The Futility of Wanting It Both Ways

I find that the moments in which I am reminded very pointedly and viscerally of my absolute dependence on God typically arise on the very cusp of His coming through for me. When I discover that there are no reserves of courage or will left within me and I become as frightened as a little child who suddenly finds himself separated from his parents, those are the times when God’s saving acts dawn upon the horizon of my sad little life. 

Rather than exulting in God’s loving condescension though I find that my instantaneous, unreflective response is to sink into sadness over my helplessness. Though I yearn with such soul searing intensity to see the God of the universe enter into the tiny sphere that is my life and vanquish the futility and the heartache that is there, I call that yearning into question when that very thing is on the verge of taking place. I resist in vain the current that draws me to the beach of God’s landing, but am nevertheless led providentially to a time and place in which God is going to satisfy my longing for His intervention and touch through the redemption of an impossibly difficult trial- two of the things I desire most in life. And yet, when I’m being swept downstream, I’m not exploding with happiness, knowing where I’m being taken- I’m grumbling about my clothes getting wet and about the sand in my shoes. I’m despondent over the fact that, well, “it’s come to this.” As if my tattered dignity demands my circumventing God and doggedly declining His aid. Relying on God is clearly an undesirable last resort, it turns out. 

Why do I give a rip at all about my inability? Why does it matter one whit if I am helplessly ineffective in myself? Do I really want to ride solo that badly? And yet just look at where it lands me each and every time! How can I in lucid moments truthfully say that God is my shield and defender and the one upon whom everything depends and yet recant all of that when theory becomes reality? It sickens me that when I should be reveling in my Father’s compassion I instead opt to feel sorry for myself and bemoan my total impotence. Why does my faith seem in that time to evaporate despite the fact that God is meeting me in exactly the type of circumstance I’ve been aching for Him to meet me in? How can a person be such a swarm of conflicting feelings? What a warped and fractured antimony is man.

The idol of self sufficiency towers so high over my life that its shadow obscures all that I see. This is why Tim Keller’s little proverb, “Your loudest desires are not necessarily your deepest desires,” has become so precious to me; the voices of my idols are so deafeningly loud at times I wonder how the desires they entice me with couldn’t be the most authentic desires of my heart. Isn’t glutting those desires then the way to be true to myself? How comforting it is to hear that it isn’t just wishful thinking to say that this isn’t so.

I can see that my disgust with myself over this can very easily be the same thing I’m lamenting over in this diatribe. Oh, the miserable irony of sin! Forget this constant self orbit I’m on! Would that I could bypass ego entirely and instead be lost in amazement over God’s infinite lovingkindness. Oh God, unite my heart to enjoy you and not simply to pine after for you, and break my foolish compulsion to flee from your love.


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