Monday, August 08, 2011

a naked mess

in my sermon yesterday based on matthew 14:22-33, in which we read about Jesus and then simon peter walking on water, i talked about trust, and that trusting in God doesn't mean we won't have storms in life.  in preparation for this sermon i've been thinking a great deal about trust over the last couple of weeks, and its been a pretty cool experience because i am living with such an amazing illustration of trust. 

quin can't do anything for himself. 

well, that isn't quite true.  he poops pretty well.  and on occasion he's got a championship caliber "feed me" cry.  i also must admit that he's pretty good at being ridiculously cute.  so i stand corrected.  he can do a few things.  but my point is this:  he can't really do anything to insure his life.  he can't nourish himself.  he can't provide his own shelter from the elements.  and he can't dress himself or take care of his own messes.  without someone to love him, he'd be hungry, homeless and a naked mess. 

hungry.  homeless.  a naked mess.

the more i have thought about this the more i have come to realize that this is a great description of our spiritual selves. 

on our own, we are no more capable than a 2-week old helpless human to meet our own needs.  and our attempts to act like we can, while perhaps noble at times, are at best pathetic and pitiful.  but we continue the charade anyway.  we pretend that we are ok.  we pretend that we don't need a deep and intimate relationship with God, content instead to sort of float through life with a shallow knowledge about God rather than a deep relationship with God.  we pretend that we don't need one another, pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps and other such nonsense.  we pretend that our sins don't really hurt us.  we pretend that all our stuff really makes us happy; that somehow a 2-car garage and an iphone will fill our souls.  we just keep pretending.  and all the while we are no more nourished than a baby sucking on a cloth blanket. 

we were meant for more.  we were meant to trust. 

i'm not talking about the kind of trust that says, "God, i don't know what job opportunity you want me to pursue, so i'm just going to trust that you will work it out."  that kind of trust is often just indecision wearing a spiritual disguise.  and i'm certainly not talking about the kind of trust where we throw our hands up in the air to "let go and let God," which is way too often just apathy and laziness wearing the same spiritual mask.  that's not the "trust" i'm talking about. 

instead, i'm talking about the kind of trust that Quin has: an unspoken and deeply rooted sense that there is One who will provide every need.  when i need fed, i'll be fed.  when i need burped, i'll be burped.  when i need the crap wiped off me, well, you get the picture. 

the point is that it comes down to a fundamental question of what we believe:  do we believe that we have a God who loves us wildly, intimately and fiercely enough to provide our every need, no matter what?  or do we believe in some sense that we have to fend for ourselves?  because there is a huge difference, with far-reaching consequences.  as i hold my little seven-and-a-half-pound son in my arms, i realize that i want to rest like that in God's arms.  i want to believe that fully, that instinctively.  to quote the father in mark's gospel, "i believe, help my unbelief!"  i want eyes to see clearly that my own attempts at earning God's favor and impressing other people simply leave me hungry, homeless and a naked mess.  but God - my tender Father and nourishing Mother, my Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer - God feeds me and covers me with protection and warmth.  God loves me.  i trust that.  i want to trust it more. 

3 comments:

Greg C. said...

Great post, great words. I was thinking along those lines this morning in fact. Specifically, it's easy to 'trust' in God when things are going well, health is good, family is good, job is as secure as can be hoped today, etc... But what about when things aren't so good? I prayed that if/when things go south I will indeed trust God the way I claim to today. It's a hard thing to think about. I can't spend my days worrying or wondering about 'when things go south' but at the same time I worry/wonder whether the trust I proclaim is real. What to do?

greg. said...

thanks, Greg. i think we can descend into the proverbial vicious cycle if we start worrying about how we would be at trusting if circumstances weren't so good, and then feeling guilty for having good circumstances instead of being grateful and sharing joy. all we can do, i suppose, is lean into the strong arms of love each day, no matter how good or bad that day seems to us. it's always good when we realize we are wrapped in love, and set free to give that love away. "do not worry," says Jesus, as he teaches on the hillside. easier said than done.

Greg C. said...

Amen, brother.