Like a vortex that tears open the waters presenting a pathway from the surface to the floor, so I am finally beginning to understand that the noetic effect of sin – the way that sin interacts with the entirety of creation and causes disorder – is a vortex that consumes human life through violent tearing and ripping as it pulls one from the heights of nearness with God to the depths of agony, despair, and depression in a virtual hell.
Every human being bears the weight of a cataclysmic event where the very fabric of creation was cast into a perpetual state of entropy: the fall of mankind. This fall from the leadership of God resulted in the world being broken beyond repair as sin entered into it. By way of definition, sin is all action that runs contrary to God’s plan for 1) the world and 2) your life. The God who created you knows what is best for you. Day-by-day pretend to know what is better for us than God all the while experiencing that we do not. We remind ourselves of the fact that we live in a broken world by contributing to brokenness, which results in pain and suffering. This is witnessed daily in poverty and illness, pain and death. But I want to contest that there is something that digs even deeper into the soul than these things, that drives even the most stone-walled man to his knees in despair, that leaves one reeling with questions, doubts, and confusion:
When you realize that sin has made you who you never wanted to be.
Or, in the words of Paul the apostle, when “the very thing that you do not want to do is the thing that you do, and you have no discernible reason as to why.” (Romans 7)
Though I have continually felt that I was moving closer to Jesus and to becoming the man He has created me to be, I have also felt the weight of my past, the weight of my upbringing, and the weight of sin drawing me towards becoming the very individual I have prayed I would never become. Though I turn my eyes towards Jesus, I find myself becoming like sin. Though I meditate on the word of God and seek His face daily in prayer, I find that the gravitational force of insecurity and fear is sometimes too much to bear.
To be honest, I feel like the God who promised to be there for me has forsaken me. The more I pray to be changed into the image of the invisible God, the more I see just how short I fall from being like Him. The more I try to love others unconditionally, the more I realize how many conditions I have put on them, and myself, in order that they might be loved. The more I try to see myself as a son of God who is redeemed, forgiven, saved, called, and cherished, the more I realize how little I believe that, and how little I believe that God cares about me at all.
My insecurity has come back from the pit of hell where I thought I had cast it three years ago.
I am becoming like the man I tried for so many years not to become.
I am becoming less like my Father, and more like my father.
Here is the truth: I am afraid of my future. I do not trust God, and I do not trust that the people God has put in my life actually love and care about me. I have been rejected for the majority of my life, from being thrown out of my house at the age of 16 to having a “family in Christ” completely abandon me in a time of confusion and depression.
Sometimes rejection leaves you feeling like unconditional love and acceptance is a fairytale phrase coined by individuals who have never struggled with the converse.
Sometimes rejection colors the way that you view relationships, with God and with other people.
And sometimes rejection makes you unable to trust, and unable to believe that God, and even friends, really love you.
And you know who you is. The real you. The you that has qualities Christ Himself would praise, and the you whose actions are absolutely condemnable to hell at your worst. The you who ferociously loves those who are in your life, and the you who battles to the point of tears to feel loved by anyone in the same way. The you who cries out every night to be changed, molded, and shaped by the great I AM, and the you who doubts that the Almighty cares enough to “continue the good work He began.”
Even the you that has become the very thing you never wanted to become.
The constant battle of wondering, “why? Why God do I think this way? Why God do I feel this way? Why God are these things happening when I do not even want to do them? Why God can I not control the way that I feel? Why God are you not helping me?” The desperate cry for salvation from the very thing you have never wanted to do or become appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
“Where are you God when I need you… where are you God when I am drowning…”
You find yourself intent on loving those who are dear to you, yet you hurt them instead. This constant reminder that everything good you want to do, you cannot do makes you feel like someone has tied a millstone around your neck and cast you into the sea. Every intention on truly loving and being loved is but a fool’s game that is impossible to win. Every attempt to trust, to believe, to forego doubt seems to be as effective as trying to move a mountain with a single shovel.
One scoop after another gives you the facade of making progress, until the avalanche, when every bit of work accomplished gets buried under the weight of more dirt than was present at the beginning.
“I thought we were getting somewhere? I thought things were changing? God, I thought you promised to continue the good work in me? But I have backtracked. I have regressed. I am more worthless now than I ever was before. What in the hell is going on? Where are you?”
Why, if I am transferred from the domain of darkness, can I not break free from its clutches? Why do I live with a perpetual emotional state that runs contrary to the very things that I believe and put into practice?
I want to trust, I believe that I trust, but my emotional life says otherwise.
I want to be secure in Your plans for my future, but my emotional state cries out for tangible proof that You will hold to Your promises.
I want to trust You God, and I want to entrust myself to those whom You have given me without reservation, yet I find the heart within me, “that is sick beyond cure,” unable to.
Why? God, why?
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, and what I hate, that is what I do (Romans 7:15)
What a wretched man that I am… who can save me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)
Thanks be to Christ that He can… but will He?
How is it possible that one can be filled with the Holy Spirit, yet feel so empty?
There are days when the doctrine of election makes me weary of my salvation. There are days when the presence of Christ in me cannot be perceived, no matter how hard I pray, read, cry, try, or don’t try.
There are days when I wonder whether or not I am one of “God’s elect,” those who are destined for salvation and given the Holy Spirit, the agent of change in the life of the elect.
Today is one of those days.
May God be merciful to me.