Lately I have been just flat out making myself want to gag. When I go to say something, write something, my underlying feeling is: "Truly, who gives a flying crap, anyway?!" That's not to say that I'm going through a bout of poor self-esteem where all I need is a pat on the back of assurance of my worth. I think at the base of my feeling is an awareness of the profundity of Truth, of Reality, and my paltriness in comparison. Well, that and one other thing that seems to have come to light just this morning.
The vehicle of that realization was the song "In the Light" by Charlie Peacock. I like his album version so much better than what is on this video, but here's the best I can find on YouTube:
There was one line in this song as it played in my head this morning that caught my attention: "If I'm to lay down... then I'll lay down my life for my brothers and sisters. I will need your help" This line triggered a paradigm shift; it nudged me over from a natural to a supernatural perspective.
Let's see if I can explain.
When I was a child, God made me a promise. Or, to make that mystical statement seem less ethereal, I'll specify that a verse I was reading in the Bible seemed to leap off the page, grab my soul, and promise never ever to fail me. The whole of Psalm 10 gives the context, and is what I read, but it was verse 18 that grabbed me: "defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." The psalm speaks, of course, of God's action on behalf of the downtrodden. But the specific way that this promise grabbed me, and what I wrote in the margin of my Bible, was that God would "break the cycle of pain." What that meant to me was not just that God would keep other people's evil actions from bothering me but, specifically, He would take me out of the inevitable pattern of being an oppressed person that went on to oppress others.
This morning as Charlie Peacock's lyrics about laying down one's life sang in my heart, a contrasting iconic image from my childhood was conjured up as well, which speaks to me of having security stripped away. Like so many of my generation, my parents were divorced when I was in the single digits, and the image symbolized that: we were hiding in the dark in our neighbor's house, watching my father making phone calls in our house. That memory has come to hold all the terrifying anxiety, all the unexplained confusion, all of the loss of security, safety, peace, protection and hope that my loss of family coherence was for me. That experience and that memory have cast a pall over many, many episodes of loss, real or perceived, in my life.
And this is where the paradigm shift comes in. I did have something taken away from me as a child. It hurt, and I didn't know how to deal with it. But the redemption of Christ has taken firm root in my life. Yes, He restores that which I lost, but He is not simply about making me fat where once I was starving. He never comes to rip my security out from under me, but He does ask me to give... to abandon all to Him. And He does not ask me to terrorize myself, destroying my own security. He draws me by love, empowers me supernaturally by "the light," to give my life for others, for what they need. As Jesus did.
So, I go to say something and I feel like "who gives a flying crap?" Well, perhaps no one. But I know and have experienced when just a scrap of someone else's life shared with mine has meant all the world to me, has filled me with the courage and determination to live and persevere through something hard. I know that there are people in the world, maybe even on my block, maybe even in my house, who are famished for love. And if each day with my morning offering I present my life to God, and He loves these folks with a dire urgency and has designed us to make real His love to other people, then surely even if it seems that no one gives a flying crap, surely I can persevere with His plan of being His love in this world, whether I ever see results of it or not. I know God wastes nothing. I trust Him with my life completely. I don't get to pick which good things He does on account of my cooperation, but I know that by definition of Who God is, He does the absolute best for us all.
So Lord, help me to persevere in sharing this life you've given me, even when I feel my insignificance. And help me to realize the profound significance and dignity of being your tabernacle in my daily life. Amen.
P.S. I realize now that the version of Charlie's song I posted here doesn't even have the lyrics in it that drew my attention this morning! Hah! I do wish someone would post his recorded, full-band version. So cool.