Sunday, 17 May 2015

Unpalatable truths

Sometimes, realising a truth - whether for the first time, or a revisit - is awe-inspiring, life-changing, hit-by-a-train-stopping.
Peter Jobes at Sixty Stadia has just reminded me. He looks at Isaiah 40, where GOD reminds us in a series of questions of how infinitely mysterious he is: 

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?"

And because of this, we know that God knows everything.

"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. Godlasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out."

Ellicott comments: "The words come, like so many others like it, from Job (Isaiah 5:9Isaiah 9:10), and must have been in St. Paul’s mind as he wrote Romans 11:33."

Peter says: " fantastic is it to know that He understands completely how you feel and why? That whether you’re in the valley of the shadow of death or at your highest height God knows and understands deeply your circumstance, your feelings, your emotions, your potential."

But actually - and here is the unpalatable truth - I realise that no, it's not fantastic.

It's scary. I sometimes don't like my feelings. I often chastise myself for my thoughts. I regularly feel ashamed of my attitudes.

I'm not as perfect as I think I am.

And I don't really like anyone to see that.

Oh, I'll let friends in to see different little bits that I don't feel too bad about. Feelings or thoughts that I think that other people might also share in, or understand. Ideas which aren't too wacky. Reactions and responses to people or situations which are probably common to man. But it's all on MY choosing.

I feel intruded upon when others seem too perceptive. It feels like an invasion of my privacy. My PRIDE doesn't want to let them see my weakness. I think I am open and vulnerable with folk, but then someone says something which inflates the balloon of vanity and I feel - may it be ever so, ever so slightly - affronted.

I don't want anyone else to point out truth to me about myself.

And, though I am ashamed to admit it, this extends to God, too.

I resist. I don't want insight into the areas which need improvement. I want to maintain the facade of togetherness, got-it-sorted competence.

And yet. God's grace does not take offence at my huffiness and taking of offence, but continues to pursue me, with infinite understanding:
"It says everything about His character that despite His infinite strength He can understand us in our weakness. ...He understands all of us, and a whole lot more besides. That’s why next time you’re in a stitch you can guarantee that if you wait on Him, strength will rise."

And so I can accept, knowing that he loves me more than I can ever imagine, that he also understands me and will do everything to keep me from denying myself.

Even if - when - it means revealing unpalatable truths.

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