Sunday, November 18, 2012

Damsel in Distress

Sometimes it's hard to view God's character as constant when our anger toward him seems to pile up like old laundry. It's smelly, and we know it will be time consuming to sort through and clean. And sometimes, you find an old sock in the process, and you begin desperately searching for its completing pair, only to end up throwing it in the bottom of your sock drawer, leaving it forgotten.

But I think God knows that the last thing we want to do is deal with Him when the going gets tough. He knows it’s easier for us to ignore Him until we’re down to our very last pair of underwear. Then, and only then, are we forced to deal with the situation at hand. It becomes a state of urgency.

This past summer, I went on a mission trip to Detroit, MI. Over the course of the project, I was overwhelmed with sin I had been ignoring for the past 2 years of my life, and even more overwhelmed by the brokenness that I hadn't quite sorted through regarding my past. All of the students on the project were given a book, Mercy Streets, to read as a means of preparation for doing ministry in the city.  Mercy Streets followed author Taylor Evans through the streets of New York City as he desperately tried to discover beauty amongst city life. In my own adventure in the city of Detroit, I was confronted with more homelessness, boarded buildings, and overall crime than I had witnessed in any other city I had lived in or visited. It was easy for the Enemy to take hold and try to show me that there was no hope for the city’s future, that beauty was simply non-existent in the city, and that the Enemy himself had won over. But in the midst of all of this, one quote from Evans’ book seemed to pop out at me—“disaster will trigger sorrow from other grief in a person’s life…” (p.108).

Naturally, experiencing any sort of traumatic event will resuscitate the same emotions that a past traumatic experience originally produced. The anxiety disorder I developed during my 5 weeks in Detroit was not a result of the brokenness I witnessed in the city. Rather, it was a result of God finally showing me that my smelly laundry was blocking my only way forward.

Bring on the detergent.

These past 5 months have been a roller coaster ride of emotions, filled with drama-queen anger toward God and bitterness toward the corruption I witness while driving through the streets of Columbus. And no, although I have screamed and even cussed God out on occasion, that doesn't mean that I haven't latched on to the truths that have so kindly been shoved down my throat a time or two—God is GOOD and He is faithful, He is a REFUGE, and He loves me more than I could ever possibly fathom. Faith is not a feeling. My anger toward God does not define who He is. Rather, my anger defines how much closer I am to sorting through that last piece of smelly clothing in the towering pile of laundry that sits as a barrier between me and God. And when it comes down that last, single garment, I know that I will finally understand what true intimacy with God really is.
So I ask you this, are you ready to start the journey?