Tuesday, January 29

Who am I? Unfaithful, unworthy, undesireable....

The song of Michael W. Smith, UNLOVED, has been echoing through my head this morning…….

"I have been unfaithful; I have been unworthy; I have been unrighteous; and I have been unmerciful.
I have been unreachable; I have been unteachable; I have been unwilling; and I have been undesirable.
….Unaware, I have been unfair; I've been unfit for blessings from above….."

God has waited patiently for me to realize that I am all of those things; undesired in the best of people and above all, not character traits that a Christian would desire to seek out and embrace of his own volition. But I have, and in being so, have committed grievous sins against the Father above. Being unappreciative.

Just like Job…..you know, that character we all point to in the difficult times of our lives as a model of the endurance hero. Everything taken, everything lost and yet good ole Job keeps on trucking………..right into sin. "Should He be told that I want to speak?" Job remarks bitterly. The sin of demandness has entered the heart of our heroic endurer. I have suffered long enough, God, it's about time you answer me……..

And God does, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me." (Job 38:2-3 NIV). And God proceeds to climb up one side of the 'most righteous' man on the planet and down the other. Who made the foundation of the world? Who created creation? Who made the angelic host? WHO MADE YOU? For the rest of chapter thirty-eight and all of thirty-nine, God proceeds to "help" Job understand that he has no right to demand an end to the suffering, to the losses, and the personal pain. He has no case to bring before the Judge of the Eternal Court.

"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!" (Job 40:2 NIV)

Dr Crabb brings this point of Job's sin in Chapter 7 of his book INSIDE OUT, which I am reading for the group I belong to. And my accountability partner and brother in Christ warned me of this sin; the sin of demanding. Of course, nothing connected with me until I was ready to hear it, seeking out my ill-advised demand to have the Almighty God stop what He was doing and listen, LISTEN to me……a grain of sand upon the beaches of the world. As Dr. Crabb says, "Strugglers feel noble, but sinners feel guilty." I've committed the sin against God that I have suffered enough, endured enough, and have served enough to qualify for release and intervention in my life, because I have struggled against my sinfulness instead of being convicted of my sinfulness.

I have taken responsibility for my thirsty need that I have no control over and have expressed to the Creator that such action on my part be accepted as a method of success. I have taken an unrighteous position next to God instead of realizing that I am a created being before God. Much as a son will unwisely and unjustly stand against a father who has done no wrong, I have taken the position of superior knowledge before my Father and He has heard me. This is one of the times that I have been not soothed by the Master's voice, but convicted upon the anger heard in the Heavens. A righteous and sorrowed anger. "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?"

As Dr. Crabb points out, "When things do not go well, especially for an extended time, when our heart is filled with more pain than joy, the temptation to let our desire for relief become a demand is the strongest." My trust and faith in God was in the thin soil of conditional confidence of Him and the plan He has for me, because I put my hope not in His authority and character, but in the hope that my actions, deeds, and words would bring about the relief I so desperately desire. I have done like Job and allowed myself to convince myself that I had a right and legitimate reason to expect compensation for my suffering.

I had gotten away from being aware that God might not do what I think is right and fair at this time because His ways are not my ways, His thoughts not mine. I had gotten into the phase of expecting a result that would make everything alright again. I stood and accused God of being unfair, or as Dr. Crabb put it, "guilty of mismanagement and negligence in His duties."

God has spent His time preparing me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the task ahead. It is not one that is designed to bring me happier circumstances or better finances….but closer in my relationship to Him. To come to that place where I realize that I will live with the thirst that cannot be filled upon this earth in a content and joyful state because I know where the promise of quenching comes.

As Dr. Crabb says, "His acceptance of us on the basis of Calvary and His understanding of our hurt provide the context for His work in our heart, but relentless exposure of our arrogant demandingness brings the healing…….[this] leads to our cup being cleaned inside."

And, like my hero Job, I too have taken this lesson to heart. "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…..My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:3,5-6 NIV)

For a modern day Job, I would translate that to be, "What was I thinking?" To demand from a God who is all knowing, all powerful, and all wise, who created the world around me and me myself, and sent because of His love and mercy His only son to died upon a cross of shame for me and my sinfulness……who am I to demand relief from the sorrows of this world?

Who am I?

"I have been unfaithful; I have been unworthy; I have been unrighteous; and I have been unmerciful.
I have been unreachable; I have been unteachable; I have been unwilling; and I have been undesirable.
….Unaware, I have been unfair; I've been unfit for blessings from above….."

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