There is in me sometimes a bit of longing, something I really can’t easily explain, it is almost as though I long for something more, a state of discontent with what I am, an inexplicable restlessness, this sense that what I see isn’t quite all there is, but that there is something greater just out of reach. You could almost say that I desire to be a man who walks in the realm of the supernatural, so much so that it seems unnatural to dwell in the realm of the natural. There is in me a restless desire to be more, to do more, than what I am actually able to do. Nothing qualms this restless spirit within me, nothing calms these waters, they only ever return, and return stronger than before. It is like a unconsuming fire that burns within me, nothing can quench it, but neither can I find the means to satisfy it. It is a longing to do what is beyond human ability to do, but why? Why does this longing even exist, and why does it exist so strongly within me as it does?
For example I sometimes wish I had supernatural abilities such as flight and to walk across the water, and so forth. But all of that is really rather superficial compared to what it is that I really desire to see, which is transformation, healing, and hope.
Above all I wish I could heal those around me, and myself when need be, of their hurts, their pains, their illnesses I wish I could see the eyes of the blind open, the ears of the deaf, the tongues of the mute, the hands and the feet of the lame move.
I wish I could see hope in the eyes of the brokenhearted. Oh how I wish I could see the wounds of the inner person healed, these are the deepest wounds, so much more than blindness, than deafness, than lameness, than disease, and hurt. These wounds run deep, beyond the body, and into the soul. They hurt us, and continue to hurt, often growing, rather than fading with the passing of time.
What is it that I’m missing? I’ve seen these qualities in others, but how come I never seem to see them take place in my own ‘world’. Would that my hands could be the hands of a healer, to heal and not to wound. I feel too much like a soldier, and not enough like a healer.
I feel so powerless, so inadequate I suppose, when I say that I wish I had the ability to heal, I don’t necessarily mean, that I had the ability to heal, in and of myself, what I mean is that I wish that whether it was me, or someone working through me, or what have you, makes no difference, I only wish that those around me would be healed at my hand, I’m tired of wounding those who I touch, I want to help them, heal them, restore them.
Oh, I don’t know, it is a confusing thing to me, why must people suffer? Why do we not see the miraculous take place in our daily lives in my part of the world? I hear stories about other places in which these sort of things do take place, so I have to ask, why not here? What is it that is blinding me? Where is it that I’m misunderstanding some fundamental truth about what I believe? Wrong belief is the only reasonable explanation for it, but what is the lie that I’ve bought into? I need so desperately for the truth to shine through all the fog of my presumptions, blindnesses, assumptions, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, fears, outright perversions, and so forth of what it is that I ought to be believing, but am missing. There is something broken about what it is that I say I believe. I have the belief, but I see no evidence of it working out in my life, not like what I read about, and hear about. What is it that I’m missing?
It has occured to me that my faith isn’t so much about me, yes it is true that Jesus saved Me, he died for me, and so forth… But it’s not about me. There is something about a lot of teaching I hear, from all sorts of preachers, and I can’t quite ever identify what it is, but it doesn’t settle with me, there is something about it that just isn’t right, though I usually do not have a clue what it might be. It has occurred to me recently that maybe it is that so much of it is focused on the personal, you hear people talk about having a personal relationship, and so forth. A lot of teaching is directed on what it is that we can do or be personally. Or, what it is that we can receive personally. Whether it is giving or receiving, which is to say teachings on repentance (as understood as my turning away and my turning towards) and prosperity (as understood as my receiving any sort of thing), I think I’m troubled about the focus being on: Me. I am not God, why are we talking about me? It is a thing that has infiltrated my own thinking as well. I mean, even this very blog is an attempt to help me face my fears so that I might get outside myself a bit. But it is still a blog that is fundamentally about me. How do I become truly others focused, and even above that, high a calling as it is, Christ focused? It is a self-centric faith, and that is why it isn’t settling well with me. But how do I break this poison? Where can I find a renewal of my mind so that I no longer think about me first, but Christ, and about others before I think about myself. First, I desire to think about Christ, as the central focus around which all other thoughts revolve, second, about others. I do not know where I come in in all this, but I’m pretty sure that being the center, or even the secondary focus of things isn’t quite right. In the center I am my own god, and in the place where I ought to be thinking of others, I’m putting myself before others, or in other words, I’m being selfish. It would be a beautiful life to hold up Christ as my God, and live truly selflessly, forgetting myself as much as possible.
