We're Not OK
May I puke on your screen? Please.
I have been waiting for several years now to hear a song that I knew had to be written. A song about how sick I actually am. Apparently, last year AJ Pruis & Matthew West wrote the song. Last Sunday Preston Northam shared it with me. It's called, "Truth Be Told." Look it up.
I won't regurgitate the lyrics here, but only admit my need to hear them. Often. To sing them. To admit them. To own them.
It really doesn't matter what angle we come at this from. History. Politics. Psychology.
We are broken. Well, to speak for myself. I'm broken; sick; diseased in some way beyond the mental and physical qualities of being. It could just be me, I suppose. But the evidence points to this being universal.
Sad. Afraid. Angry. Bored. Distracted. Searching. Lazy.
Not all at once. Not usually. Sometimes there are even long periods of relief. Success. Peace. Joy. Some banes of the soul can lie dormant for decades.
But 46 years is a decent sample size of life. Underneath the surface, always building pressure, is this insatiable appetite for something that can't be fully realized. Not in this life. Not in this world.
I consider myself to be a stable, dependable, sane, decent, generous, capable, sincere man. I mean, relatively speaking. Certainly I'm aware of many of my inadequacies and idiosyncrasies. But all-in-all, as men go, I'm quite satisfied with my station in life. Many are my blessings. Many are my fond memories. And, my daily to-do list does get the items checked off with solid regularity. I'm surrounded with people who I consider to be among the best a man could hope for. Really, the résumé of "things-for-me-to-be-grateful-for" could go on and on. Yet...
It's still there. The hole.
The eyes are never full. The belly never satiated. Curiosity not appeased. Etc.
Even with the conscience clean, there is a burden that remains. In fact, the burden seems to grow along with virtue.
Of course, I'm a preacher. So, what do you expect? The answer is theological. I know that. But just because I'm the one saying it doesn't make it any less true.
There will be no ultimate, full, complete, perfect, permanent peace in this life. If anything, my salvation assured me that I could never find my desired destination here. Unregenerate men (who can't see beyond this life) may indeed distract themselves perpetually with the ether of pleasure and ambition. But we know better. I know better.
Yet even in serving the Master and living for eternity, I find only inadequacy. I WILL awake in His likeness. But my sanctification is not yet complete. So, I say with Paul, "Oh wretched man that I am."
David wrote in Psalm 17:13-15, "Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword: from men which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."
Deliver my soul. Deliver me from their oppressing shadow. Deliver me from imagining that they have what I crave. Deliver me from following their priorities.
I keep saying, "Fine. Fine. I'm fine. Doing great! How are you?" And you keep lying back to me.
Positionally, yes! It IS well with my soul. Sometimes I can even feel it. My hope IS in Christ and He WILL deliver me. But, my flesh is strong. And in my flesh dwells NO GOOD THING.
I'm NOT fine. My head hurts. I'm tired of disappointing people. I'm weary of not having answers. I'm frustrated with my growing ineptitudes of memory and strength. The past seems impossibly utopian. The present confusing. The future hopeless.
Of course, those are human perspectives. The spirit IS willing, always. But the flesh is strong in opposition to the spirit.
We're not OK. At least, I'm not. But that's OK.
If all were roses and honey to me, I wouldn't be capable of empathy for YOUR misery. My perceived glory would make me useless in God's hand. It is only when we are weak that we are actually strong. God's strength is perfected in us only as we admit our frailty and turn humbly to Him for help.
If God gives me 46 more years to travel the road of life, the number of roadblocks and potholes is only going to increase. There will be detours, fender-benders, mechanical problems, and road rage. I will be less OK at 92 than I am now. But in that, I will be more OK. That is, if God has His way with me, I will be even more desperately aware of my utter dependance upon Him. And aware that my soul yearns for another world; another life.
He is glorious. I am not. WE are not.
But we will be. When we rest in His presence, we will be. We can taste that glory now, but then it will fill us. We will reflect it perfectly.
For the first time ever, we will truly be OK.