This is an excerpt from a letter I sent to a friend recently. Sometimes thoughts in the form of a letter come more easily than a normal blog entry.
In the car, on the way home this weekend, I was listening to the song "One pure and holy passion." One part of the song says, "give me one pure and holy passion, to know and follow hard after You." I've always loved this song, but have always been afraid to REALLY sing it as a prayer...knowing that following God often entails pain, sorrow, trials, and grief (you and I are acquainted with both). To sing this as a prayer is basically, in every sense of the word, "asking for it." I'd be asking for the pain, sorrow, trials, and grief that come from following God. What idiot would do that?
As I'm writing this, I know the song says, "to know and follow hard after YOU." Follow after GOD. To know GOD. I'm so consumed with the outcome of what that means that I'm missing GOD. I'm confirming that I don't really KNOW God. If I did, I wouldn't care about the pain, sorrow, trials, and grief. Because God would be worth it.
Sometimes I think I know God. I get the warm fuzzy feelings and have sudden urges to read my Bible. I see evidence of His hand in my life and it will stir emotions that make me cry or gawk in disbelief. I get irritated with people who act like they know everything about God...because you just couldn't possible know EVERYTHING about God. He's just too big. And then I feel proud of myself that I KNEW God well enough to know He was too big to understand.
This all leads to a grand conclusion. If I want to know God, it's to know Him for what I can gain from Him or what He can do for me. If I don't want to know God, it's because I'm afraid that knowing God will bring bad things that wouldn't happen if I didn't belong to Him. My motivation for knowing God and following Him are completely selfish and self-motivated. My "passion" for God is not pure or holy as the song says. In fact, it's pretty twisted.
So, all the pain in my life, all the things that I loved that were taken away or the unwanted disturbances to the ambiance of my life, have all been little tugs at my heart. They've been silent questionings, asking me WHO do I love. My answer, for the most part, has been that I love myself.
I do love myself. And unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) my mind that is determined to understand why I am making decisions won't let me budge until I know why it is wrong to love myself and why it's better to love God. Satan wants me to believe it's not worth it and God has and always will be holding out the good things. Satan wants me to believe that the good things in my life would have been there with or without God. What is the point in following hard after God?
I know I'm not standing on a precipice. I'm not making a decision to walk away from God. But I am making a decision about how much further I'll allow God to lead me. Has it gone far enough? Am I "good enough." Stop already, God, I don't want to go any further.
Is this King, this heavenly Father, this Holy Spirit, this Prince of Peace, worth loving and following...no matter what the cost? Do I want to know Him? Do I want to follow Him? And could I tell any living soul that I meet that it's totally and completely worth it?
When I told you the other day that I was right behind you, it's that I know I'll be able to answer these questions. I know that God will show me the answers. I know freedom is right around the corner. I know it.
But for now I feel I'm just waiting. I'm on the verge of a great discovery. But pushing progress never succeeds. So I'll continue to wait until I meet the answer face to face. I'm as fearful as I am excited.
I'm also really hungry. Literally. And my computer battery is about to die.
And YOU my dear friend, are one of the best things in my life.
I love you.