For His anger lasts only a moment,
but His favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NLT
I’d like to take a moment to talk about time in relation to the Cross. This verse made me so angry a few days ago. I’ve endured more than a few dark, weepy nights without the promised joy in the morning. I’m tired, people. I’m tired of the nothingness broken by bouts of weeping and repenting followed by brief flashes of His joy followed by… a new round of nothingness. What is happening?!
I’m experiencing the aftermath of my little god’s death – and my own. Moving into month five of cigarette-free living, I’ve yet to experience the steady thrum and bliss of resurrection life that I’ve always found on the other side of big repentance. A friend was telling me about his attempts to quit smoking. He said that he’d tried many times, but never made it past three months. I was celebrating my six-week mark at the time and wondered about that. I don’t wonder any more. I get it!
I feel like I went from a Technicolor world to black-and-white. Some days, the only reason I don’t go buy a pack and light up is because I’m so mad at God. I’m so mad at being in the wilderness. I’m so mad that I still don’t really feel excited about anything. I’m so mad at feeling so dead, so often. I’m so mad at God that I refuse to start smoking again because I want to be able to say, “You didn’t hold up Your end of the deal! You’ve left me in acute misery and nothingness – that’s my reward for obeying you?! Well, watch me stay clean without YOU!” Sound familiar?
“Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”
Numbers 21:5 NLT
I am the Israelites in the wilderness. I understand why they were such whiny, angry twits – because I’m one, too! Everything they knew was gone. Life in Egypt was terrible, but they KNEW what that life held, day in and day out. They knew all the ways that they could comfort themselves. In the wilderness, they were completely and totally at the mercy of God. And they knew nothing! They wanted to be freed from slavery, but they didn’t want that freedom to cost them anything. I know this well.
In Foundation of Repentance, Martha said the following:
“We want to be filled with the Spirit, but not laid in the dust.”
“We want ‘the anointing’ but not the emptiness and
destitution of self that vacates man and welcomes God.”
“We want the glory, but not the nothingness.”
I am the living truth of these statements right now.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because this is also part of being a disciple. Like the Israelites, I’m wandering in the wilderness until the old me is dead. I’m not out here because God is a sadist; I’m out here because the old me is screaming and kicking still. I’m being disciplined into a whole new life, freed from the compulsion to move from one comfort to another, one little god to the next. That’s not living.
I’m sharing the grit of my daily reality because I’m probably not the only one who will spend some serious time in the land of sand and buzzards. And I want to offer you hope. In the midst of all of this, there’s a strange calm in the very core of my being, immovably quiet and unperturbed by the death and nothingness that has the rest of me falling apart. “Abide in Me, and I in you” is real and present and the true foundation that cannot be moved by the storms of life (Jn. 15:4). The life of Christ is undiminished, and it is the anchor that holds me fast. I am not alone and I have an Abba.
For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15 NASB
Thank you Jennifer! You are a writer and a very good one. I will look forward to hearing you, hearing Him. I am sure your struggle resonates with every one of us struggling with all kinds of little gods, and daily. One down, another pops up. Your honesty is so refreshing. Bless you!
Hosea 2:14-23…What an Amazing God – and ever with the Bridegroom heart …
Thank you for such perspective and reality Jennifer, and bless you! (Romans 15:12-13)
Your last paragraph made me cry. Would love to be there just to give you a hug and say, “Thanks!”
Jen, I remember in the vast howling wilderness of my agonizing death that it was bewildering. Then one day I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore, the old me had passed away. Then slowly Yahweh begin to fill me with himself, the new nature. It was a process. But the clouds did part and the sun did shine again. Thanks for being real Jen!
I understand the wilderness Jen and the desert. My death is painfully slow. The peace that resides in the inner core makes it all worth it. So glad to know the new Jen is being designed. I love you sister in Christ.
Yah…so true Those lesser gods I have gone for…are now becoming
nothing to me…and I want to be filled right now …thank you….
right when I want to…just like I did with my idols…Feeling dead and nothing today as well…in this time of repentance, just blah…I need His filling,,,maybe He is trying to show me like you said, not to go from one soulish comfor to another ….Or in my case one person after another to comfort me…He wants me to run to Him and stay put!!
I have been thinking a lot about this…and it all boils down to me a verse from a zhop song that says is soo well…Try as I may to seek another lover…I find there is , there is no other but You…no other but YOU..There is a love deeper than Our own , there is a love my heart longs for, there is reality beyond this age…there is a truth beyond the bray…and if I choose to , would you make me fall in love with you…If I ask you to…Jesus, Jesus, Jesus….Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…Would you make me fall in… Read more »