God is love, and love is vulnerable.
A wonderful graduated teen of mine sent me this Tweet. I don’t have the source (apologies to the source) but you can see why he thought of me (which is such an honor).
Behind the walls I built to
Keep the pain out,
Contemplate those beautiful words.
There was a season when one of our grown boys was living with us again. It was a necessity and a good thing. He also had a full-time job with John working for the paintball media company. One random afternoon our power was turned off.
John has a bill-paying problem. He doesn’t have a problem with the reason to pay bills. He doesn’t have a problem with the life responsibility of paying bills. He has a problem of actually remembering to pay the bills. Such a small thing to do when he has so much media to create and a world to change.
It was just an hour or so later that the power was turned back on because the money was in the bank. But this episode really shook our son.
A couple of days later he sat us down committing to us to be all in with our finances. He would even get a second job. With his sincerity I was looking into the 13-year old boy who said this very thing to his mother because she wouldn’t get herself out of the projects to take care of him. She never did.
I saw the face again of this broken boy trying to push perfect love through his broken system of love that defined his first years of his life.
Behind the walls I (he) built to
Keep the pain out,
The truth was the money was always in the bank. But he could never believe us. Two years later he was back in prison after “making paper” his own way.
My heart smashed once again.
His broken system of love still broken.
He believed the wrong god again. “There are two gods: the one we see through our shame, and the one who actually is.” The Cure, John Lynch, p. 32
The God who actually is is love, and love is vulnerable. God may be the most vulnerable being in the universe.
God is more gentle than a nursing mother. Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! Isaiah 49:15. The gods, any gods, are generally never described as this vulnerable. Yet our God is.
In the story of the Prodigal Son, God is painted as vulnerable by allowing his son to hurt him and to take from him. He could have disowned such a son or closed himself off from such a foolish son. But the story continues with the father watching the horizon day after day after day after day. Because maybe this would be the day. Then this father runs toward the foolish son with open arms.
That’s vulnerable. That’s love. There is no wall. There is no shame.
Oh for my son to know this.
The problem is you’ve had your heart smashed so many times. You’ve had your trust violated so many times. You’ve had so many systems of broken love. You just don’t have enough heart left to trust God. Even this gentle mothering God who waits day after day. Your love has been suffocated.
I implore you…take that piece of your heart that is left and trust God with that. Just that crumb. Just that shard.
God is pursuing that smashed heart of yours with his love. Or her love because God is so much like a mother who will do anything to protect her wounded child. Even if your own mother never protected you.
You can stop pretending to be at peace when you’re not (so exhausting). You don’t have to power over and power through. You don’t have to bargain with God. God is not angry at you for asking “why?” He is not annoyed by your tears because I know God is not annoyed by my tears. Or my many prayers of confusion—oftentimes not in complete sentences.
We can trust God with our broken pieces. He takes that shard and begins the healing.
In Aundi Kolber’s book, Try Softer (recommended), she lists for us what safety feels like.
Look for these things:
Safety in our bodies feels solid, responsive, and aware.
Safety in our relationships feels like connection, vulnerability, and trust.
Safety with God feels like connection, belonging, and mystery.
Keep this list in front of you for a while.
How safe do you feel in your body? What changes do you need to make?
How safe do you feel in your relationships? What changes do you need to make?
How safe do you feel with God?
Did you notice that mystery is a part of feeling safe with God? Mystery. When often with our trust issues we want to make God certain. Because God has certainly let you down. Because God was “supposed to” do this…
Yet a safe God is full of mystery living outside your box, drawing you outside your walls, watching the horizon for you day after day after day after day. Mystery is being the most vulnerable being in the universe.
As I say every week at my church, there is this big God who is for you. A wild God. A God who is beyond our words of description. A God who cannot be figured out so easily yet who is consistently FOR you.
Trust this big God with that little shard of what is left of your heart. That is enough.
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels.