Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unbelief


Strangely, the days have passed with equal swiftness and slowness these summer months.  I spent these weeks in the heat of summer digging out of the rubble, so to speak.  Hands at work repairing the toil of time on a weathered home we left nearly 3 years ago.  Hours of silent brush strokes coupled with the drips of labored sweat.  It seemed as if the renewing taking place on the clap boards of the old house coincided with the renewing of the the clapboards of my old heart.  I prayed a lot.  I talked to God atop ladders and from the roof.  I looked up at the hot sun and displayed my doubts, fears...the whole of me in millions of paint-filled strokes.

I listened a lot.  Sometimes the silence was deafening to my ears.  I wrote...on paper, in a journal that I had not used in years, during the early morning hours.  I dug up the roots of who I am and where I am going.  I asked myself the really hard questions as I scraped a hundred years worth of flaking layers from each weathered board. I was honest.  Really honest.  It wasn't all pretty.  Mostly it was ugly really.

I just wanted to feel authentic. I wanted to know...REALLY know that I am who I say I am.  That my words are not hollow.  That my life and my faith are the real deal.

I am so weary of the awfulness of this world.  The dark and hurting of people from every corner of the world crying out for rescue is overwhelming to my soul.  Even on the front porch with a sander in my hand, I know that across the ocean people are dying for simply living the life I am content to barely share.  What does that say about me?  What does it say about what I believe?

I wash out my brush at the end of the day, and I gather my boys together for sleep.  What am I really teaching them?  What faith do they truly see?  If rockets were hurled through the window and militants captured them from under my grasp, would they know to trust in the Almighty Hand of their Creator? Would they know that their mother would lay down her life should she be pressed to give an answer for her faith?

I can't sleep.  I wrestle with the emptiness of our days.  I am starting to feel the deep sting of the lies that I can recognize that I have fallen for.  Little footholds that separate me from that deep ocean of truth.  I pray more.  God...what are you teaching me? I tumble through sleep still longing to see...longing to hear and know that I am on sure footing.

I wake and kiss the boys on their heads.  We eat our morning meal and head out for more renewing.  Deeper the questions go into my heart as deeper I plunge into the bucket of paint. And as the old starts to fade into the new on each aged board, I start to see a little more.

I am wearing the weight of the world on my heart like old, peeling paint.  The sins, the disappointments, the grief and anger and lure of materialism.  I see that just as I must scrape the old off of each board so that it can accept the fresh paint, I must scrape off the layers of unbelief in my life.  My heart must break for the injustices and the sins of my fallen life.  I must be bared to see the Truth for what it really is.  Only when I allow the scraping of my heart and soul can I find where the real healing needs to occur.  The rotten has to go.  It must be ripped out and thrown in the burning heap. To leave it would ensure eventual destruction.

My heart must break. It cannot be trusted.  Sometimes, it blindly sees sin as a lovely thing or maybe even a bit of laughter.  It overlooks the wrong for the comfortable.  My heart is inclined to be seduced by appearances.  It jumps at the chance to be recognized and noted.  It desires it's own profit.  My heart knows jealously and envy.  It can scowl and hurt.  It harbors ill feelings.  It distrusts.  My heart needs scraped....all the way until only bare, rawness is left.  For it is only in that place that true renewing begins.  Anything short of bare, results in a surface unprepared.

I finally fall to my knees and tears stream down my cheeks.  I see it everywhere.  My heart, my home, and my life with tiny footholds of unbelief.   I weep for my weakness.  I weep for my sin.  I weep for those I love.  I feel I must know a bit of Eve's breaking heart when she realized she bought into the biggest lie.  I see how much I share in common with her.  I understand how easy it would have been for me...a believer...to eat the fruit.  I have eaten it on my own.  There have been times that I have traded a lush garden for a bed of thistles.  I have sold my heart out for fleeting feelings.  Even I have bought the lies of a snake over the truth of the Creator.

We all have.

I rejoice for the tears.  They are burning the old right off paving the way for the renewing of my mind and heart.  They are searing deep realities that this life is desperate without the grace of a forgiving God.  I am but an old clapboard house where the essence of God's spirit has chosen to indwell.  It is not me that scrapes my heart.  It is not me that renews. And I know the renewing is to be continual if I am to hope for an authentic life.

My heart is broken at last.  The kind of broken required to make me whole.  The only words I can think are- Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Unbelief.  Let's just call it by it's name.  Unbelief in the Almighty I claim to know.  My lips often say it, but how often does my life authenticate it?  Unbelief that there would really be a price to pay for walking away from holiness.  Unbelief that when I see my faults that God will love me fiercely still.  I know there have been times where I opted to eat the fruit of unbelief, no matter how tiny the bite.  Little or big...unbelief grows like a vine in the forest.  The kind of vine that will overtake the tree and withdraw it's very life.  It wraps and twists around each branch digging ever deeper into the source of life and hijacking it for itself.

I am learning to cut the vine.  I do believe.  I have never stopped believing...but I know that I will always need God's help with my unbelief.  It will always be there attempting to root and wrap its tiny, spiraling vines around my weakened heart.  But the Creator will be there.  The perfect Gardener can be trusted even with my unbelief.

Grace. This is grace of all things.

The house is finished.  The children are preparing to return to school.  My heart is ready.  The days we know not how they will unfold, but I do know that I am enveloped in the Grace of my Savior.

Lord, I believe.





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