Before I write anything, let me begin with what I know is true:
- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
- He has transferred me out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Somehow, illogically, inconceivably, my weakness has some kind of a sharpening or refining effect on the power and strength of God. When Paul writes that “His power is made perfect in weakness,” he is not being metaphorical. In some incredible way that I can’t understand but have to trust, my weakness is valuable.
- I am not defined by how others see me, by the classes I take, by my major, by my relationships, by my job experience, by what I do, by how well I can speak, by any object or person or idea or conviction that attaches itself to me. I am the one who is loved by Jesus. And his love is (and how freeing this is) entirely for the individual child of God that I am. I am not loved because I read the bible this morning, because I have good memory, because I have meaningful friendships, because I pay attention in classes, because I want to serve. His love is. It is not because of anything – it becomes my because through which everything else is a gift.
- I will fail this year. I will fail academically – particularly in my advanced German course. I will fail relationally. I will not love people as I ought. I will love for reasons other than for love’s sake. I will fail at growing more and more into Christ’s likeness. I will fail in prayer. I will fail in forgiveness toward others and myself. I will always, always, always set standards too high for me to ever reach. And grace will always catch me. Grace will far outrun and outlast my failure – always, forever, eternally. Jesus doesn’t just accept my failure, but he in his re-membering nature takes what is corrupt and spoiled in me and remakes it into something new. There is no poverty in the kingdom.
These things are true. They are true. They have been promised to me in Scripture, and God’s character is His covenant with me. Before I process anything else, before I speak anything else or listen to any other voice, I must listen to the voice of the Gospel delivered to me in the human, physical, substantial body and personhood of Christ.
There are so many things I don’t know right now. The reality of no longer being a kid keeps hitting me over and over again. I have so many fears and insecurities running through me. A professor who means quite a lot to me quietly announced today that he has a serious medical condition. I just finished a summer I am only beginning to sift through and process. There is uncertainty around every doorstep, crawling through walls I have tried for years to insulate with unhealthy habits and intellectual discipline. And this is good. It doesn’t feel good but in many ways, the fear and uncertainty is forcing me to better construct myself, insulate walls with things that are godly, that feel less substantial but take far less of my humanity with them. I am learning what it means to be human. And that is both a terrible and beautiful thing. I am learning what it means for God to be God. And that is a terrible and beautiful thing.
There is a song I like that asks, “If I give it all to You, will You make me all new? If I open up these hands will You fill them again?” I don’t know much, but I believe deeply that the answer to both those questions is Yes. Yes, Jesus remakes and refills, and he does it most beautifully when I allow Him into the parts of me that feel empty with neglect and loneliness or too full with anxiety and fear. Jesus gives me a Yes I can trust. He is the Yes I can trust, in whom all the promises of God take on their affirmation in flesh. When I do not know, Jesus is still always the face of God I can trust.