"Upon this theme [of Christ's end-of-life sufferings] it is sin to be calm and unimpassioned." (Ellen White, 2T 212.3)
My husband and I just listened to one of the most amazing messages I've ever heard that drove home the meaning, depth and price of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Ty Gibson was the speaker. You can watch this message for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me9PzR8MPTE
I am more often than not calm and unimpassioned when I think about Jesus dying on the cross for me. The cross has become one of the most popular symbols in the world. One of the latest fashion fads is to have necklaces & bracelets where the cross is turned sideways.
The story of Jesus' Passion week has become too familiar, like ground that has been packed down hard because of so many people walking on it.
"The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion." (Ellen White, 2T 212.3)
Well... I do feel a unique emotional stirring while watching The Matthew Series starring Bruce Marchiano or when I watch The Passion of Christ, directed by Mel Gibson...but not when I just think about it on my own, necessarily.
Does this mean the story is not all that great?
No. Because I have a sinful nature and God is without sin, automatically that means if I am unmoved or little moved by what Christ went through for my sake, it means there are sin blockages alive and well in my heart, because there is nothing wrong with God but there are all sorts of things wrong with me.
You know that line used in breakups and/or friendzoning: "It's not you, it's me"?
We need to practice that line with God more often, but with a different spin. If we feel that the gospel is not exciting, that God is not captivatingly beautiful and full of healing goodness, we need to tell God on faith, "It's not You, it's me. Help Thou mine unbelief. If there's ever a problem between You and I, God, it's always mine, because there is no fault in You."
That shouldn't annoy us. It'd annoy us in a relationship with a fellow sinful human being, but let me show you a few silver linings about how it shouldn't annoy us in our relationship with God:
1. It makes solving issues in the relationship a lot easier. God is never the problem. It's always on our end from our own unhealed brokenness, from an evil spiritual stronghold we've allowed Satan to gain in our hearts, from fresh spiritual assault, and/or from plain old sin. God is never the problem.
2. God does not lord it over us - though He has ever divine & perfect right to - when we realize we've messed up, sinned, transgressed & hurt Him. His goodness is compelling and rich. He is out to heal us, not hurtfully try to make our square peg go into His round hole. God is out to heal us, restore us, transform, renew, renovate, nurture, strengthen, refine and beautify us more into the image of His Son Jesus. God is never the problem and He is never unkind, though some truths pierce a little to embrace. But even then, the piercing is good because it comes with a relief - once you embrace a truth that pierces, the piercing doesn't last but gives way to beauty and the burden of denial or the burden of hiding from the truth you were carrying has rolled off of you.
I just couldn't watch that amazing message, "Sundering" by Ty Gibson and not respond somehow.
I'm praying that God continue to heal my numbed, tangled and tied down emotions from my past traumas so that I can relate deeply with Him again and worship Him not just from convicted obedience but also from the authentic, warm passion of my own heart.
Once I loved God so much more emotionally and wildly than I feel I do now. But I didn't know what surrender meant, nor did I recognize my own sin issues. Through much pain I now know better in a variety of life topics. But I know God wants my love, not just my will. He wants my heart. He wants all of me to love all of Him. And I can't do that yet. Parts of me still have entanglements with addictions that are designed to control my emotions and deepest thoughts through distracting and then repacking them before they've been given a voice. I know that that doesn't bring glory to God, even though my outside life looks much more "on the path" than it did before my traumas.
I know that it's not God's fault. Nothing is His fault; He has none.
He is love itself and is full of achingly beautiful faithfulness.
I know that the problem of my lack of emotional responsiveness to Him is mine.
I have to rally my will to do the work of healing.
I can't wish my emotional addictions away.
But through Christ who strengthens me, I can work them away until I am weaned from them and fully wooed again by Jesus, the Lover of my soul who has lavished my life with blessings in such intimate, thoughtful detail that it makes my slovenly sinful nature feel violently overwhelmed at the thought of what it'd take just to write it all down.
That right there means I should probably do just that.
I do not want to live my life allowing the sin to survive and thrive that makes me calm and unimpassioned when I think about Jesus...! I know I love Him. I know I fell in love with Him and I'm still in love with Him. But my sin, selfishness, brokenness and Satan's attacks all combined into traumas that put my relationship with God through a meatgrinder that I know God would have gladly spared me from (long story), but I insisted on my own short-sighted way and I later wound up with complex post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. My walk with God has never been the same since. Before the C-PTSD, emotions were easy but submission was not. Now, submission is easy but emotions are not.
But at least I've put this much of the puzzle together so far, and I am taking small but consistent actions every day to draw nearer to Jesus. I believe He is drawing near to me in response, both through blessings and through trials - they've all, lately, been of a nature to tap into something raw in me, whether immediately or in a delayed fashion. But I am grateful for tears and for my equilibrium being jolted because they're opportunities to reconnect with God in the deeper way that I lost.
I can only do so much to heal, but what I can do, I must do. Every day.
Jesus also says to me, "It's not You, it's Me." And what I mean by that is that my healing is not all up to me. Not all of it. I don't have the power to heal myself - that's Him, not me.
I don't have a tidy way to tie off this blog post, but when we watched that Ty Gibson sermon, and it touched my heart while I took notes... I just knew that taking those notes was not going to be my only response to having heard such stirring truth. I hope and pray that this meandering but transparent post will encourage you in your own relationship with Jesus. Don't ever give it up, even if progress is slow & might seem impossible. Just don't ever give it up.
Goodnight & Happy Sabbath.