The party I threw the other night was what the French call “an abject failure.” It snowed most of the day, in Georgia, and with ice expected we ended up canceling it. One person showed up and most of the night a handful of us just talked about church and faith and the Flight of the Conchords. All in all it was a little disappointing.
But to tell you the truth, it wasn’t that intense of a let down. I mean, in the grand scheme of things it was a fairly minor bump in the road. What about the major ones though? How are we to handle those? How or maybe where is God when those times are pouring in?
I think he’s in the book of Proverbs and one verse in particular kind of summarizes it for me. Here is what Proverbs 20:30 says:
“Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.”
I find verses like this one inspiring. Not that I’m a sadist, but they help me deal with failure when I am tempted to believe it’s my fault. There’s the expectation these days that if God loves you, you’ll get good stuff. Big houses, cars, jobs that are important and I think that happens sometimes. I think God showers insane gifts on us. But what if you wake up tomorrow and it’s raining blows?
What if you crawl out of bed and are just emotionally beaten, over and over again? Is God giving up on you? Does he care about you? Does he want you to be joyful and whole?
I think so. I think that bad times happen for two reasons. To cleanse us. To purge away the cancers that are eating us away. And the second reason? So that God can remove distractions and create an incredible white space to speak to us. Our lives are so noisy, so busy, so manic with stuff. But when we find ourselves with wounds, things slow down. The surface things cease to matter much and there’s suddenly this perfectly quiet time for God to whisper or shout, “I love you.”
One of my goals in life is to see my wounds as new opportunities for God to love me. To see insults I receive as new chances for God to tell me the truth. To see fear as a way for God to reveal his hope.
I don’t like blows and wounds and beatings, but I want Christ to be Lord of my inmost being and sometimes he has to fight his way through a lot of sinful flesh to get there.