First, let's start with a song.
"Lord, I don't know where all this is going, or how it all works.
Lead me to peace that is past understanding.
A peace beyond all doubt."
I've been in a funk the last couple of days for a variety of reasons. Work has been less then fun, and the weather has been less than cooperative. That and the usual grind allow less than pleasant thoughts to run around in my head. It does make me wonder where all this is going. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only one who gets this way.
Paul seemed to deal with this quite a bit. In fact, in his letter to the church in Rome, Paul talks openly & honestly about his struggle with his sinful nature, and how much he hated it.
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I want do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is the sin living in me that does it...
...What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord..."
I think it's probably a good idea to also include where Paul goes after he is done beating himself up over his problem with his sinful nature.
...Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin & death."
So there you have it. The sinful nature of human beings running all over the place in a person's life. One minute, you are feeling & doing great. The next minute, something rotten pops in your head and you act on it. Anyone who is halfway honest with themselves will admit that they/WE are a mess. People who call themselves "Christians" especially have no business pretending otherwise, and wearing some type of hypocritical mask.
(In fact, it's interesting to note that the very word "Hypocrite" comes from the Greek word for "Actor"...someone who wears a mask on a stage.)
It's a strange state of affairs that even a person that now has the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them still has to deal with the old nature, the old man inside. Frankly, I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!! But that's reality.
Paul was honest about his own struggles. I appreciate it very much that the Bible is as open and honest as it is about humanity. Even the greatest so-called "Heros" of the faith were a mess...and they knew it.
I think that is maybe the reason that Paul wrote the way he did. Ultimately, he always points back to Jesus. Jesus is the only real "Hero" of Scripture. It would almost sound selfish for God to say "It's all about me," but it really is. It isn't arrogance for him to say that. It is simply a fact.
The reality of life is that we could, can & will never be able to save ourselves. (Sometimes I'm amazed that humans ever learned how to tie their own shoes, or walk and chew gum at the same time.) Some days, it's just hard to get out of bed. Thankfully, God is honest about that too.
I love what Paul wrote in his second letter to the church in Corinth about what Jesus actually did for us. "God made him who had no sin to BE SIN for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Not "SinS" plural. Nope. Jesus became the very problem itself. And Rick McKinley (Whose podcasts I adore) is dead on when he points out that it's all past tense. And through his death on the cross he made reconciliation with God available to anyone who would & will acknowledge the simple fact that they are a helpless mess and desperately need him.
What I also love is that God not only did this when all of us were still his enemies, but that he continues to love us as we continue to stumble around. Maybe it's like a parent watching their toddler learn to walk. All the face-plants in the world don't change the parent's love for the kid.
So, God isn't surprised when we mess up. We certainly seem to be, but he isn't. In fact, one of the few things least likely to come out of God's mouth is, "Well, I never saw that one coming." So I can take comfort in the objective fact that God has already reconciled himself to me, even when I subjectively don't feel it.
God is incredibly faithful...beyond my understanding, that's for sure. I can't seem to stay faithful for even an hour.
I hope that this doesn't come off as offensive or blasphemous. (If it does, then you are most likely a Pharisee with a broom stick stuck where it doesn't belong) But I often think a lot about God when I watch my dog, Rika. The sheer joy that that goofy dog gets out of just being around me is nuts. She just wants to hang out and be near me. Simple pleasure out of simple, basic things...mostly relational. I could learn a lot from her. If God could talk through a donkey, I'm pretty sure he could make use of a vizsla to teach me a thing or two.
With that in mind...
OK, well I'm off to the cabin to clear my head. That should give me about an hour and a half in the Vue to talk to God in private. And there is plenty to be said.
P.S. I wonder what God's policy is on catching sticks in the lake?