Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Try

I recently went through a very difficult time in my life. I was weighed down by stress, blinded by anger, and distracted by depression because of a broken relationship with someone in my immediate family. To complicate things even further, sin was creeping up on me. It was a bad time; one of the worst. I actually questioned whether or not I had a real relationship with God.

For several weeks, I stumbled through sin, trying to find something to distract me from the pain in my life. I kept asking God to deliver me, but it didn't seem like He heard me. Finally, I started asking what I needed to do to get Him back. I started bargaining.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

Finally, I woke up one night at 2:30 AM to go to the bathroom. As I stumbled down the hall in the darkness, my tired soul said to God, "What do you want from me? What do you want me to do?"

I stopped and stood in the dark hallway. The response was quiet but clear: "I want to be first in your life."


I paused for a moment to let this message sink in. ...then I hurried down the hall to make it to the bathroom.

We have a way of complicating our relationship with God. It is easy to forget how to really make things right with Him. We try to make deals with Him. We try to make up for our mistakes by doing extra-good things. We beat ourselves with guilt and condemnation. Eventually we find that none of those things work.

The kicker is this: we can't make things right with Him. We're in much deeper than we think. All of our effort is like trying to bale the ocean out of a sinking rowboat. It's useless.

I know this is a no-brainer, but somehow I forget it so easily. There is nothing we can "do," no liturgy or formula of penance or ritual that can improve our relationship with God. He gives His Presence. We don't earn it.

The only requirement upon us is to be devoted to Him. Simply turning our eyes off of ourselves and letting go of our sorrow, anger, guilt and/or shame.

"You will find me when you seek me with all of your heart." (Jer 29:13) Not when you get your act cleaned up. Not when you make it up to Him. You will find Him when you get serious and seek Him.

Why is this lesson so simple, yet so hard?


John said...

this is a test comment.