Last week, I spoke to a young woman who is deep in the throes of the Cross and repentance. She was very undone by it all and found herself not knowing how to be or what to do or what was okay and was she terrible for just wanting to let go and do nothing?! This was SO very familiar to me, and probably to most of you, too. I’ve found that in the really big, heart-wrenching Cross encounters, my whole world actually shifts—and I have to learn how to BE all over again.
Part of my discombobulation comes from not being able to bear my own wretchedness. I just have to be clean! I can’t bear the thought of staying the same, of waking up tomorrow the same old me. So I can experience a fleeting hysteria or frenzy, and in that state, I am unable to be still on my own. God always comes to still me, either through scripture or other people, because He must. I simply can’t do it.
The other part of my topsy-turvy condition comes from seeing God. On the other side of major repentance, I glimpse God anew. He is no longer the same, and so I cannot possibly be either. This is where the world shifts, and my awe at who He is undoes my very core. I am tentative and dumbstruck, clumsy and unsure, at first. Our dance goes from the informal swing to the stately waltz. I know Christ better now, and that changes everything. I am returned to full consciousness that this is the King of kings, and there is a time of reverence that I am loathe to defile.
“Let be and be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) is a life Word to me for a reason. I need the command to be still. I need the Shepherd, and I am comforted by His rod and His staff (Ps. 23). In truth, I absolutely must have His thundering correction because there is still so much in me that is of the world on one thing in particular: being vs. doing.
If I am not producing something, or doing something that is in some way productive, then I am worthless. This worldly value, above all others, is insidiously present in every cell of my body. I remember a conversation that I had with John years ago. I was visiting the ministry, and I didn’t really know anyone and I wasn’t saved. I was intensely passionate about Battlestar Galactica at the time, and John was asking me questions about it and I responded most effusively. At some point, likely when I stopped to draw breath, John said, “What do you think God thinks about you spending time watching this show?”
I remember having an actual physical reaction to that question. I knew with every fiber of my being that God was disgusted with me and thought I was ungodly and wasting my time and just generally useless in every way. My whole body slumped and curved in under the shame of what He must think of me. I don’t remember what I mumbled in response to John’s question, but I remember what he said to me after that. He said (paraphrasing), “I think God knows your heart, and has no problem showing up and speaking to you wherever you are right now.”
That was the last thing that I expected to hear! Was such grace possible? Didn’t God view me as an ongoing crisis and epic disappointment?! I was so sure that I knew just what the big, angry, frowny-face in the sky thought about me—and everything that I liked. I knew nothing then, and I know nothing now until God tells me. He is the Shepherd, and He reveals His will to me – always! Not only do I not have to parent myself, constantly diagnosing and analyzing independently, but it is SIN to do so! I am to be, just BE a sheep in His pasture, listening to my Shepherd’s voice and obeying what He says.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge
(to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world,
but that the world might find salvation
and be made safe and sound through Him.
John 3:17 AMP