Fear is the great crippler of our generation. Fear that the things that have been promised to us are not real, that the Promised Land is filled with giants too formidable to be slain afterall. There is, in this generation, a pattern of those we have trusted over-promising and under-delivering. Looking around we are convinced that no one is telling us the truth.
It carries into every area of our lives, including our relationship with God. We raise battle fists into the air. “Surrender! Surrender! Let go!” we cry as our fingers close tighter around those things we, ourselves, hide. (how i long for a church where judgement is the greatest of all sins and no one feels too ashamed to taste grace) While the allure of perfect peace and joy are tempting; in this age of free 30 day trials we want a taste before we buy.
God isn’t having any of it. He’s old school that way. From an era where promises meant something and life was all or nothing. And so we damn ourselves to limbo while He watches us perplexed.
With one hand we reach toward God and the idea of the real, lasting fulfillment that we’re told He offers – Sunday morning services and the latest Christian rock CD. We do as much as we can manage without signing any commitments. We take notes to sermons we only half hear and remember to thank God if things go well.
In our other hand we hold those things we call Plan B. A night or two out with the girls or the guys seeking anything but Christ, the relationship we know is poisoning us from the inside out, whatever those things may be that, in Sunday circles (division born of judgement), we don’t talk about or reference. And oh, how we know the illusion of their allure. There is no at-last peace and assurity in these things we cling so stubbornly to – but there is something. There is something that, for the moment or two we are engaged, makes us not alone, not afraid. “It isn’t what I want”, we reason, “but it’s what I’ve got and there’s no point in letting go until I’m sure of this something better.”
I wish I could scream from the mountaintops the truth instead of the lies we are believing; the depth of our illusion and the reality of His promise. All of our self-loathing, insecurity, fear, shame, loneliness – all of it – everything – gone!
There is one moment. One terrifying moment, that seems to steal our very breath, is the cost of living in the middle of the certainty – the peace and joy everyone wants and no one seems to get. There is one fraction of time where, no matter who you are and what your story, your fear will battle you hard and only the purposeful exercise of your will can push you through.
It comes with the letting go.
You have to believe that even if everyone else you’ve ever met is a liar, God is not. Even if no one has ever truly, deeply loved you, God does. If everyone else has eventually left, hurt you and let you down, God has not.
He stands in the exact same place He’s always stood, offering the exact same thing He’s always offered, available in the exact same way it’s always been available. Whatever it is you want out of life – whatever it is you truly desire, without exception – He’s waiting to give it to you.
It comes with the letting go because He’s prepared to fill both hands.
“…the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 (NAS)
double-minded (adj) – wavering or undecided in mind
*While I don’t often reference my own experience in musings such as these, I feel this time I should. I hurt for our generation and the lies we have believed. I can stand with assurity behind the things I say because I live them. Life is rarely perfect, the cost of a fallen world. Still, I stand today with peace unlike any I have ever known with a joy that defies circumstance. Letting go of all that I held onto made the difference in my life between fitting in and stepping aside. I am always available to share my story as proof of what God can and has done. Please believe me when I tell you that those things you are seeking are so readily available – if only you trust. You don’t have to feel alone or afraid anymore.
(originally written 03/29/09)