Wednesday, January 19, 2011


"This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life." - Psalm 119

Abandonment. The word strikes all sorts of negative chords in my heart. Fear, anxiety, insecurity, restlessness, hopelessness, anger and deep, deep sadness. And yet for me and for many other Christians we live with a fear of abandonment by our God.

Why is this? What makes us so insecure in the reality of God's trustworthiness and promise? My guess is that as we begin to see more and more of who we are, we begin to see the audacity of thinking that we could be wed to God. I believe this is perfectly natural.

A friend of mine echoed this sentiment the other night when he said, "For the longest time I lived under the fear that God would abandon me, and it was a horrible burden to carry." He's right, it's too much for any of us to carry. If our hope is set on Christ, to make that hope precarious by believing that our merit gives or takes away anything, makes us profoundly insecure and unhappy.

I do this all the time. I have a really hard time believing that God accepts me, warts and all. And I know the right Christianeze, that God sees Christ's righteousness when he looks at me. But it's one thing to understand and another entirely to experience.

It's popular to talk about "leaning" or "pressing" into the Gospel these days. To these helpful terms I would add the idea of putting our full weight on what God says about us. As we do this, and we step out onto the shaky looking bridge of the Gospel, we find that it does in fact bear our weight (thank you Dan Gilchrist).

God's promise is sure. But what is his promise? That he will make all things new. That we will have life in Him. That everything will be made right. His re-creation of His universe began in the incarnation, reached his climax on the cross, and will culminate in his final return.

This is all well and good. But in the hum-drum of my everyday I really find it hard to believe. What difference does it make? I still seem as sinful as ever, even though I have seen growth. I still believe in my independance and resources, even though all the evidence points towards the futility of doing this. I still am angry, bitter, manipulative, selfish and self-absorbed even though I follow a God who as a human was perfectly in line with what it means to be holy and gave his life away.

I guess each day I've got to remind myself that first off, God will never abandon me. Second I've got to believe in the "even though"s I described above. And third I've got ask God to help me put my full weight on the Gospel alone.

Jesus plus anything is nothing. I've got to remember this. For it brings real joy, real freedom and confident happiness in my Rescuer, Friend, Father-God. And I believe it's the answer to our all to human fear of abandonment. For when we try God's bridge of the Gospel, it always holds.

As I heard expressed at a funeral, when we reach heaven's gate we will finally fully believe the truth that God's life for us includes us. We will express in incredulity "Me too!" and have the rest of eternity to ponder the love that chose not to abandon.

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