"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Friday, April 2, 2010

Secured Presence

I am not sure if it is a "family of origin" issue or just my personality, but when I fail, I find myself naturally asking the Lord... or maybe slightly expecting the Lord to be fed up with me and asking Him, "How long will you contend with me?" In my heart somewhere, I can hear the words of my God saying, as He did in Noah's time, "I am sorry I made them!" and in exasperation, throwing up His hands and saying to me, "I am done!"

To be clear, I am well aware that this isn't a particularly healthy view of God, nor a true one, perhaps not even a normal one--- but, none-the-less, it is my normal. Or, at least, it has been a struggle for as long as I can remember.

Now, in the recent years, as my Father has brought His healing touch and His good work in my heart, I have been readily able to answer these questions, these fears, with Truth. Over and over again through the years, the Truth of God's unfailing love, His never-ending mercy and His compassion has been beyond value to my guilt filled heart. These Truths have brought peace time and time again.

Today, I was asking God the same question... "I am sorry, again, Lord. How long will You put up with me?" My reading for today was from Psalm 22. The liturgy I am following suggested the repetition of one phrase that, by the third read, jumped off the page at me! The phrase was, "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"

When I read this the third time, I began to ponder it. In all these years, I have never felt forsaken by God, I thought. Never. I have never been forsaken. He has never forsaken me! The thing I fear... the real problem with failure is the fear that He will be "done with me" and ... leave, forsake, abandon... this thing I fear has never happened. Why?

And, then like a dark room is filled with light at the flip of a switch, my mind and heart awoke to the clear (and not very profound, I know) truth as to why I have never been forsaken by God.

Christ, my dear brother, took my place. When He hung on the cross, His blood took my sin. He was my sacrificial lamb. When He hung on the cross, His body took my punishment. He was my substitute. But, more than that, when He hung on the cross, He took my separation. He took my rejection.

He was forsaken. He was abandoned. He was left. And, then He said, "It is finished". It is final. Over. Done.

I can fail, and fail, and fail, and fail, and fail, and fail and fail... and Father will never leave me. Father will never forsake me. Father will never turn His face away. Jesus took this for me and sealed the deal. It is finished. What I fear can never happen.

This is what good Friday means... As I write this, I can hardly hold back the tears in gratitude. ...in awe.

When the question arises in my soul again, "How long will you contend with me?" The answer is sure. The answer is simple. Always. Stephanie, He says, I will always be with you. I will never leave you or forsake you.

I am secure in His love for me... that beautiful never-ending love, that unchangeable mercy and that depth reaching compassion is mine. Sealed by the Body, the Blood and the Spirit of Jesus.
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