Lord come quickly

Trying to sit in the silence. Like a steady gaze, the need to just breathe and be seen by God is all I can manage. Trying to believe that there is a reason for the things that happen in my life, that God understands the ins and outs of this life, the sorrow, the death, the joy. When the whole world seems fragile and so quick to point out one another’s flaws as we speed forward towards a land of few solutions, I just want to be still.

I can’t give up hope that the Lord will do something. There are children looking to me to remain steady, giving up isn’t a choice. If we let our fear distance our hearts from the Lord, we accept defeat on behalf of the next generation, who is looking to us. We are still alive. There is still work to do. In a time where simple honesty seems to stir up everyone’s emotions, where we have the sacred right to destroy ourselves and others, and when abandoning the need to prove something makes you into a martyr, at least we have meaning. That our lives are actually valuable to God, and are capable of being useful. Where we can actually know God’s spirit, and trust him. I am not a fan of everything God does, but he is God. Who can disagree with him? Who can question his ways?

When I was younger, I wanted to pursue wisdom. I grow older only to find that most people have abandoned it. Running off in ten thousand different directions, trying to find a way to be less hungry, bitter, and cold. Has your senseless idealism bought you anything? Have you gained wisdom in all the places you know you should be happy? The truth is passing through our fingers and are throats are so thirsty. Who will be bold enough to drink? Who still believes that God owns these things: the things we take for granted, the things we do not recognize, the people we often forget? It’s terrible, but I find myself hoping that he would judge even to wrath with his coming. May he destroy our foolishness. May our clever words and actions be dashed to pieces.

I cant think of a single member of my family who isn’t broken, crying out for things they don’t feel like they could ever accomplish, let alone, find. I can’t think of any of the families I have come to know that value each other even most of the time; and even of those that do, in this life they are defenseless. A marginal minority trying to make a difference in overwhelming apathy and disillusionment. I realize that now is an excellent time for people to believe in God. Unique shades of sorrow, conflicted emotions, and confusion speckle the news. Why does it have to take disaster to have something beautiful to share with people? Why does it have to necessitate famine, or war, or illness, or death to get anyone’s attention? If God is just and trying to get to know everyone all of the time, unsuccessfully because of our mixed interests, how can so few people come? We are beginning to cannibalize one another from the depths of our need. Truly, we all want to believe we ourselves are the most broken. We starve our children for affection because each of us is the most hurt. We ourselves are broken children crying out for an answer.

I believe so much in honesty. Like looking in a mirror. But who likes what they see, anymore? When we examine ourselves, are we satisfied with what we have done? Are we happy with the choices we have made? The things we have accomplished? If we don’t allow ourselves to drink in this honesty, we will never find peace and never need to move. We will sit pretty in these rusted seats until the day where each is called to account for it. There could have been hope for you, if you just were willing to take it. There could have been peace. There could have been life. There could have been family. There could have been wholeness. There could have been sanity.

May God finish it quickly. When he’s tired of giving options, when he’s tired of reaching out to us and the last group of people are finally offered the choice to believe or to disbelieve it, it will be finished. We will be home. I wish I were already in that place. There is still work left, but I just see bitterness and chaos all around me. Come quickly.

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It’s hard for me to sympathize

In a world where men justify raping women “based on her actions”,

It’s hard for me to relate to your porn addiction.

In a world where your lust can be the defining feature of my character,

It’s hard to have sympathy.

In a world where women are burned in acid attacks,

And where children are raped freely,

Where terrorists are enshrined in patriotism,

And we beg God to come quickly,

When I see so many beautiful single women in churches,

And so many broken marriages because of cheating,

When there are so many single moms just trying to make ends meet,

And little boys focus on getting laid,

And many girls unilaterally suffer the consequences,

I feel angry.

Even at work, there are always those guys who expect you to counsel them through the temper tantrums,

And want a shoulder to cry on,

Without doing any work.

I don’t want to hear your poisonous locker-room banter about how “she deserved it”,

I don’t want to wonder how you turned so vile.

There are good men, but they aren’t common.

I wonder how so many beggars can be choosers,

With leaders like this.

I want to care about how this sin affects you,

But it’s hard to see so many leaders absolutely apathetic to how this sin affects me.

