"Holy obedience is the insatiable God-hunger that will make a person dissatisfied with anything less than the pearl of great price."
About 9 months ago I went to Texas, which by all accounts was a pretty dreadful trip. I wrote an entry about it (and much more) then, which part of me feels like I almost need to write again for my own sake, but I'll spare you that here.
I don't think it's that I doubt the goodness of God. I feel like I've snapped that top button, even if it chokes me every now and then. Maybe it's more that I'm wondering about the cost.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." --Matthew 13:43-46
He sold all that he had. He sold everything. Of course the catch being that in return he gets the pearl of great price and ends up all the better for it. And if you think I'm talking about the prosperity gospel there's a video down a few posts you can watch. No, we sell what we have to gain something far greater in return. That is the deal.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" --Matthew 16:24-26
I have always found these verses simultaneously inspiring and terrifying. I have to lose my life? I have to sell everything? But I know it doesn't do any good to gain the world and lose my soul--but sometimes it seems like I have to give my soul too. No, it's never a "half to" really I guess. But if you really want to live... There's a dangerous prayer that I have prayed before and several times after--"whatever it takes. Whatever it takes for you Lord, do it." And several times I've come to the edge of regretting that, knowing that it is always something I can pull back from. The Lord is good and he would give me that. Yet still I will not take back that prayer.
But I can still complain about it! I know I said whatever but really, how hard do you want it to be? Would you have me wander around these pillars for years to come? Would you keep my eyes in darkness and not tell me your way? Am I your friend or just your simple servant who needs no explanation? Why set the plate before me if you take it away after only a tease? I've heard how you treat your prophets, do I really want to be your servant? Where is your deliverance? Where is your true peace--why is it so fleeting? Where is your joy? Where is the abundant life? I've been waiting. Are my prayers in vain? Is my hope merely deception? Am I such a fool? Why do you stand so far off?
What more can I give? I have submitted my life to you and followed you wherever you have led me. What more do you want from me? I feel like I don't have anything left.
Yet still I will snap the buttons. Still I long for that pearl. I don't want to float through life. I don't want to swim to the shore and quit. That is death I know--life, but death. The river is death, but life. I wish it could be a quick death, but no, we take up our cross every day. No one ever said life was going to be easy. Let me discover you as the refuge and strong tower you can be.
(i am afraid to share this, and know that my problems are nothing compared with so many others so i probably sound like a whining idiot. but the laments of the psalms are often no less unreasonable, and far more public. can we be a people who can share our laments? or is it too much for you to hear? i hope not. oh and don't worry about me. i'll be ok.)
and i love this song.