28 January 2012

"Only God with His shovel could dig us out"

I have not written in a long time. And when I refer to writing, I mean the kind that comes like breathing—at times, labored, but mostly as a blessing. I imagine this is the manner in which the artist paints and the runner runs. I imagine this is how we live—at times, with pain, but mostly in blessing.
Between the dreaming and the coming true (Bebo Norman), I think we forget what we signed up for. This forgetfulness can emerge in schooling, a workout program, a friendship, a marriage, or a life. One always begins with an image of the future, a goal, however nebulous, and determination enough to put cheerleaders out of business. From the beginning of these endeavors until their conclusion is a gap we can call life, the valley of the shadow, or even sanctification. The larger and longer the gap, the more we forget. I propose, however, that we do not forget our goals while in this valley of the shadow of sanctification, but rather, we forget the process. We forget what we signed up for—which was, yes, the end, the goal, the objective, but also the painful process of getting to the goal. No wonder we are a confused and at times, joyless, people. We mourn that we do not see God as we used to, but forget that we saw from a mountaintop our destination…and are now in the valley striving toward that end. We grieve to see our sin, and rightly so, but it depresses our souls because at that moment, we have forgotten the grace that brought us thus far. As of late, I have been hearing the moans from this valley, of myself and of others. Just the other day I heard from a mentor:
“Our society is in such a deep mess that only God with His shovel could dig us out.”
Aye, we are in a deep mess. What else does one call a place that roils in anger against a God declared nonexistent each time an earthquake hits? A place whose people are terrified to die, and do not know how to live? What is a mess if not the church who turns away from this dying world and acts as if she, too, denies God? Hm. This world is in quite a “mess,” but you know? In the valley, in the living, in the opacity of existence, I think we often forget that (forgive the seeming irreverence of this statement) God has a shovel, and has dug us out. When, in this mess, we declared God’s Son the chief threat to our existence and sacrificed Him to our desires…we were pulled out from where we had lain, self-buried, dead. Only God and His shovel could dig us out, indeed. Between the dreaming and the coming true lies hope for the future.

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