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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brutally Honest



I got into an argument with God this morning.

I know it sounds terribly disrespectful, and as if I treat him with commonness instead of holiness. But Jacob wrestled his angel and won, so maybe there’s something to it.

At least, it was honest, from my perspective. And yes, I know my perspective is limited. I admitted that too. You see, that’s part of the honesty. “God, I cannot see what you are doing, but you promise that you are working, and you promise that when we ask you will respond. Keep your promise! You are God. Let your yes be yes!”

A woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. That was the same length of time the little girl in Jairus’ home had been alive. For all that girl’s life, the woman trying to hide in the crowd had been bleeding. Outcast. Untouchable. Shamed. And simultaneously, while she was living in her shame, the little girl across town was learning to walk, learning to talk, delighting her parents as the center of their world, playing, beginning to sew and cook and clean, read and write, think, plan dream. All things the woman herself likely experienced before the sickness hit her. Before she was cast out of the society of those who had once been free to love her in her loveliness.

But the illness took her “loveliness,” humanly speaking. She was no longer legally lovable because to be in her company rendered one unclean. She was a picture of worthlessness and humiliation. A life that could not be lived.

So at this same moment, someone of power and position is calling to Jesus: “Come to my daughter! She is sick and dying!” And no one is calling out on behalf of the woman with the bleeding. She has to do it herself. If she wants to be healed, she has to force her way to God. She has to venture where she isn’t wanted. She has to grab hold and claim the power that is in him.

And that’s where I felt I was this morning. I am calling to you, God, I have been, and you are silent. You have your face set toward others and you are on your way. They will sing of your mercy and goodness and power in their community. But I am here in your shadow and lost in this milling crowd, aware that none of the power to fix this issue is within me. Because of the circumstances, I can’t even cry aloud. Some things just can’t be said. I bear the outcast reputation of the humiliated woman and that is the way it must stay, but I’ve got you by the hem of your robe and I will not let go until you give me the power you have, the power I have claimed and depended on and taught to my daughters to be real! At the certainty of sounding like a raging madman, I have declared that yours is the power to raise the dead, to alter science, to reverse the curse. I claimed it, and I too by it alone can manage this and live.

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again with no change in results. Am I then, insane, to call on you every morning, to bank all my hopes on your power that you will respond and heal this issue? I have no other hope. You are God. There is no if about it. I cannot threaten you with unbelief. I can not threaten to leave you. No. You are God. Therefore God, be God. By your own initiative you foreloved me. You said so. I am your sheep and I hear your voice. So today, I am taking my position as one you called and not letting go until you bless me! You have called me friend. A friend responds to another friend in need. It is the foundational, unconditional building block of friendship. Even when we humans cannot meet the need of the friend who suffers, even when we cannot fix the problem completely or even slightly, the essence of friendship is response. Human friendship may be response without power. But without response, there is no relationship.

You say LIFE IS RELATIONSHIP. You say you are my friend. And you say you have power. You say I have none. Every word of that I accept and see in your word. It is YOUR word, God, and according to your word, you are MY GOD. And even if all I have of you right now is one thread from the hem of your garment while you are about the business of others, I have that thread. I have that thread and I am not letting go until your power goes out from you to me and you turn and see me. Respond. I’m not letting go until you do.