I requested permission to re-post Paul Lenzi’s poem, “Kneeling Toward Sacrilege”, because it’s beautiful, raw and real—and because it offered an opportunity to share about my faith.
It has required a half-century’s journey for me to come from the place of fearing the wrath of a distant God—to living in His grace, resting in the comfort of His intimate embrace. Much of my life I was ignorant about the Lord; some of the time I was blatantly rebellious, resentful that He hadn’t done more for me. Looking back, I see that when I was faithless He remained faithful, never forsaking me. He knew me, understood me, loved me fiercely, and was never surprised or shocked by the situations from which He had to rescue me.
He was present at my conception, and He’s never left my side for a second because, although I didn’t realize it for a long while, He had already put His seal on me. I’m a chosen daughter of the King, and He’s not going to let me go, no matter what.
A faith relationship with God is not static—on our side. Unlike God whose character is unchanging, we are “characters” He’s created of bleeding flesh and breaking bone, often unstable in body/mind/emotions. When things are going well it is easy to believe in and trust Him, to worship Him with thanksgiving and praise. But when life goes south we may panic, guessing He’s not paying attention, or perhaps is vacationing while we muddle through some calamity.
Paul’s poem reads much like the Psalmist David’s* cries from the heart—the heart that reverences God, but has gone as far as it can go in its own strength, and perhaps in its faith as well. Frank agony and despair, a soul worn out and reaching for the release of the abyss, whatever it may hold—many of us will experience this at some point in our lives, regardless of the depth of our faith.
It may come with repeated losses, traumas, failings, illness or injury; life events which pile upon our weak frames till we are prostrate in the dust, our tears turned to ash on our cheeks. Where can we go—shattered, our faith an empty shell?
We must know who we are, and where we stand with God. If we’ve accepted the shed blood of Christ on the cross as the remission for our sins—past, present and future—we are children of Almighty God, the Father, and joint-heirs with Christ. Our salvation is secured forever; we will go Home one day, to spend eternity with God in Heaven.
He is also our provision for life on Earth; every possible need we have has already been supplied by Him. We only have to ask in His Name and according to His will, and He’ll answer. Often when we think He’s forgotten us, it’s because we have outlined the answer according to our meager mind’s lack of wisdom. God, who is unfathomable, infinitely creative, and works outside our understanding of time, frequently has an answer completely different from the memo we’ve sent Him. It takes practice to pray with patient trust that “Father knows best”.
The Bible, God’s Word, is full of scriptures about what God loves and doesn’t. He’s a rewarder of faith; He’s not partial to the prideful, and tender toward the humble. I’ll tell you something else that is evidenced in His relationship to people “back then”, and now. God desires that we be honest with Him—not just fessing up when we’ve messed up, but telling Him how bad it hurts when it does.
There were times in the past when I was too upset to speak (or pray). I was so wounded, angry and frustrated with the injustice and disrespect being visited on me, that I was spitting bent nails and blue curses. I was sick and tired of Everything! But I’d go into a silent steaming sulk, rather than talk to God—because I’d forget how much He cares for me, forget all we’ve been through together, forget the RELATIONSHIP.
One time, after four or five days of the silent treatment, He told me it was important that I not cut off communication with Him. He already knew all the feelings and thoughts racing rancid through me—and He wasn’t surprised, shocked, angry nor disappointed in me. He said He’d prefer rage-filled shouting, to silence. Bottling things up is not healthy. How can He bless us when we’re shutting Him out?
We need to run TO Him. He wants to hold and comfort us, to reason with us, to solve our problems, to heal us. We are His beloved children—He cherishes the relationship He designed for us to share with Him. He is the Good Good Father.
The psalmist David knew, as do I, that because we are weak—because sometimes our faith is in tatters, seemingly impotent—we need a Really BIG God, Mighty in Power, with broad strong shoulders, and a heart which never quits loving us and never surrenders in battle for us.
And that’s the God I know. He doesn’t expect us to be more than we are; and our faith needn’t be greater than a mustard seed. When the going gets impossibly tough, we only need to fall into the arms of The Father and cry out to Him.
I Chronicles 5:20-22 says, “They were helped…for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him…because the war was God’s”.
“So will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing.” (Zechariah 8:13b) I hope that readers will benefit from my “sharing”—and Paul’s poem, which follows. (Please click his title link and leave comments for him there.)
©Jael Sook, 2017 All rights reserved.
falling from hope
onto knees of despair
so much pain
from abated belief
from failed faith
in the power of prayer
a convergence of
body and soul
of youth become
bitter with age
resigned to this
of bone upon stone
bent in sin of misgiving
no promises offered
a simple agnostic appeal
to that ghost of a god
for empathic release
sweet relief of release
©Paul F. Lenzi