True, the self exist, I cannot deny my own existence, but just because something exist, it doesn’t mean I must give heed to it. I believe that the more selfless I am, the more the self is forgotten, the more fulfilled I will find my life to be. It is a desire I hold, to hold as my view, this Christ as central, others centered, for lack of better term, consciousness, rather than my current self-centered, self-consciousness. That is what I desire to possess. And I can’t help but wonder if the key to my not seeing the world around me being healed of its hurts is because I myself am standing in the way of it.
But how do I think about these things? How can I move out of the way without thinking about it? I suppose the only way one can, by absolute surrender to that which is greater than self, that which is central, and that which is the Lord over myself. To forsake all self-interest is my desire, but even in desiring it, I have an interest in myself. Therefore, I must realize that it cannot be by any merit of my own, but that all is accomplished at the hand of another. My part in the matter is to acknowledge the truth of what is accomplished, or in other words, to surrender to the truth that transcends even myself. It is the total surrendering of a soul to the one. And curiously, isn’t something I can accomplish in my own strength, but I can only surrender to the power of one who gives the power to surrender to the power that you need the power to surrender to.
It is supernatural, yet perfectly logical and reasonable.
The Christian faith isn’t about me, it isn’t about my role in it. Yes, I am part of the story, but I am not the center of it. The story isn’t about me. It is the story of the love and grace and greatness of God, but God is always the focus of the story, never me. I’m not needed for the story, I’m chosen to play a role in it, but I’m not needed for the story to continue to be a good story.
The Christian faith is the faith that shouldn’t exist. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it’s wrong, quite the opposite, it is a miracle that it exist, that’s what I’m saying. Think about it:
A God who created something he did not need to create, but created because he wanted to, then came into the creation himself. But when the artist stepped into the painting, he didn’t take up the authority he held? He did what? He was born where? He was raised in what town? He did what? Then he suffered? What? God with us? Who are we that God should come and dwell among us like that? What?It gets even more unbelievable. God, the very same person, comes and indwells what? Go back to the beginning, God didn’t need to create the world, he wanted to. God didn’t need to enter into the world, and even if he did, he could have chosen any way, he could have arrived with splendor, such splender as to shake the foundations of the earth from top to bottom, there would be no mistaking him, no misunderstanding him, all the greatness, and the terror, and the power of God laid out before us, who could stand? But no, he comes, as a human child, a little baby, and it gets even more bizarre. He emptied himself of his divine rights, and it gets even more bizarre. God himself, became a human being. Think about it. God, the author, the creator, the one above all other things, nothing, nothing at all can even begin to compare with the splender, the glory, the unimaginable beauty of God, and all poets and artist have been at work at trying to describe beauty, which is but a reflection, and a very poor one at that, since the day we arrived on this planet, and all that we know of the arts is beautiful even though it falls so very short of the reality of beauty as it truly is. But he became a what? A human? Have you seen these people? Now, I love people, I think they are beautiful creatures, and so forth, yet we are also nothing much to speak of in many ways as well. Little more than the dust we are made of. A being so unimaginably glorious and beautiful, taking upon himself humanity? How can this be? This is the sort of thing we might find in mythology, but in reality? It is as though this is the great myth, the great story, and it is a myth that is still being told, even unto this day. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. A story can be the best story in the world, but it doesn’t make it any less true for being a story. Yet, God remains the central character to the story he writes about himself. He is, because he is. It is okay for God to be self-focused. It won’t hurt him like it hurts us. He can deal with the focus being upon himself, we can’t.
This is the story of God, and it is an honor that he has allowed us to play a part in it, but it is still the story of God. It isn’t and never will be, the story of me. Nor should it be.
So while I desire to see those around me healed of their hurts, and so forth, I must ask again, how much do I desire to be forgotten by myself?
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I desire to be emptied of myself, to be a tool for the benefit of others, but not for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others and more importantly for the benefit of the one who uses the tool. Would that it could be true that I would be so emptied of myself, that self, as I think of it, would no longer exist, but I would by nature be Christ-focused and others centered. That is the desire in my heart, it burns within me, I desire it more than anything, but I fear the falling short of it, and yet, I must be careful not to let condemnation into my heart, for that too is a focus upon myself. I desire to cease from thinking about myself at all, if that is at all possible. Even if it is not, I desire it. You can desire things even though they are impossible, the desire will still be of benefit.
