Here’s the deal: a few months back I determined to attempt to get closer to God than I had ever been. I got down on my face, in the literal sense of the word, multiple times daily (and sometimes in the dead of night) to talk to Him, and to try to hear His voice. I doubled up on my daily Bible reading. I made a point to praise Him in all things.
I lasted a few weeks.
In those few weeks, there were no mind-blowing or earth-shattering revelations. The clouds did not part. I heard no audible voice. I did not perceive any response from heaven whatsoever. In other realms, however?
All hell broke loose.
Beneath the surface of my cool exterior (heh), there was a battle raging. The swing had swung, and I was grinding through the mud again.
It hardly seemed fair.
The harder I tried to “press in”, the thicker the mud became.
Doubts, fears, depression, darkness. Deep, deep darkness settled over me. I felt more than ever like the ship tossed by every wind and wave, incapable of receiving anything from the Lord because of my own incapacity for trust.
And so I gave up. I got off my face. I staggered over to the corner of the mat to get my eye stitched up and my mouthpiece replaced.
And I stayed there.
I didn’t know what God was doing. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. Especially if He was doing nothing at all; watching impassively from the sidelines.
As time passed and I slogged up out of the pit, I mustered up the courage to question God. Why? Why, God? What gives? When I draw near to You, You’re supposed to draw near to me, not duck and cover while the devil and my own traitorous nature break chairs over my head repeatedly.
Keep wrestling. I heard Him speak to my heart. Just keep wrestling until the blessing comes.
I might have snorted aloud when He said it. But I knew it was truth. And I also knew that I was scared spitless to enter the ring again.
I knew that He had said everything that can shake, WILL shake. Whatever can be lost WILL be lost. That His trials are the fire by which we are refined. And I realized that is the crux of my fear. That is what causes me, over and over again, to forfeit the match, gather the shreds of my strength and my wits, and retreat.
I do not want to lose everything.
I am deeply, profoundly afraid that there is nothing in me of substance. Nothing that cannot shake. Nothing that will not be lost. That, at my core, I am a vast wasteland of dross, with no silver to be refined, and when the fire comes, I will simply melt away and be no more.
When the shaking is done, what if only dust remains?
My Beloved bears the brunt of my fist-flailing. He watches and prays as the tears fall, and holds the glue that pieces me back together. He says the darndest things to me.
Even the dust belongs to God he says. Maybe that’s what knowing Him really requires; the willingness to become dust again if we have to.
He’s quite the preacher, that man of mine, though he’s never been paid for it.
So I am coming to believe that it’s not about tending to my wounds and hoping that someday I’ll be strong enough to go ten rounds. It’s not about getting out alive.
It’s about being weak. It’s about letting the battle rage, and trusting that if all that is left is dust, then it will be His good pleasure to breathe life into it.
He’s pretty good at that, after all.
He paid the ultimate price for you. My beloved asserts. Because you are worth something to Him. You are more than the dust you are made from.
I’m choosing to believe it. I’m taking that promise to the mat. And this time I’m going down for the count.