One of the hardest things I’ve recently found about being a Christian is A) my faculties for discerning spiritual matters often seem dull and rusty, and B) I have precious little vocabulary left with which to express myself spiritually. In other words, I’m deaf and dumb.
There have been many times recently when I’ll just lie in bed, thinking I should say something about the things that trouble me, but I feel mute, muzzled. Sometimes it’s because I’ve grown tired of words that are deemed “spiritual” by believers, such as “fellowship” and “holiness,” but seem to have little vitality left in them.
I can read a chapter of the Bible and suddenly realize that it had no impact whatsoever, that a passage detailing God’s unending love and grace or His faithfulness and mercy, left nary an impression on me. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop reading one of the Psalms in disgust because I suddenly had some trite praise and worship song running through my head, effectively silencing any desire to worship within me.
But still, and perhaps more often, it’s simply because I have turned my back on those things that should bring me closer to God, such as prayer and worship. It’s not that I’ve ever really made a conscious decision to turn away from God (though I’ve had my fair share of fist-shaking and angry epithets), but I just don’t do much to maintain a focus.
How many times do I sit at work, waiting for my computer to do something, and brood on a particularly painful subject or relationship, rather than just think about God, even if it is just to make sure He knows I’m still looking.
I just finished reading Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?, which delves deeply into that particular attribute of God. There were times when I just sat there sobbing, realizing that I desperately would like to see God that way, as a father sacrificing all of his dignity to run out and embrace a son who abandoned him. On the flip-side, I’m forced to realize that I show so little of that grace to others (oftentimes those closest to me).
But maybe grace’s finest legacy is that it allows us to realize we haven’t arrived there quite yet, and that we won’t arrive there alone. That it’s not ours to carry the burden but His, not our responsibility to make it to the Pearly Gates, but His to carry us there, scars and all.
For a long time, I always thought it was silly to just think about God. Not wrestle with weighty theological issues or troubling passages of Scripture, but just think about Him. Even if it’s absent-mindedly, like the way you stared out the window when you were bored in class, it has to be better than most of the stuff we (or, at least I) fill our lives up with everyday.