A few years ago, right when I seemed to have reached “cruising speed” in my writing, I was subjected to an attack of the Enemy that first drove me into the cellar spiritually, then left me paralyzed by self-doubt. The attack was waged through a person, one I respected in a general way but who I really didn't know well...and who barely knew me. I was blindsided. If you have ever been blindsided, you know that first there is shock, then pain, then a numbness that’s not part of any healing.
It felt like something I had to keep to myself. But I was gently (and repeatedly, by a persistent and patient God) reminded that whatever has happened has been allowed to happen: it has passed through the highly selective filter of His amazing love for me. He proceeded to gently but firmly draw me out of the same pit I wrote about back in the summer of 2009…only I wrote it then to offer hope to others who were mired there. Who knew I’d find myself at the bottom of that same pit, at first bewildered, then frantic…then, worst of all, in danger of getting comfortable in it.
Who knew? God did. What follows is what I wrote in response to His rescue:
In His time, the Father has drawn me up in His bucket of mercy, dusted me off, and (once again) handed me my “marching orders"…and now, as my mom might have said, I am “about to pop”. Too much time has gone by! “Two months is not a lot of time,’” some might say. Yet, in terms of the time we have been allotted in this life, two months is a tragic amount to lose. So this post needs to be about the most important thing -- which is what? My own troubled spirit? My time in “my” pit? My missed opportunities to share?
Those can’t hold a candle to the most important thing, the springboard I want – no, downright require: an acute desire to move and breathe (and write!) from the place of Who He Is.
So, Who is He? I think that for those of us God has gently drawn, then lovingly pursued, we spend the largest part of our lives trying to figure that one out. Spiritually speaking, by discipline and by discernment, we hope to get from Point A (a “gimme” God who gives us comfortable, convenient things and stays quietly in the closet until we’ve run out of options) to Point B (Who He Is). I don’t think anything matters more than Point B. I want to go There.
The miraculous and completely illogical truth is that God Himself has made provision for each of His children to find out Who He Is. He’s written It down, sent It to us in a gentle and fragile vessel named Jesus, and He’s even installed It into the innermost parts of our hearts. Wow: Who He Is is already, and completely, within our reach. And when we dwell in Who He Is, there is unlimited potential: to endure; to resist temptations; to love those who spitefully wear us down (and then throw in a kick for good measure). If only we could get hold of that reality in the way He wants us to, we’d be transformed. And well on our way to Point B. His Word points us tirelessly to Who He Is. From Genesis to Revelations, He appears in metaphors: He is Light (John 8:12); He is the Bread of Life (Deut. 8:3, John 6:35); He is the Ark that rescues us (Gen. 6:18); He is the Door (John 10:7); He is the Rock (Isa. 28:16); He is the Lion, and the Lamb, and our only possible substitute (Lev. 1:3). He shows Who He Is throughout the Psalms, and in a desert cloud, and in a fierce fiery furnace. He is defined by His Laws, revealed by His grace, and has demonstrated the very essence of sacrificial love and mercy, from the newborn cries in a hay-strewn stable to that last snatching away of His robes by sadistic and self-righteous soldiers. And finally and forever, Who He Is waits and watches from Heaven, our utmost advocate as we, in anticipation (and sometimes anguish) extract the bazillion facets of His God-ness, one by glorious one.
I will never fully discover Who He Is, nor will you, until each of us at last stands before Him robed in righteousness and looking at His face with joy unspeakable. But that’s how He wants it…He wants us to spend our lives here doing two things as children of His: pursuing Who He Is, and making Him known. I lost long months of ground recently, because I was distracted and became a target. I had let down my guard, and the Enemy showed my attackers exactly where my armor had been most neglected. And I lost my confidence. Attacks of the Enemy are almost always through other people, and often people we would least expect. And they can be crippling.
The bottom line is, if I’m stubbornly and tirelessly chasing after Who God is, and I’m deliberately fleshing Him out as He is revealed to me, then my warrior’s heart will persevere. I can withstand, and endure, and prevail. And I am resolved to do this, and to break new ground on His behalf in the days and months and years to come (having had the “Journey” redefined and clarified!).
Let me challenge you, sweet sisters, to renew your own pursuit of Who He Is. But the challenge comes with a caution: you can’t manufacture that hunger to know Him. The desire, by design, has already been planted inside us by God, Who Himself romances that hunger within us. If we can’t find it, or we can’t feel it, it is because it has been suffocated by our busy-ness, or trampled flat by our preoccupation with the countless things we like or love, but that will not last.
Are you game, girlfriends? Then let’s get hungry together! Understand this, though: there are two pre-conditions for chasing after Who God is:
1) You must be His child, grafted into His family at the instant you realized who you were (both nothing, and a sinner) and agreed to be bought by the terrible price He paid; and
2) You must believe that God’s Word, the Bible, is just that: His Word, start to finish, with all its harmony and hard truths. It’s not a smorgasbord of suggestions laid out before us, with a choice of morsels that will best stroke and cradle and pacify our flesh. It’s just truth, and to search out Who God is, that has to be settled in your heart and in your mind. If you’re a child of His, and know His Word is true, then ask Him to drag that hunger back to the surface of your spirit, to make knowing Who He Is an absolutely irresistible prize. There may be some surgery involved, some cutting away…but know that He cannot pour in until we are poured out. For Him to inhabit us in ways that reach others, room must be made. Excuses must be cast aside. Time must be dedicated to Him, and to the search of His Word.
That’s where the spiritual rubber hits the practical road: When you begin to seek Him out in earnest, then you will find yourself at the fork in the road I have just navigated: I now know, so much more deeply, that Who I am is desperately and utterly grounded in What He did for me…and who I am becoming depends on chasing after Who He Is.