And if you once more have access to the goodness of God,

And the perfection of Christ,

I wonder why there aren’t any strong men of God stepping forward,

Prompted by God to move.

Resisting “I told you so” and focusing on love

Anyone saved by grace with a temper might find some hope in what I’m about to say. I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes when my family provokes me, I get really mad.

Part of what angers me is when people don’t listen. I can tell my family members something legitimately designed to help them, they’ll blow me off, and I find it hard not to feel a little justified and self-righteous when things happen just like I warned them.

I don’t know whether it’s just women that do this, but the “I told you so”s are a constant temptation for me. It’s not as though it’s not true that you warned somebody, they didn’t listen, and the present consequences of their actions are their own fault. Sometimes, it’s really cut and dry. Like last week, when my dog peed on the floor and I told my sister to put a paper towel down so she didn’t step in it and then she stepped right into the puddle some 10 minutes later.

Needless to say, I’ve already ruined the introduction of what I’m trying to say. It’s just that when you know better, it’s so hard to watch people make mistakes. I know that love bears all things, but I sometimes find myself praying for bad things to happen just so that people will have a need to re-evaluate. It’s not a great place to be, but I’m just trying to be honest here. I don’t want my perspective to remain this way, but this is definitely where I’m at today.

But you want to know what I have at least learned (and still struggle putting into practice)? If you shut your mouth and let the spirit speak for itself, it often works out well. Better even.

In “I told you so” situations, I can pray that the Spirit convicts. I don’t need to always fight for myself. For example, when you’ve already carefully picked out words to ask a family member to work with you to solve a problem and they don’t listen, just stay silent (after you have made a reasonable effort). Sometimes the Holy spirit speaks through other witnesses to the situation. You can pray that God will help the person you love get their crap together in times where you know they wont listen to you. Which is absolutely infuriating. But it is what it is for now.

I really hate that my family finds creative ways not to listen to me, but it gives me hope that there could still be help available to them through the Holy spirit. I know that it’s not really up to me to work this hard, but this is the way it’s always been, and it’s taking time to adjust. It’s hard to learn all these things about God that could really help them and nobody cares what you have to say. It’s hard to be the only person that takes God seriously in your family, especially when some family members may only believe in God through a situation involving absolute destruction, because they presently hate him. But I still love them. And I still want them to be saved.

I’m trying to learn to bear with it and trust God to provide when they wont listen to me. I experience a lot of cursing aimed in my direction. My family has such shallow things to talk about (everything under the sun from politics to money to ideology) that if we’re being honest, they really don’t know me very well. My friends know me to a certain extent, but in God, I am known fully. And I have peace and hope for a future where I can do better for my kids. I get angry, but I try to buy into forgiveness. It’s still hard. I am going to be one of those adults who doesn’t try to ignore helpless situations. When I work with kids or if I have kids of my own, I won’t just ignore them.

As of today, that is the solution to my problem. It’s not in solving my own situation, but in being a listener for people struggling in similar situations of their own. My children (biological or students or just the ones I care about) will have an advocate in me. Without people like that, I would have never had hope for long enough to buy into God. And now I know that he helps me.

To be honest, my situation may never change. Hell, that’s even likely. I get mad at God and ask him to save my family, because I love them. There are a lot of decisions I’ve made that nobody appreciates or understands that I made out of love for them specifically. But I believe that Jesus cares for them, and that God would still love them if they always rejected him. So I’m trying to focus on leaving it up to God. It takes some bravery.

Nobody gets a free pass to ignore the poor

My friends and fellow church people, are y’all living in the same world I’m living in? Do we even care about poor people?

Lately, I’ve been questioning how church leaders prioritize what parts of the Bible they believe in. If our faith is shown by our works and what whether we’re doers of the word, then how can we religiously shudder at curse words but curse the poor by rejecting them? If God cares about the words we say, how much more must he care about our actions!

In this time of questioning and being consistently pissed, I’m just trying to do the things I know that God has asked me to do. I’m not sure about the verbal gymnastics involved in respectable churchy society, but I do know that God loves the poor. Jesus told us that the poor would always be with us. Our job as Christians is to give to those who need, as God has supplied our need. And you know what? It’s not about money! It’s about being willing to affirm human dignity in the face of disaster.

