For a while, Lord, perhaps all week, i’ve been filled with..vague disquiet. I’ve grappled with regret about a lot of things. Perhaps, for longer than that, maybe the whole year, in my hours of quiet-in the hours before dawn, before I have to be up and about, attending to the demands my world makes of me, i’ve wondered what my purpose here is. Maybe because i’m getting older? Maybe because the year is drawing to a close? I really do not know. I’ve examined my life as a person disconnected, dissociated from myself. I’ve struggled with being who you say I should be-often times failing, and with effort, rising back up to continue.
But perhaps, there lies the problem-struggling in my own strength?
As long as I’ve known, i’ve been taught to believe in you-the one true God. I’ve been taught to fear you. The one who created me, who formed me and knows me even more than i’ve known myself. The one who knows my thoughts before I think them, who knows exactly what i’m capable of. Who provides, who protects. The one I owe my very existence to-beginning from the very air that I cannot see,to water,whose formulation scientists cannot exactly recreate,no matter how hard they try.
I’ve had my doubts about You growing up though. What kind of God are you? Would You who has professed to be Love allow all the pain I see around me?Would You who professed to be love let an innocent baby die of AIDS, or let a ten year old be abused by her brother? You say you are concerned about the little intricate details of my life, yet you would let me ache with so much pain sometimes, I have thought I would die from it. You who say you love me, yet are silent more times than I care to count, in the face of my loneliness, worry and distress-when I need you the most.
You leave me with the uncertainty of not knowing the exact path my life would take.
Most of all,You who profess to love me has left me with this thing you call Free will-a thing i’ve often wondered whether I really need. You act as though your hands are tied by your principles-why give me free will, then? Since you know the heart of every man, you know who will rape who, and who will kill whom, why let it happen, Lord? We hurt each other when we cheat, when we lie, when we are greedy and selfish-and hurting ourselves hurts You-yet you stand there, seemingly helpless to stop the pain and the hurt. Does pain amuse you?
Why can’t you just let us know, Lord? Is it better for people to keep putting their faith and trust in fake pastors and prophets, in fortune tellers, clairvoyants and dibias, in astrology and palm reading? These people-and things who pretend to foretell the future-a future that only you know? These mediums who only gave a false semblance of hope?
You create us with a hunger, with the desire to control what goes on around us, then ask us to love you and trust you that we cannot see or touch?
I’m not sure if I was taught to love you. You are God. All mighty. All everything. What do you need my love for? You made me. I should do whatever you want or say-out of obligation. Love has nothing to do with obedience…not so?
But it is precisely because you are Love that you’ve left me with this, isn’t it? Free will. You, the Creator, me, the created, free,to love and adore my Creator-or not. To pay homage-or not.
Of all your creatures, i’m the one you chose to be allowed to choose if I want to be subject to my creator. I’m the one you chose to fill with your Spirit.
How can you be contained within me-flesh, full of lies and deceit-how can this be the jar you choose to fill up with your power?
I don’t understand you, God. I’ve often times thought that you were quite mad. Often times, i’ve looked in your word, and i’ve found you to be a big paradox. You are a God of justice, but you are also merciful. You are a good of war, but you love peace. You are all knowing, all seeing, all encompassing, all everything. Nothing escapes your watchful eye-not my silent tears, or the collective groaning of humanity under the weight of sin and evil. Not the little boy torn away from his parents in his youth because of wars, or famine, sometimes forced to take up arms in wars he has no business with. Nothing escapes you, Lord. You know and see everything. You OWN everything. Including me.
Yet you want my love-of all things! Your heart craves it!
How? How can anyone as imperfect as me render love unto a perfect God?What sort of God would want love from me??
And, as if that isn’t confusing enough, this one thing that you desire, you decide to give me free rein whether to give to you or not.
Loving You isn’t obligatory, then. I get to choose. Because,unlike everything else, You don’t own my love.
This is what baffles me.
You woo me for this love. Shamelessly. Like a heartsick woman, like a man in love. Even when I’ve scorned you, chasing my own desires and pleasures, you’ve refused to give up.. And like a girl doing shakara, hoard it from you I have. Even when you have shown me the extent of your love-at least shown me what my little mind can take, i’ve thrown it in your face in numerous ways. I’ve wanted to be loved only on my own terms-never mind that what and how I feel are not necessarily barometers of truth or common sense. You want my trust so that you can help run my life and make sure that everything good comes to me-because you know my end from my beginning-yet, even when I wrestle with you for it, you won’t demand it. You want my obedience-so that I can relax in your will and purpose-after all, who knows the purpose of something more than the one who created it? Yet you allow me to do whatsoever I please. You are content to pursue me,doggedly, determinedly, even when I busy my life with unnecessary things, even when I try to drown you out with the constant humdrum of life.
You let me break your heart so many times by my blatant unfaithfulness to you- when you can very easily take me out with a snap of your fingers. You chose to pour your love into me-traitorous, flimsy creature like me! Why, God? Are you so addicted to abuse that you let me do this over and over, and still accept me, used, battered and broken every single time I crawl back?
What kind of God are you, God?
And yet, when I turn to you, my strength is renewed. My hope is replenished. The light in my eyes return. The spring in my step..the joy in my heart…My heart expands and blossoms with so much love. You are there, ever present, to cry with me when I fall and blunder from not listening to you. When I choose to act like a goat or a mule- stubborn, proud, unyielding, you are still patient with me. You pick me up, when I get to the end of myself-when my pain and my suffering drives me right back to You, when I realize-often belatedly, that no one else can love me the way you can, can fill me up the way you do, can make me the person that I ought to be.
I’ve heard it said that in love, what you leave unattended to deteriorates. With you, even when I leave you and pursue other gods-the gods of knowledge and intellect and beauty, of power, pleasure and riches, these gods who satisfy the hunger I feel but only temporarily, who love me only on their own terms(which are, as long as I remain slave to them)whenever I crawl back to you, I find your love to be exactly as it was-perfect ,stable and undiminished by my stupidness and shortsightedness.
You give me so much more than any other gods can.
Precisely because you are God. You are this kind of God. The only kind of God-the one I can’t understand. My faithful lover.
You have taught me about trust-In the darkness of my life, you have whispered your love, you have erased my guilt, and my shame. you have given me your strength. You have brought me up and out of the place of bitterness,anger and rage that I have been in for so long. You have exchanged my fear for faith. Even in my pain, you have converted and used for my good. Even in the hours of doubt, you never leave. You surround me with your presence. Undeserving as I am. Through regret, suffering, and sorrow, you have humbled me,and brought me to my knees, repentant, hungry for your light, and for your love. In serving me, making me Your own, in cleaning up my mess, and taking up my shame, you teach me what it truly is to serve.
I don’t understand you, God. But I am learning to trust. To lean on you. To focus on your Who-ness, so that my Whys don’t hold as much importance. Because the victory isn’t in struggling in my own strength, is it? My struggle remains because I use my limited understanding of what I think you should be to measure who you are. As if I could limit you to my paltry understanding of You. Smh.
No, Its in resting in You-even when my world is falling to pieces. Because nowhere else is as safe as within your embrace. No other voice is as sweet, as soothing as yours. No other words spoken anywhere by any man or woman, can be as loving as the ones you speak in Your word. The one you whisper to my heart when it is so full of doubt-if I will but listen.
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
Is there anything I have that you have not given me? Beauty, brains, wit. All gifts. The act of learning to trust, to believe, is a gift. From you. All from you.
You know my name.
And that is enough.