i’ve said before that the writer i resonate closest with is the apostle paul. he was the guy who grew up religious and followed all of the rules and then one day realized that following rules would never get him to Heaven. so he went around telling people about the silly relief that comes from free Grace.
but (it’s about to get real now, readers) lately i haven’t felt so paulish. it’s been a strange year for me and lately i have felt less like a fiery intellectual and more like a…david.
david is the lovable screw-up of the Bible. the gilligan, the joey tribbiani, the george o’malley. he is the guy who loves God fiercely and earnestly but just can’t seem to get it together.
i know from the outside, most people don’t associate me with this type of person. and there are a lot of things that i do have together. but on the train, under starlight and on the backs of my sleepy eyelids, i see it. i see my shadowlife. and i’m a david.
she who flounders.
i love God. i love Him ferociously. but i just can’t seem to stay faithful. and it’s not that i blatantly reject Him – flip off the heavens and chase a life of hedonism- it’s just that i…wander.
and i think i understand part of what my problem is – what david’s problem was: we understand Grace and unconditional Love. and we understand it maybe all too well.
i was raised by such beautiful parents – by such a loving father – that i’ve never had the trust issues that i see in so many of my peers. i’m not so surprised when people love me or so grateful when they are gracious to me. i take it as my due: that is how people should act. and i don’t say that to sound like a jerk, i say it to make a point.
you see, i think that i spend this life walking on the edge of a swordblade between paulish ways and davidish ways. i learn to take my facedown gratefulness for His pure unconditional Mercy and balance it with the other extreme: the tendency to take His goodness as my due. the sad habit to so wholly understand the pursuing God that i walk over Him as i wander away.
does this make sense?
i started this post with the vague goal of discussing the tension between discipline and freedom. but now all i really want to say is this:
if i’m being honest, the reason i haven’t written in so long is because i have been empty. not in a dramatic way. but in the way i can imagine that david felt when he wrote psalm 42 saying “my soul pants for you, God”. i’ve always wondered what that would feel like, to want God like water.
but the more i think about it, the more i meet my inner david, the more i realize: you don’t ever WANT water. i think thirst is different than hunger in that we get some sort of pleasure from eating. sure, we need food to live, but eating is so often a social thing – a pasttime, a habit, a craving, a reward. thirst is usually just a need.
i’m realizing that maybe david didn’t write psalm 42 because he was such a faithful pursuer of God and had a such a fervent zeal for His law. i know people like that but i’m not one of them and i know david wasn’t. we wander and we flounder and we stumble after Him. not because we’re so good that we want to but because we are human enough that we know we need to. we don’t wake up hungry and say ‘mmm i could really go for some God right now’. our skin starts to flake off and our lips crack and our tongues dry out and we start panting and admit ‘ok, i need some God.’
and that’s the big difference.
i need God because when i’m not in touch with Him, when i wander away, i have nothing to share. no good fruit to show. no good words to write. no good stories to tell to you, readers.
and sometimes it takes me months to dry out, to shrivel, to realize and admit that i need water. but here it is, after months of famine:
readers, i need some God. and i pray and hope that someday, like david, i will get grey and wrinkled and wise and somewhere along the line, i will learn to wake up every day, greet the morning and greet my God and fill my cup with His goodness.