Monday, June 2, 2008

All That Used To Be

And again I see my yesterdays in front of me
Unfolding like a mystery
You're changing all that is and used to be
-Garth Brooks-

I feel like my discussion of pain was both incomplete and inaccurate. So I'm going to try and revisit that in a minute, but first I'd like to talk about the Old Testament. A friend sent me a link to a blog site where a guy was talking about stoning. He seems to think its a practice the church (and society in general) should bring back. That's the last I'll mention him (he's obviously a complete moron) the problem it created for me is that it got me looking up information about the Old Testament. It turns out that a lot of Christians seem to want to apologize for or dismiss the Old Testament. That really bothers me. I know that Jesus fulfilled the law so we're not subject to it, but that's not grounds to dismiss over half the Bible. I don't get offended, but I think I was as close as I've ever been today reading that crap. The Old Testament is a beautiful picture of who God is and what he wants for his people. To me it has always been a story of how far God will go to restore, about his willingness to pursue and rescue us. The Old testament is about love not anger - hope not judgment - promise not punishment. The laws and the consequences for breaking them seem harsh if not viewed through the cross. Why, on this side of the cross, would we afraid to discuss the harshness of Old Testament law? It seems a perfect opportunity to mention that Jesus paid that price. Yes, the price for rebellion is high, but it has never been ours to pay.

Ok, so my problem with my previous post on pain is that it seems to suggest that pain is what we were created for. That was never where I was coming from. I do think that pain is what's left when hope and beauty are gone, but I don't think its the whole story. I think the reason I'm uncomfortable with my last post is that I've has a little shift in my understanding of my struggle with pain. I used to think that I was 200% man. 100% fallen and 100% forgiven. I thought my struggle was with the other side of who I am. My dark side, the spirit battling the flesh. The problem with that is that it suggests that the blood of Christ did completely cover me, that somehow my sin is still part of my identity. I've come to realize how destructive that view is.

I had a little moment in my car outside a Mexican restaurant last week. Something I was counting on had fallen through and I thought I wasn't going to be able to do some things I was planning on. It seemed so typical. I had really thought this was going to be different. I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, so I couldn't understand why God would end it before it ever started. I was devastated but not surprised. I heard this Garth Brooks song on the ol' IPod (God's favorite way to communicate with me) and it was like God was asking me what I was actually afraid of. I was afraid that things would always be what they had always been.

It seems my struggle is not with dual identities, its with a past I can't completely shake. I remember. I remember quitting, failing, loosing. I have of history of loss and disappointment. I don't have a problem identifying what I should do, I have a problem getting it done. Its difficult for me to believe its going to be different this time. In those moments of doubt and fear God has always found a way to reach me, reassure me. This is my time. I've been waiting so long to be completely healed. I know that this is my moment. I may not be able to forget my past, but I believe God has the power to change it. Its time I shake off whats left of my former self. Its time to change all that used to be.

This new position shifts the way I view pain. I used to think it was the default human feeling (wow, its sounds really bad to say it that way). I no longer think pain is what happens when we the good is gone. I think its what happens when what we were created for is in conflict with what we're actually doing. For me this has played itself out in countless different ways. Its easy to identify most of the time. When someone dies, when relationships end, we understand that it wasn't supposed to be that way. We know we're created for community and when we loose that we hurt. I think we were created for more than just life and community. I think God gives us individual passions. I think they all in some way reflect the heart and personality of God. I've been reminded of mine. Its always been there, I'm excited to rediscover it.

I don't think this new thing is the answer, but I believe its an answer. Its another piece in the puzzle. God has been at work in my life for so long. He's revealed himself in powerful ways. I have a better understanding of who I am and who I'm supposed to be. I've been given community and family. Its nice now to have something to do.

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