Saturday, January 30, 2010

Confessions pt.1: Desire?

Who am I to claim to have a desire for the living God: The Holy Almighty source of all that is good? Should I desire him, I would not fumble about seeking with the ecstasy of romance, the pleasure of cuisine, or the freedom of alcohol. For what experience can I have that is not simply destroyed by its author? Is not the lover greater than the love? Is not the chef greater than his dish? Is not the drink more powerful than the man? How much more can we say of the originator of all these things. Is not the Lord the ravishing lover for whom we long? Is not the fashioner of the act of creating more to be desired than a third-hand creation? Can not the inventor of drunken pleasure bestow more celebration or comfort than his invention? We seek the scraps from the table in an alley when the dining room is reserved for His children. Who am I then to claim to desire God?

I can like Saint Augustine trace my desire from the womb to the typing of these words. When I was but a babe was I not contingent on the good will of a mother emptying her store of milk for me? Was I not helpless in her arms? How much more was I helpless in the provision of the life-giving nourishment in my mother’s bosom? In retrospect I see my dependence on my mother but never have I acknowledged my utter frailty at the hand of the sustainer of all things. The very air I breathed upon first being born was no accident. If the Lord is God Almighty then it was He, in his good mercy, that chose to sustain the atmosphere around me in order to provide me with my first breath. How ungrateful was my response. I simply cried and moaned for more to be given when life itself was just graced upon my feeble lungs. Had I been conscious of my need I would have fought my way from the doctor’s arms and worshiped the provision of God Almighty. Yet, I was an ungrateful servant wanting more from the creator when, by living for a moment, I could have been content to die. Yet grace overcame.

The Almighty God in His infinite wisdom and mercy chose to spare me the death my rebellion deserved in order to lead to his throne consciously. He has chosen to bless me with every good thing while I mock him by pretending that I have somehow earned more. “But preacher you knew not what you did as a child.” Neither do I know now what I do. The Sovereign King, from a nail-pierced-cross, cried for His father to forgive grown men for their actions because of their ignorance. What hope did I have of understanding as a child? Yet great is His mercy! I, like the soldier piercing His side, have been cried over “Father forgive him, He knows not what he does.” Throughout my childhood I was at war with the loving and gracious provider of all good things without passing a second thought to the life support machine attached to my soul. I was a dead man walking through life pretending not to notice the cancer in my soul and the weakness of my desire. Every time I hit my mother I was convinced she deserved it. Every time I cursed their names I was convinced more should be done for me. Every time I slept with a roof over my head, food on my plate, and a guard at the door I resented those who had “more than I.” How great is my pride!

Behind the veil of ingratitude to my parents and all those loving enough to provide for us, was a universal sin of ingratitude for the actual provider of all-good. Every breath I took was an affront to my lungs for I used them to sin against the oxygen giver. Every strike I landed on someone who cared for me I sinned against my hand that was given to hold. For every complaint I lodged in my mind I brought my mind into my mire by turning it away from the miracle of provision at the hand of the very God Almighty. The walls of my childhood are scarred with marks from the nails of anxiety crying out for what I now know is eternity. Indeed, eternity resides in the heart of man for to what else can I attribute my desire for more? I simply did not know what more was. I longed for romance when I wanted joy. I longed for food and drink when I wanted a holy satisfaction. I longed for a high only achievable by holy joy. It is not that my desires were too strong but in the spirit of C.S. Lewis they were misplaced and too weak.

From my infancy through my childhood I spit in the face of my provider, expecting something more because there was more to have. Worldly satisfaction only leads to a holy discontent for wherever desires are met they are found to be insufficient. They do not satisfy because only the source will quench such a thirst. A dribble in a stream will not satiate like its parent waterfall. There can a man not only drink, but wash and swim. The only peace treaty with God Almighty is not to simply acknowledge your desire for the only thing that satisfies ,but to journey to the spring with contempt for the mud pies you once called meals. Until we realize the blissful ecstasy of a romance with God Almighty enough to leave everything else behind, we will continue to scratch the walls of our hearts trying to break free of worldly desire. Our desires are ingratuitous treasons of the worst kind, but He is patient and merciful, offering the drink of holy joy if we could only come to the river. Oh Lord Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and all that is good, show us what it means to desire you! Or else we will continue to desire trash as our feast. Lead our sinful hearts to Jesus’ heart, who faced with a disobedient decision to live, chose obedience to death which resulted in naught but life. Oh that we might see! Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer we remain content in rebellion unless you change our hearts to desire the holy. Breath in us Holy Spirit that we may love what is holy, cherish what is pure, fight for what is just, and despise what is evil. We want to desire not to live in the shit, but die if it results in our truly living. Forgive us our sin for Jesus’ sake and overcome our weakness, despite our wants where necessary, to covet holy joy only found in your heart. If you leave us to ourselves we will fail so come quickly Holy Spirit.

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