Thursday, August 26, 2010


My fingers are numb, hot and slow as they move across the keyboard this morning. Sort of like my heart. It feels numb and slow (I don't know about hot) when it comes to things of religion these days.

Do you ever find yourself not feeling it? Someone says something like "Isn't Jesus amazing?!" and you just want zap them and watch them disintegrate into a pile of dust. Life doesn't have that gloss that you expect it to have. You're not excited about your salvation and you've lost the joy. The existential import of what happened on the cross seems not so "import"-ant (ha). It feels separated from you by about 2000 years.

But how's it supposed to feel? Are we to walk around in ecstasies of bliss all the time? Obviously not. God wants us to feel grounded in something higher, deeper and wider than an emotional experience. He wants us to to recognize his loving immanence.

Yesterday, my pastor reminded me again that God is not only transcendent but also immanent. The word "immanent" brings to my mind pictures of a presence that is immediate, beside, with, and for. That's what I need to hear when my heart is dull and weary. We serve a God that not only has done amazing things, the amazing thing, but is close to us.

Closeness is the antidote to the distance I feel in my heart. And since God is immanent, with me in every moment, I know he'll help me have the passion for "the passion" and his boundless, furious love that was expressed on that cross 2000 years ago. But I'm going to wait on his timing. Forcing sentiment is a sure-fire strategy for disenchantment, discouragement, skepticism, and loss of hope.

So what do we do when are hearts are hot, slow and numb? Remember that the God who did it all, who poured out such passionate love 2000 years ago, is the same God who wants to draw near to us today, regardless of our emotional brokenness. In fact, it may just be because of our emotional brokenness that he is so close to us today. Closer than we dare hope.

May he turn me back to his cross in his timing, enabling me to feel his presence in the wasteland. Until then I'm going to fight false sentimentality, for it ruins the message of the cross: the message that now God has drawn near to us, not us to him.

"Blessed are they who have not seen, but believe." I cherish this blessing today and so do my fingers.

1 comment:

SAN said...

Thanks, Philip. I'm in the same boat. Good timing...good thoughts.