Monday, April 14, 2008

[Xanga] my heart

There are so many whose lives and sorrows cry out for God, and I have such little ability to reach them!

The balm of Gilead, the spring of living water, lies so far out of the reach of my fumbling tongue; out of our tongues, as Christians. I desire so greatly for those I love to receive the sweet respite I have found, but the only way I have found - that which I profess willingly and gladly to be the only way - is that which is "despised and rejected by men" (Is. 53:3). And I feel an infinitesimal portion of the sorrow of Christ, crying, "Father, forgive them! For they know not who they reject!" I cannot understand how he could bear it: that those He loved would reject Him Himself. And this is additional, added onto the physical and spiritual sufferings of Christ in His dark, lonely night. If only I could know the burdens of the suffering servant, the purity of the spotless lamb!

Can you understand? I deeply hope that you do. My sadness does not stem from an intellectual or social condescension towards those whose steps have carried them away from Christ's sacrifice, turning from the blood and water (John 19:34) flowing from the broken sin offering; I'm sorrowful over my sinful ineptitude, as I regard my foolish uselessness, as I consider my self-sustained crippling of God's Spirit. What is man, that He would choose us as agents of salvation? What am I? As men, we have turned away from our Father; and I am the worst of these wanderers, because I hear His calling and still seek ways to break free of that which has brought me life everlasting.

I desire so greatly to be a comfort to my friends, but the only advice that I have to offer, the only easement of suffering that I have found, is precisely the one that is a stumbling block, foolishness in their eyes (1 Cor. 1:23) . For my only advice is to turn and look at the Cross, and be bathed in the grace and mercy of the Lamb. And those words, save for the Spirit speaking through them, are less than nothing; they are sinful words of a sinful man. Why can't I do more; or, if as ineffective as man is, why are we still granted the awesome experience of the love of Christ flowing through us?

So, I can't - and oughtn't - stop loving my friends and being there for them, but it's so disappointing - despair-inducing, were it not for the comfort of the Comforter - that the only aid I can give them is, ultimately, insubstantial and only my own, bereft of the power of Christ save when He who is within me chooses to flow out of me. If only I could have this experience every day! If only, by prayer, fasting, lamentation, meditation, study, and devotion, I could forcibly create in myself the experience of God. But that's not how it works, nor, were it possible to make it so, would it be beneficial, in any sense, for the Spirit to be summoned like some genie in a bottle; my prayer is only that the Lord would change my heart to desire Him in every way. That he would use me, that I would have the strength and devotion to be, in every part and way, surrendered up to Him.

Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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