In my heart’s sequestered chambers lie truths stripped of poets gloss
Words alone are vain and vacant, and my heart is mute
–Daniel E. Gawthrop
This is the opening lyric to one of my favorite choral pieces and I have to admit, I can’t get it out of my head. My final entry for this series is by far the most difficult for me to finish. While there are a variety of reasons, I think most of them stem from one “mother” reason, specifically, that this final idea is the one that I personally think is most important. Why? Because this is where I’m forced to do some honest reflection on the condition of my own heart, and that isn’t always a pretty sight—for any of us. When the intellectual and emotional gymnastics come to an end, it’s time to ask myself a really important question: is it possible that the reason I struggle with this issue isn’t because I can’t find the answers, but because I can’t accept the answers for the simple fact that I personally don’t like them?
As you can imagine, I’ve wrestled a lot with the “goldilocks” wording for this last entry—that just-right balance between being bold and challenging on one hand, and sensitive and pastoral on the other. Sadly, I’ve not found them. So although I haven’t found the right words, at least in my estimation, neither do I think it best simply to leave these things unsaid altogether.
So my final resort is this: a list of questions. Perhaps you’d like to ask these of yourself sometime, keeping in mind that if you want an honest answer, you’ve got to start with an honest question. For the purposes of these questions, right answers are not nearly as important as true answers.
- Is it possible that I reject the importance of rationality because I don’t want to do the work required of me for developing sound answers?
- Is it possible that I reject the importance of faith because I’m not okay with trusting God’s word, no matter how trustworthy He has proved Himself?
- Is it possible that I resort to clichés like, “You’ve just got to have faith” because I’m afraid that I might have to consider the possibility that I’m wrong?
- Is it possible that I would rather “resist all beliefs” because I’m simply too prideful to admit that someone else might have (or be) the answer I so desperately need?
- Is my struggle with God’s sovereignty a front for my own rebellion?
- Am I blaming God for my sin by asserting that he must not have “chosen” me?
- Is my struggle with God’s grace a front for my own ego?
- Am I simply too full of pride to accept that I cannot save myself?
- Am I too selfish to let God get all the glory for my good works?
- Do I really understand that I’m not the center of the universe?
- Do I realize that God loves me not because I’m so loveable, but because He’s so loving? And that it’s His lovingkindness that makes me loveable in the first place?
- Am I willing to let God be in charge?
- Am I willing to let God get all the glory and honor
- Do I understand that God doesn’t owe me my “best life now,” yet I owe him everything?
- At the end of the day, whom do I really love?
As I sit . . . I pray. I pray we find answers. I pray we find encouragement. But I pray most of all that we behold his glorious grace, and that upon beholding His glory, we find ourselves in the posture of Moses, and with the words of Isaiah:
“And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped” (Exodus 34:8 ESV).
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, and the Lord of hosts . . . Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:5,8 ESV).