“Come clean the shadows in the closets of my soul, You are the light to come and show all of the empty places and the darkened rooms. I cannot hide from what You know, because Your truth is the light, so come and light me on the inside. Open me up, and let the healing begin in me. I’m giving up everything I’ve ever known, that I’ll ever be.” —Open Me Up by Watermark
So, I’ve come to a moment in time where I’m just being a complete goofball-head. God has totally blessed me in practically every area of life, from finances to relationships, from food to health, and from time to weather. It’s like, “Hunter, what up?”
I woke up this morning, past my alarm, to the sound of pouring rain. I had left my headphones in from the night before, having fallen asleep to soft music, so “Together” by Steven Curtis Chapman was playing in my ear.
Immediately, with the time before class running out and my brain tired, I grabbed my journal and started talking to God. So, here’s the deal. I always talk about not following your heart and not being driven by your emotions because your heart is deceitful above all things and your feelings are only going to make you strive for happiness, which is temporary, fleeting. This is important to remember, important to understand. But, see, there are feelings that are good, relationships God created for you to enjoy, friendships made to grow and comfort you.
What I’m trying to say is, God has put a relationship in my life that is bringing up some of the most uncomfortable stuff on the face of the planet. He’s using the relationship kind of in the way that Nathan confronted David about his sin….obviously mine is a little more sentimental and less, well, murderous, and lustful and yeah…but a sin is a sin is a sin. Anyway, my sin, the one I fall into constantly, is fear. Fear is a sin, I think the root of all sin, because you’re basically sitting back, looking at God and what He’s done and who He says He is and saying that it’s a lie. It’s like spitting in God’s face and saying that His word isn’t true, that fears are much bigger and much truer than the fulfilling and all-encompassing truth of God’s Word.
Through this relationship, God is breaking everything down, drawing everything out, not letting me hide behind rationality or calculation or coldness. He’s encouraging me to me vulnerable, to embrace the fact that, even though I’m protected by God and His power, God is not safe.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, from the perspective of Mr. Beaver, in reference to Aslan, “Safe? said Mr. Beaver. Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God isn’t safe. Nothing He asks of me is safe. I put myself in line of fiery arrows when I obey Him. I risk being rejected, abused, taken advantage of, lied to, denied, opposed, humiliated, every negative thing imaginable when I strive to be broken. When I realize that I’m really kind of pathetic and hypocritical and totally incapable of really loving someone or being vulnerable outside of God’s changing grace and His transforming love, things are pretty dangerous, actions are pretty reckless. I just wish I would get this into my head more often.
But even though God isn’t safe, even though pretty much everything He asks goes against the grain of the world, even though His love is terribly powerful and even though His gospel divides families and His truth does much more than just ruffle feathers, God is good. He isn’t safe, but just like Mr. Beaver said, man, He is good.
It took me a little while to understand that today. I went through World Literature, sitting and listening to my professor explain why considering Nietzsche’s philosophy is supposed to make you happy. This is part of every lecture, how people took the philosophies of writers and the messages of poets to contribute to their own happiness, now and then. Even then happiness was temporary. People went from what they thought they knew and tried different philosophies to see which ones made them happiest. This is what we preach today. “Just do what makes you happy.” “If it doesn’t make you happy, then it can’t be good for you.” Happiness is a wonderful feeling, and spending time with people who draw this feeling out of your heart and doing things that do the same is great and fantastic…but it won’t last. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but it just doesn’t. The joy of the Lord, the enduring characteristics of His peace, His Word, are the only things that last. Sounds preachy, I know…but it’s true.
After World Literature, I grabbed lunch. I went back to my dorm to work on homework and I was confronted by God’s unsafeness, accompanied by the truth of His goodness. I went through Critical Thinking & Writing, thinking about this. Afterwards, while I was eating dinner between classes, I thought about it further. And then it clicked.
I realized that I wanted to feel. I wanted to understand that He’s not safe, that there’s absolutely nothing safe about Him. But with this, I wanted to strive to understand that He is good, that He is love, and that in everything He does, He loves me. I wanted to go forward in vulnerability, in growth towards Him, in bondage to His grace and His all-consuming plan for the destiny of every man. I wanted to go forward without fear of pain, fear of rejection, fear of turmoil or trial, trusting that if these things do befall me, He will bind up my broken heart, bringing me into Him, and start again.