever do to taint it. I’m pulled in to a Love so big I can never leave it. Never.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
And that Love says
You are my child. My faltering child. You can not walk alone. You will fall. You need me.
And it says
Does a babe condemn itself while learning to walk? Who chastises a child for what it does not know, for what it can not do, for what it has not yet learned to be?. Is a babe at fault for being a babe?
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
And He who is Love says
Hear me: My word is for you.
Know Me: My sanctuary is yours.
Feel me: I AM, and I am in you. Eternally.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And He says
You are my child. My babe. Here is my hand. Take my hand. Cling tight. Do not let go. Not ever. I’ll teach you to walk. In fact, I’ll teach you to run. I’ll even teach you to fly. Yes, to fly. So very high. As high as eagles.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Author’s Note: A very dear friend of mine, pencil artist J. Elizabeth Gyles Johnson, is encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone which, for me, is solitude. After all, Jesus didn’t hide His light. He climbed the highest peak and shared His message with multitudes. That is the point; isn’t it? To spread the gospel, the good news of the one true, saving King. So, with that in mind, I’m stepping out and joining up with other writers who are also sharing His story.