I do not wish to be focused upon myself, nor upon the failings of others, which tends to do little more than exalt myself at any rate, be it in a twisted and something of a sick sort of way, it is rather like exposing the nakedness of others so that we can consider ourselves to be clothed. It’s twisted, it’s perverse, it’s sick. But we do it when we feel the need to expose the failings of others, when we have no business doing so any more than we have the business of stealing their garments from them. I cannot believe it is in the better interest of people to steal their garments from them. whether we speak of doing it physically, in which case we’d rightly find indignation and disgust, not only from the person, but hopefully from those around us as well. Or we speak of doing so in a figurative sense. That is, going around talking about people’s shortcomings, their sins, their failures, and so forth. We don’t have the business of doing that. It isn’t for us to expose them that way, not even if it is under the excuse of ‘well it’s for your own good’. Yet even though most of us would never dream of going around exposing people in a physical sense, we seem to think it’s alright to expose them when it comes to their moral shortcomings. I do it too, I hate it when I catch myself doing it, and I don’t want to try to justify my behavior in doing it, I am dead wrong to do this. How do I talk of this problem without doing it? I’m not exactly sure, but I suppose what I am trying to say is, don’t expose what you do not have the business of exposing, any more than you would in a physical sense when it comes to protecting the basic human dignity of your fellow people, what is more, these are your brothers and sisters, your heart is to be a heart of love, and love covers, it doesn’t expose, when it finds even a multitude of sins, it covers, yes, sometimes that means we have to give up our own cloak, so to speak, but what pretenses do we really have anyways? All that we have is what has been given to us as a gift anyways, we hold no claim to our own bodies, not to mention the cloaks we wear. We fight for our brothers and sisters, not against them. Our war is not a war against flesh and blood. We must not confuse our enemy with our brothers and sisters, even if he disguises himself to look like one. I have to have compassion on humanity. How can I help it, we as a whole, as a race if you will, are enslaved. Humanity is in need of compassion and love, and while I don’t know what to do about those who harm, hurt, destroy, steal, and so forth. (For example few people on earth disgust me that those who are trafficking their fellow human beings for a profit. Worse yet, this is such an underlying network for the world economy, that there is almost nothing about our modern lives that are not in some way supportive of the practice. Even in America this sort of activity takes place.) How do I hold a compassion for humanity as a whole, and yet fight injustice? I don’t know, I really don’t know how it is that these issues may be dealt with, yet I am convinced that I must both love my neighbor, and stand against evil. But how does one do so in a manner that seeks not only the redemption of the slaves, but the slavers? Again, my fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, these horrors are but the visible outcomes of a something darker. It is these powers that are ultimately responsible for the matter, and it is them that we are fighting against. How do I remain compassionate towards humanity though, when I see men abusing other men in ways too horrible to think about. How can I see the beauty in humanity, when sometimes it seems such an ugly thing?
Perhaps seeing the beauty in people is what is needed to save them. When we fight against humanity, we can’t see the beauty in them, however small it might be. We can only ever start to see them as something less than human. How can we fight against the bonds that hold even the worst of men, if possible, seeking ever to see the redemption of even the darkest, most horrible, side of humanity. It is hard for me to reconcile the ugliness of the dark aspect of humankind with the call to love them. But I am also convinced that we must operate in love, even though that might mean loving those who are really quite unloveable, and will probably hate you in return. It’s not our task to return an eye for an eye, but to love. That is our mission, to love, even the most hardest to love.
We need to walk in the supernatural for this to be, the natural man is incapable of loving in this capacity, I’m convinced of it.
It is the miraculous of the everyday, and why sometimes the least visible things are the most miraculous of all. Again, I keep coming back to this, but it is the littlest things around which the world changes.
Coming back to the question in the beginning, is the desire for something more, is it the call of my heart to forsake myself, or is something else? I am sorry, I sometimes feel a discontent with being merely human. There is in me this longing for something more. To be more than what I am now. You could even say it’s not so much my humanity I despise, it’s my weakness, my powerlessness that I despise. But where does this desire, this restlessness, come from? Is it the eternity written in my heart or is it the perverted desire to be gods?
Why must I remain so weak, so powerless? So common? So like other men? Why must I be so human? And yet to be human is to be of the same kind as those who I have seen that have astonished me, those people whom I’ve found to be so very wonderful, I have not the words to even describe them, they are amazing people. Does that not count for something? They are human, does that not count for something? Yet, it is also true that these monsters of humankind, those who hurt, those who harm, those who place profits over people, and those who enslave their brothers, their sisters, these too are also human.
I am a human being, it is both to my glory, and to my shame. But, at the end of the day, what does it mean? I struggle with my identity as one, on one hand I’m honored to be a human being, I’m thankful for it, on the other hand, I’m ashamed of it, seeing the darkness of humanity, I feel ashamed of my own, knowing that it is also in me to be this way. How does one accept their humanity, with thankfulness, yet acknowledge the truth of the darkness? I don’t know. But again, I do know that I am to love those around me, and to seek the redemption of those lost.