Last night I was reading the "testimony" of a woman who was formerly part of the "quiverfull" movement. She and her former husband had seven children together, they home schooled their children, and were very 'devout' Christians. On her blog, a blog which she created to denounce her former way of life and Christianity in general, she laments the fact that "she did everything and Jesus never did anything for her." This woman came from a severely damaged childhood, filled with sadness and dysfunction, and found her place in God, so she thought.
"What happened?," I thought to myself, as I read the bitterness and disgust in this woman's voice. How did a professed Christian come to detest that which she once thought was her Salvation? I find myself asking the same question frequently. How can someone who loves God or used to love God turn on him? How can I turn on him, every day? I know that it is sin that causes our hearts to turn against God, but what is the mechanism of sin at work?
I woke up this morning with the thought:
It's because it's all about me.
How often do I go through life, feeling I have done what God wants and NOW I DESERVE SOMETHING IN RETURN. Do bitter mothers and wives, fathers and sons, women and men, go through life doing the right thing to get returns? Is that why we should go to church, pray, do good deeds, love one another...
God tells us:
"So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.' " (Luke 17:10)
We are reminded in this verse that "we can make no claim on God's graciousness; in fulfilling the exacting demands of discipleship, we are only doing our duty." (Commentary notes on the New American Bible)
So where does this leave us? How do we become rooted in God, not just living in the shallow soil of externals?
WE CAN'T HOLD BACK .
The only way to become whole is to give God ALL the pieces of our brokenness. There is nothing we can hold back from God.
The parable of the Prodigal Son, in Luke Chapter fifteen, demonstrates not only the generous nature of God, but also describes the disposition needed to give our whole selves to God. The son who had remained "faithful" to the father in the parable is bitter. He does not understand how the father can lovingly receive the wayward son:
"Look ," he says, " All these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends..." (Luke 15:29)
May I venture to say that the son speaking had not given his whole self to God? He was being faithful out of obligation, not out of love for the father. He felt DESERVING, ENTITLED. Whereas the prodigal son gave the father his whole heart. He repented, cleansing himself of all SELF.
"Father I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son."
Finding happiness in God can only come through repentance. We come to Him as fractured souls, needing the CAST OF GRACE. We stand before him as little children, holding nothing back. All that I am not, all that I am,
ALL OF ME.