Can we speak of laments—of “lost sheep” who get found—and of a prodigal who finds her way out of depression and hopelessness?
Let’s you and me converse about Jesus; about genuine laments that lead us straight to God’s unhindered love.
And while we’re at it? Is it okay if we also confront this lamentable truth: That MANY are leaving the Church in search of something more authentic?
To dismiss them as nothing more than “a sad statistic” is not okay.
We were all born wandering sinners, right?
What happened back in that garden, with Adam and Eve, made us all prodigals. And we know, being born into “the church” won’t save you.
I was born into the Church. Church and home were my only reality from my earliest days.
Yet, my first seventeen years with “faith” left me with a heart full of holes—huge cavernous holes—big enough to drive a great wedge between myself and God.
A heart that laments
Perhaps that’s the way it is for all prodigals.
Maybe we all have hearts aching to be filled with something more real—but we just can’t find it. Not at home, not in the church, so we go looking elsewhere.
Could it be that all the church’s “programs” are nothing more than a vapid replacement for the real-gospel Jesus preached?
Do you suppose that might be why people are hitting the road?
Scarred and searching
I need a little grace from those of you who have already heard my story.
(I’m sharing it here again for the “newbies” who might risk joining us.)
My “church life” began in the nursery of the First Baptist Church. My parents were church folks; all of my grandparents were church folks; even some of my “Greats” were church folks. You might have presumed I had “a lock” on this church-thing.
Nope, not so…
Even though as far back as I can remember my house had bibles and lots of hymn-singing, I still went AWOL.
I bailed out and said, “Bye-bye, Jesus.”
Because the truth is—knowing about Jesus—is just not the same as, knowing Him.
So I abandoned ship…
You see, in the church where I grew up we definitely had favorite hymns, and we sang them over… and over, again! To this day I can sing songs like Blessed Assurance by heart:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long…
But though by the time I was a eighteen, I knew this song by heart, I didn’t know God—no, not at all.
Laments of a Prodigal Sheep
And, as much as I would love to tell you, “This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long…” that just isn’t how my story went.
Instead, the lyrics to my story followed more along the lines of, Red Dirt Road.
I had some knowledge about an “angry God” who would surely send you to hell if you didn’t “follow church rules,” but that knowledge couldn’t heal a wounded heart.
In truth? I wanted to find love, and a cool drink of that living water Jesus promised a woman He happened to encounter at a well.
(But, I just couldn’t find it at church.)
So, I thought, maybe I could find the answers my way—on my terms.
(Well that didn’t work!)
Trying to “do life” without Jesus left me more broken, and disappointed, than when I had begun searching! And this is where God, with His great love and mercy showed up. He opened my eyes so I could finally see Him—and learn about Him.
Brian Simmons wrote in his book, The Divine Romance,
“His truth in infinitely greater than the facts we face.”
I believe every runaway who hungers for God (and something real) will learn that… eventually. Whatever their issue: boredom, restlessness, offense, abandonment, rejection, abuse, or any of the other disillusioning things this broken world dishes out? None of it, stands a chance, when it goes up against God’s unhindered love.
God passionately loves prodigals—period.
End of story.
Pondering the next thing
So now, here I am many years later and wondering where this blog is headed. I had been pondering the idea about a possible set of posts on returning to the Garden of Eden. Since that’s where all the broken stuff got started in the first place. (And, I confess, I’m more than a little scared and hoping I don’t mess this up!) I’m always warning myself, “Be careful what you write…” because I know from experience—God will test you with your own words.
Therefore, trepidation notwithstanding, I begin a new series I’m calling: Unhindered.
Not sure where this is headed?
I’ve got a rough outline.
There are a few old journals—with some very raw poetry.
And, about these poems…
They paint a candid portrait of a heart that has decided to bail out on God. (Selah.) But, there are also poems that paint a portrait of a God who never bails out on us!
So, fingers crossed, and here we go…
Beloved Holy Spirit, please lead our hungry heart’s far, far away from abandoned and broken—back to the beautiful truth of Your whole-gospel.
This is where our genuine laments, and Jesus, will always lead us…
Back to You Father—to a heart that’s healed, and HOPE-full!