Wednesday, October 12, 2011


"You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters." - Leviticus getting crazy!

Perhaps the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. Maybe the rain and fog is getting to me. Maybe it's just that it's hot in Starbucks today and my brain feels stuffy (allergies don't help). But I'm trying to read God's word and finding it impossible to focus. I can best summarize my feelings as "Blah!"

Of course I have friends meeting beside me, and my cosciousness keeps floating over to their table, listening to their conversation and away from Leviticus and it's curses. I'm in the curses section. I barely want to focus. Man that's an ugly section of scripture!

Sometimes I don't know how to respond to this God of ours. Do you? He can seem so close one second and so far away the next can't he? I know he's always close, but it sure doesn't feel like it sometimes. And in scripture we see him absolutely raging at his people!

He's alien. When I see him cursing his people, I see a God that doesn't fit well on billboards and church signs. I see a God that's talking about making parents eat their children. Scary stuff.

I had to discipline little David today. He was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, moaning and yelling at Mommy. I came to him, got down on his level and asked him to look me in the eye. He looked away, curling up into a little ball of rebellion.

I warned him that if he didn't look at me, there would be a consequence. He continued to moan and yell at Mommy. He chose consequence over obedience and joy.

This helps me make sense of passages like what I'm reading today. And it helps me with God's seeming distance. Perhaps his distance is me curling away, eyes shut tight, not wanting to look him in the eye. Perhaps his silence is me refusing to listen. But perhaps not.

Sometimes a God that loves me in deep and even painful ways is just too much. Stiffling. I think I want to be left alone.

I know I don't really want to be left alone, if I knew the magnitude of that sort of consequence. Say I don't want to wind up eating my kids.

But on days where I can't focus, I just want to run from my responsibility of calling yet more people to raise funds. I just need a God who's close, a God who holds me as I thrash and beat my fists on his chest.

The Gospel tells me that this is exactly what I have. For Jesus took all of the distance and alienation for me. He felt God's utter abandonment. What I feel is simply a tiny taste, or perhaps not even. He enables me to be this raw, this way with God. Being true to the way I feel, while perhaps not true to the way of reality.

Life has me blah today, and Jesus enables me to be "blah" me, free to pour out these feelings onto a page without fear. For he felt the weight of the uggliest of consequences (I can't think of anything worse than the verse above) and he bore it for me, for you. That's the heart of God. A God who is "compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

I have to rest in this, it's a sure place for my soul. It's the place where I am held.

And woa! I just figured out what might have me feeling this way today. I had a supersized extra value meal at McDonalds late last night! That's a whole consequence in itself.

1 comment:

andreablack said...

encouraging, honest and insightful. Thanks Philip! I needed that reminder. Go easy on the Mickey D's...I'd like for you to stick around for as long as possible! ;)