And so you’ve been here all along I guess

I mentioned a few weeks ago that The Jesus Record is a huge summer album for me. The past few weeks I have been listening to it in my car. Well, I guess that’s only true if “listening to it” means “playing ‘Hard to Get’ over and over and over.”

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt

I used to think that this kind of thing would get easier the older I got, but instead I get more afraid of being alone. I am afraid to cling, so I put up walls that only let people in so far . . . think Helm’s Deep here. Even if they get past one gate, there are others to keep them from completely infiltrating my fortress.

Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get

I’ve been living in so much fear, too, that God has forgotten about me. I think the best way to explain it is that I feel like I am last on his priority list. I know he’s there, but everyone else seems more important to him.

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?

One of the things I’ve been trying to remember lately is how accessible Jesus is. He was here. He does know loneliness and fear and betrayal. And he’s overcome those things so that we might live in that same freedom.

And yet . . . I don’t feel free. I don’t feel comforted.

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained

This is where I get stuck. Because I do feel like, in so many ways, if I just knew the reasons for things I could deal with them better. If I knew why things have worked out like they have, if I could just see a little more of the grand design . . . I feel like that would help me so much. I know in the past, when I have been given those glimpses, I have cherished them.

Of course we don’t always get to know. And maybe knowing wouldn’t really help. But in my head, knowing fixes it all. So I’m stuck.

And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret

I’m stuck wondering, “Are you still listening?” I’m stuck reliving stupid mistakes and misunderstandings in excruciating detail. I’m stuck feeling foolish and embarassed. Shame and doubt, blame and regret describe it perfectly. I feel so weighed down by those things.

I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led

I think I am finally getting there. I am finally learning to trust God again. This morning I was reading in Philippians, and Christians throw around “the peace that passes understanding” a lot, but what really struck me about that verse was that God’s peace guards our hearts and minds. When he asks us to be vulnerable and to trust, he’s our safety net.

Just deciding to read my Bible was a victory. And small group last night was great, and I had an amazing phone call this morning. I feel like all of that together is me refusing to live in despair any longer and choosing to trust. I’m trying to believe I don’t have to understand it all . . . I’m trying to believe that, whether it was just God trying to get my attention or something greater, that what I have to do is follow Him starting now. And let the past take care of itself.

And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get.

Amen.

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