Sunday, December 29, 2013

Broken or Satisfied?

I would rather my children be broken, on their knees, pleading for the mercy, deliverance, and presence of Christ, than satisfied and at ease in their own strength and goodness.
I realize that statement might be offensive to some but I believe it comes from a heart of love. 
What I mean is that I'd rather them be the wayward, repentant son of the renowned Bible story, than the smug older brother whose fidelity has blinded him to his own, less obvious, sins.    I'd rather them be empty-handed Jobs who mourn the loss of every good thing, than rich young rulers who cling to the good things, including their obedience.  I'd rather them be Jacobs with their hip perpetually out-of-joint from wrestling with God, than be indifferent to His work in their lives.
I am NOT saying that I revel in my children's rebellion...that can lead to stiff-neckedness and destruction rather than repentance.  Of that I am well aware.
I am NOT saying that I find delight in my children's suffering or pain.  Every parent wants to guard their child from every possible hurt.
I am NOT glorifying sin (shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid!), nor do I want to rob my children of the joy of a faithful life. 
I AM acknowledging that profound wisdom can be gained from our wanderings, especially when those wanderings leave us in a pit of despair that forces us to seek Christ.    When we are emptied of our own goodness, we must...MUST...depend solely and wholeheartedly on the merit of Christ.  The Gospel becomes (not in abject reality, but in perception) more vibrant and alive.  I know...I've been there. 
I am also acknowledging that a life of faithfulness can easily lead to a self-satisfied heart that falsely, almost imperceptibly, rests in its own faithfulness, and that subtly, in the name of love and righteousness, slights all who fail to measure up.  This condition does not lend itself to humility, but arrogance; not to compassion, but to harsh judgement; not to mercy, but to consequence.  It can be as dangerous as prodigiously pursuing vain desires.  I know...I've been there too. 
Coming to a place of brokenness that drives us to Christ doesn't always come via personal sin.  It sometimes comes by way of other's sins against us.  It sometimes comes through the effects of living in a cursed creation...illness, accidents, and other circumstances over which we had no control.  It sometimes comes directly from the hand of God.
But it always...ALWAYS...comes at the place where our confidence lies.  Those people, institutions, possessions, expectations, or realities which house our hopes are idols that, like Dagon, must fall and lie shattered before the presence of the real and Triune God in whom is ALL our ACTUAL hope.
As Christians, we never intentionally erect these idols.  In fact, we often remain unaware of misplaced confidence until something is torn from us.  The loss of reputation, position, money, family, dreams, security, pleasure, home, friends, or independence reveals to us just how fully we trusted in them.
Though loss is always painful and grievous, ultimately it can draw us away from our false trust to a place of genuine need and therefore genuine reliance on the Source of All Good...mercy, love, reconciliation, desperation we seek AND FIND the Fount of Every Blessing.

I long for my children to KNOW this, and therefore I can honestly say, "I would rather my children be broken, on their knees, pleading for the mercy, deliverance, and presence of Christ, than satisfied and at ease in their own strength and goodness."

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