- John Van Sloten
I'm always a mess
Last night I had another 'lying there before God' moment. It felt like part two to the 'I know you' moment I had a couple of nights ago (see previous blog post), where I was reminded of the fact that I knew a God who was more than enough to meet all of my needs.
Only last night I saw my needs differently.
Lying there, before God, I recognized that all that is broken in me will always be broken in me (this side of eternity) and that even me at my best would still be a hot and unholy mess before a perfect God. The difference between me in my most broken place and me with everything together is negligible when compared to the difference between me as an always broken human being and a holy perfect God.
And what was cool about this realization was that I wasn't feeling guilty or condemned or small in seeing all of this. It felt matter of fact; like this is just the way it is. And somehow this felt freeing.
I've never had my act together in relation to God (relatively speaking), and yet God has used me to accomplish all kinds of things over the years. During these times, I suppose I was fooling myself in thinking that I had my act together. Sure I had what felt like boundless energy, spiritual focus, endless optimism, strong faith, and I held my sin in check - but still I was light years away from the perfection of God.
Two weeks ago I gave a talk at a teacher's convention and at one point talked about the concept of infinity. To get there I started to name ever larger numbers - a Googol (the digit ‘1’ followed by 100 zeros), a Googolplex (10 to the power of Googol - "so many zeroes that there is not enough space in the entire observable universe just to write the number down; even if you could write each zero on a single atom.” according to mathematician Peter Cameron, University of London), and then Graham’s number (what the number 10 is to a googolplex, a googolplex is to Graham’s number! Graham’s # is so big, that it's a mystery within itself).
When a recent BBC documentary filmed Graham doing his proof for this immense number, they played a celestial soundtrack in the background! After he completed his proof, he then humbly admitted, "Graham’s number is not really any closer to infinity than the number one."
This is what I was feeling last night lying before an infinite God.
And again, it felt so freeing. Not in terms of feeling a liberty to be complacent, or to go out and sin more boldly because it really doesn't matter, but more from the perspective of not feeling guilty or condemned for my shortfalls.
If God's love is unconditional then its unconditional, no matter how I behave or feel.
If I was able to not feel guilty or condemned when I thought I had my act together, then why shouldn't I be able to feel that way now?
I think, maybe for the first time in my life, I felt that way last night (in my misery).
Really, nothing can separate us from the love of God... even our illusions of being in a good place before him.
"He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own accomplishments, but according to his own purpose and the grace that was given to us in the Messiah Jesus before time began." 2 Timothy 1:9, ISV