Saturday, October 13, 2012

Living in a Holy Tension-- Am I Willing?

I like to think. A lot. 

This is one of the reasons I went to seminary. I love to learn, I want to understand, I feel that I engage better with the world if I have wrestled well with its realities. 

But sometimes, I find that I wrestle more than I engage. Sometimes I find that I get stuck inside my own head, and if I don't understand something "fully," I can't possibly have peace or security. Sometimes I find that my worship, my joy, my confidence in Christ is dependent upon Him explaining everything to me, and in a way that makes me perfectly comfortable. Sometimes, I want God and His story to fit into an elevator pitch.

Lately, He's been reminding me that He's a bit more complex than I want Him to be. Lately, He's been asking me if I'm OK with that. If I want a life of "everything makes perfect sense," of, "there's no tension here," of "I have a quick answer for everything," I'm following the wrong Lord. Lately, He's been reminding me that if I understand everything about Him and His ways, then He fits inside my little box, my little library. And He's been asking me, "What kind of a God is that?" 

This morning, as I was praying about (wrestling with!) something close to my heart, the Lord brought to my mind His own experience. Christ's substitutionary death-- His death in the place of sinners (me! all who have transgressed His Holy Law)-- speaks of God's absolute righteous judgment and wrath against sin. His crucifixion says loud and clear that "the wages of sin is death" and that God, the Holy Judge, has every right to condemn us for it. 

And yet the same death that so graphically reveals His righteous judgment also reveals His incredible mercy. His willingness to take that death upon Himself in the place of the undeserving (me! all who have not even known the depths of our sin enough to plead for His mercy before He gave it) speaks of His unbreakable love for His creation, His sons and daughters estranged by sin. It speaks of a love so strong that He's willing to die for it. 

God Himself hates sin and pours out His wrath upon it. God Himself shows  unfathomable love for sinners and pours out His wrath upon Himself in their stead. It's a paradox that can't be fully understood, only experienced. Thinking on this reminded me that God Himself is willing to live within a holy tension. He's inviting me to do the same. 

What are some issues you wrestle to understand? Have they become so preeminent that they keep you from having a relationship with God? If so, how might He engage with you about them?

 



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