I recently read a blog post by Micha Boyett in which she wrote:
…Maybe the sad people have been given a gift to see the world as it really is. And when we see the world, when we see ourselves as we actually are, we understand how desperately we need God to come and bring healing. We don’t have to pretend anymore. We get to need God.
(The Pursuit of Enough: When sadness lives on the doorstep of happiness)
“We get to need God”…
These five simple words stopped me in my tracks. The idea of having ‘permission’ to need God, that it is not only OK but a good thing to be desperately needing God. This feels like being released from a burden of weakness.
The burden is being weak in a world that glories in strength and disdains weakness. At work and around others I pretend competence and stability while internally I am fraying at the seams. As a parent I attempt to conceal the underlying feeling of being still a child myself. Even amongst Christians it can be intimidating to honestly talk about how weak I really am.
These hangups carry over into my relating to God. Imagining Him to be like people I know, performance anxiety creeps into my approach to prayer, reading the Bible and communing with my Saviour. As if relating to a divine Santa Claus I am reluctant to reveal the weak, broken, disobedient side of myself despite intellectual assent to His unlimited knowledge of my darkest places.
But Jesus came to call sinners, not those who considered themselves righteous (Matthew 9:13). And God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:28–29 ESV). Whether sadness, weakness, sinfulness or brokenness, God calls us in all our mess because it is to His glory that everything has been overcome in Christ.
Being a sinner and broken is the qualifier for receiving God’s mercy.
Every time I am confronted by my weaknesses, when those accusing voices of despair call me “useless,” “hopeless,” “lazy,” “selfish,” “a loser,” I have a choice; to give up and wallow in hopelessness, or remind myself that I get to need God. I don’t have to be strong, needing is easy. All I have to do is to remember.
Matthew 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (ESV)
Image: Aurora Australis over the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo, NZ courtesy of Shutterstock