While it would be really nice if life with God just “worked out” on auto-pilot, that’s just not the way it goes. There are plenty of people right now – both those who love God and those who don’t – who are in the same difficult boat with this virus and all its impacts. No, if we love God it doesn’t mean we can just sit by and do nothing and everything will work out.
Somewhere in the mysterious tension of God’s sovereignty and our free will there’s definitely a time and place for us to do some stuff. But when I think about what it means to “love God” there is a theme that has come up for me over and over in my life: Desperation.
Most of us have already hit a point in our life, and maybe many of them, where we just didn’t know what to do about a situation. We have felt helpless, trapped, defeated, scared. You might feel that way right now. What we know for sure in those moments is that we can’t get ourselves out of the jam we’re in on our own.
Sometimes it’s a literal, physical problem we’re dealing with. But oftentimes in life with God, we come to a place of spiritual, emotional, or mental helplessness. We feel caught in our own heads and we can’t get out. We tell ourselves (or rather the Evil One tells us) all sorts of lies about who we are and how badly we’ve screwed up our lives or how terrible it’s all going to turn out. But here’s the hope: I’ve found that if we can muster just enough energy to cry out in desperation, and sometimes even when we can’t but can only feel it, God responds.
When we are most desperate for God, it is then that He seems to come most near.
In that state of desperation I have found a parallel reality at work: submission. See when you are desperate, you do one of two things. You either start crawling and scratching for every last bit of life. You try to hold onto every little semblance of control. Or, you surrender and give up. You are exhausted and you know there is nothing more you can do. And that’s the type of desperate God is looking for. Desperate people have finally admitted they can’t do it alone. Desperate people often willingly seek the guiding hand of someone else because we are too weak, or too confused, or too broken to lead ourselves. It’s a dangerous place to be, honestly. Because in that place we are vulnerable to submit to people and ideas that will not lead us to life, but further into the darkness of death.
But not God.
I have found that in our complete submission to Him, He is not only loving, compassionate and kind, but exceedingly intimate. There is an intimacy that I’ve experienced in complete, desperate submission to God that I have not experienced anywhere else. It is a beautiful, life-giving, peaceful intimacy. I pray you find it today.
Here’s a prayer I’ve prayed in times like these that might be helpful for you:
O’ Lord, help!
I am desperate for your life-giving presence.
Desperate for your joy and peace.
Show me where and why I lack peace and give me a pathway to discover your joy.
Cleanse me from every unclean thing I have invited into my heart, soul, mind. I reject it and give it over to you.
I hate this lack of joy and peace. Help me focus not on the lack, but on the ways you have provided, have come through for me time and time again.
Help me see clearly the things you’re calling me to today, and to do them well.
I trust you completely and I am placing my future in your hands.
I need you in every place in my life, in every way.
I submit to you and ask you to show me the way – Jesus, be the way.
Grace and Peace,