This I believe

I wrote this for my dear friend’s daughter who is going through one of life’s battles.

This I believe : that God is near to the broken hearted.

I think mankind, even the religious ones, especially the religious ones, tend to live as though God needs us to be really good, to keep our promises and to work hard trying to please him.  We bargain a lot with him. We adopt a mantra – “when I am good…read my bible…pray a lot … go to church then… God is willing to love me, accept me and maybe even bless me.”  We are simply afraid that God will get fed up and leave, so we tiptoe around him and his ‘favorites’.  We may think – “He will send the sun to shine and the grass to grow and he will allow the flowers to bloom if we are divine rule followers.”  But guess what? Those things happen regardless of whether or not we’re bad and sometimes they don’t happen, even though we are good.  God’s gifts are not revoked when we fail to meet some quota of scripture memorization or church attendance, and I have come to believe he does not pull away at our emotional leprosy and in disgust at our torn parts and pieces.

He doesn’t magically heal those who read the bible, and he doesn’t curse those who have forgotten where their bible is.  He knows we are human; he made us in his very own image, he knows us …well. Even the days when we doubt, and fear, even the parts which cower and shake and forget him altogether, he still yearns for our wellbeing on those days.

God is bigger than all that manipulative stuff we have learned in our imperfect families and from our ruined parents who did the best they could to cultivate gardens called children.  But sadly some weeds still grew up.  God is infinitely beyond our thoughts, beliefs and understanding of the world and how it works.  The brain, the DNA, the illnesses, the failures, and faults and the asphalt system of society. He is not, thankfully, subject to the smallness of our operating instructions.

I believe that God is with us in our darkest moments, perhaps when we have done the very least to be close to him.  When we sit in our bloody pools of shame and anger, and depression, he is there. He’s not scolding us for being wounded. He is a physician!  When we are hurting it’s had to give and do, he knows that. But, those moments are when faith shines the strongest, not when we feel him, but when we don’t.  He is ready, when we are ready, he is speaking when we are listening, and he is near when we will dare to breathe. He is already at work loving us, no matter how ugly and awful we are or think we are. He is not a man who runs in terror from our putrid lives; he is our maker, he runs towards our oozing, tainted messes, with all sorts of bandages and compassion and lovely embraces. And he sits there with us, holding us; and then, I believe, one day we feel him again, when we can feel again. We become the Johns, the beloveds resting against his chest, realizing- it’s not the works of the law which brings near our savior, but the maker of the law who is always present saving us.

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