Well, as a very supportive, old (not like, elderly, but like, from the past) youth pastor recently pointed out to me, I haven’t written in over a month, though my own narcissism has definitely stayed alive and well through other venues. So here I am, sitting in the library amongst a fairly large group of 15-year-olds who are all working on projects for school, trying to think of some words. Here is what I have.
Muddled. I think that’s the best way to explain my life at the moment. Everything feels a little bit… muddled. In the last month and a half, I have started a new job–one that I love. Nevertheless, transition is never easy, even when it is welcome. I have moved out of my old apartment, moved into a house (my roommate and I called it the “halfway house”), moved out of the house two weeks later, and moved into my new townhouse. We have all of this space now, and it’s magnified even more because we also don’t have any dining room/living room furniture, apart from two end tables, a tiny television, and a myriad of lamps. So we have a giant, high-ceilinged, open, empty downstairs. And that would signify, of course, that we have an upstairs AND a downstairs. Two whole levels. Crap, there’s even a patio. I feel, well… fancy. But I also feel a little lost in all the space. Overwhelmed.
I think a big part of the reason that muddled and overwhelmed are where I am currently residing, is because real, legitimate time spent with God has lost priority to ten more minutes of sleep in the morning. It has lost priority to the songs on the radio on my way to work. It has lost priority in a lot of time-sucking ways, but really, and most honestly, it has lost priority to other relationships. And when your relationship with God loses top billing, which, if I am going to be honest with you, it has in the past month, then this is where you find yourself. Bleary-eyed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and… muddled. Suck.
“25It was the third hour when they crucified him. 26The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.[a] 29Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30come down from the cross and save yourself!’
31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! 32Let this Christ,[b] this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’ Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”
I have been slowly making my way through the Gospel of Mark over the past two months. Slow but steady. Alright, alright, slow but inconsistent. But anyway, enough with the self-depricating. I have been reading Mark, and just reread this chapter again. I think that maybe, just maybe, this chapter illustrates the stem of all disbelief. Gasp. Them’s fighting words. Just read.
“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!” 32
I’m not saying that our disbelief comes from not believing that Jesus can not save Himself… I’m saying that, in my opinion, the real issues often lies in our own disbelief that God will save ourself. Who do you look at in the mirror when you wake up in the morning? So often, the person I see is someone who I think is too lost for salvation. I look at myself and all of the guilt from any past sins and idiocy come flooding back.
17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I think that often we stand in the way of our own salvation. We stand in our own way of accepting the grace that God so willingly wants to give to us. For some, many, I think, this inner failure, this disbelief that God can save us, comes from the pride deep within us that is sure that if we just try better, try more, try differently, we can save ourselves. We can be that shining beacon of light to the world that makes God and His Fatherly love completely irrelevant.
However, I also think that it is us, those who think that we are perfect, who fall the hardest when we screw up. When we screw up. This is when we find ourselves thinking, “If God can’t save me while I’m helping Him out and being so perfectly good, how is He even going to attempt to save me after I have failed Him like I have?” We have lived our lives thinking that we are God’s golden children, and we can’t stand to look Him in the eyes when everything falls through and we are shown for what we really are: Sinners, just like everyone else. The failure, the imperfection of it all, makes us crazy, so maybe we avoid Him for a while. Maybe we sweep it under the rug. Maybe we give up.
Or maybe… maybe eventually, we realize that the reason we felt like God “couldn’t” save us the first time was because we weren’t trusting that He could.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When we group ourselves with the “righteous,” we immediately separate ourselves from hearing Jesus when He calls. He didn’t come to save the righteous. He came to save the sick, sad, washed-up sinners. He came to call me, and He came to call you. Because we are all pathetic, sinful screwups.
And that is the absolute best news I’ve heard all day.