I may not have anything good to say, but I have ears that can listen, a little extra food, time, or money. How can we take the burdens of the poor so lightly? If church people resisted making this about self-righteousness and what we can do in our own strength, how many more people would just be willing to show up?

It’s not like the apostles didn’t have off days. You think Abraham had a great time wandering in the desert? You think Jesus enjoyed the cross? What about Moses? Was he actually any good at leading?

God may give some people talent, but I swear, it’s better to be clueless, under prepared, and be willing to show up. Better to be completely ignorant of how to fix it and have the desire to obey.

Because let me tell you what happens when we think we’ve got the solutions: we do nothing. We judge how we’d act in so and so’s shoes without bothering to humble ourselves. We act like we know better, and exact like we’re exempt from caring. We act like we have to be qualified. We act like we have to have a plan.

I’m sorry, but for a people who claims to be relying on God’s grace, gifts, and planning, that sounds pretty ridiculous. You don’t need a plan/gifts/spare time/money to do something. You need a plan/gifts/spare time/money to do NOTHING.

If you gave in faith, would it not be multiplied back to you? Do you not receive many times back what you sacrifice out of faith, and reverence to God?

God help my screwed up priorities if I’m unwilling to move. We adjust the little habits we already do instead of becoming radical so we have the comfort of pushing our peas around our plates. What if the answer was going hungry? It’s not like you’re eating the damn peas anyway.

So many church leaders act as though the culture they’ve snuggled up in hasn’t also been fabricated, and doesn’t also fall short. Instead of reaching out to those who presently need our help, we make silken cocoons that slowly choke us. Wrapped in a blanket of our own devising, we never become bothered. When the silk gets spun over your eyes and seals you off to the world everyone else is living in, who can break you free?

Better to be poor and hated than comfortably ignoring your need. What’s it going to be, America? Are we actually happy?

Show up. The Lord will find a way to use you. Sing in worship, even if you don’t have a good voice. Who exactly are you singing to? Is it God, or the people around you? If you care and can suffer a little less ego, it’s better to praise even if you sound like hell. This is not our kingdom, but the kingdom of God. We can bear to be small. It’s better for us.

It’s better to have no plan than avoid responsibility. For all of our holy rules and requirements, it’s hard to find a people who really loves God.

Leave it up to God

I have many questions for how I’m supposed to live my life.

How will I find a spouse who respects my body, my gifts, and my mind?

How will I raise my children in a way that is better than my parents did, and gets progressively better every generation?

How do I find meaningful work to use what God has given me?

It’s a lot easier to trust that his will be done.

Here is something that I realized early this morning, while I still couldn’t sleep:

The Lord is my defender. He knows exactly what he is doing. I don’t have to know as much as him or be as talented as he is, because he is guiding me. He is good in literally everything he does.

I will leave the explanations up to God. Sometimes I speak and I don’t even understand what I’ve just spoken; I come to understand it months, days, or years later. The funny thing about God is that he can put words in me and I have no idea why he wants them spoken. But perhaps that’s not up to me.

The Lord is a righteous judge. He knows what he’s doing. All that is required of me is to cling to his word, his Son, and his Spirit, and be willing to move as his will be done. The heavy lifting I surrender to him. It is not my responsibility to fight for myself.

God bailing out the hypocrites

How many times does God bail us out from our problems? From the God who spoke through Christ, telling us to forgive one another not just seven, but seventy-seven times (ergo, as many times as it takes), if God didn’t always have fresh mercy, we’d be screwed. I was praying this morning about how to address a particular sin that I keep seeing, and the lies that some people continue to tell themselves. Having been a practicing sinner of this sin almost two years ago, and having the same inheritance of damnation as everyone else, how easy it has become to condemn the people that I could have once been mistaken for. And it’s ridiculous, because even though I do not sin in that way much longer, sin has a way of transforming itself and I am just as much guilty now as I was then, the only difference is that when I judge, there is a glaring sense of hypocrisy instead of just passing it off as something else. I was just like them. And yet, my striving heart tries to be superior.

Maybe the best route in these moments is to just remember my own guilt and pray for specific people, relying on God’s power to save. His saving grace is continuous, and he continues to save me years after I began really believing in him just as he can heal them now. What kind of God would be so merciful as to rescue us first from eternity, and then bail us out every single time we asked for it from that point forward? Generosity could be a spiritual gift for that fact alone.