Raw. Uncovered. Courageous. Seeking. Risk-taking. That’s what I witnessed today at a gathering where several global workers shared story and heart. Through tears and a kind of gentle agony, one woman opened her heart’s door and invited us inside. She told us how she had lived for years offering goodwill and Sunday answers even through abuse, heartbreak, and all the fallout of trauma. She had learned to trust God through all that plus ministry life in a foreign land. She reached a place of fearlessness, not afraid of what man might do to her as she traveled, evangelized, and cared for other workers. She thought she knew what she believed, tested and tried as she had been through the years. Until an experience unraveled her answers and left her searching for more.
This is where many of us find ourselves. Certain of God and His love for us, we stand firmly with Him in His Way until we get disrupted. Heart hunger, longings, sufferings, injustices…disruption comes in all shapes and sizes. When we pause to notice our response, we’re a bit surprised to find ourselves squirming, skimming past uncomfortable questions, or moving quickly to the answer we know so that we don’t feel that awkward sense of not knowing. Like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, we quickly try to pull our hand out and pretend like nothing happened and nothing is wrong.
Why do we do this?
Maybe because instinctively, we sense the danger of uncovering what we truly believe.
“Oh, how He loves us so. Oh, how He loves us, how he loves us so.” Sings the song through our mind and heart. We hum it, ingest it, ponder it and want to believe it. And we do. Until something shakes our faith. Maybe a temptation we never thought we’d entertain. Or a medical diagnosis we never thought we’d get. Or a child who goes far away. Or work that asks too much of us. Then suddenly, we’re not so sure how far that love goes.
Our beliefs, often not as pure as we thought, are uncovered. And what we see worries us.
A friend of mine recently had a cancer scare. “Why would He (Jesus) scare me like that? What’s the point? It makes me feel like God is just being cruel putting me through something like that when it could have been avoided. If this is love, I’m not sure I want it!”
Sometimes what gets uncovered surprises us in just how far our hearts are from God.
And yet, in that same person, at a different time, we may see a risk-taking belief so sweet and pure that we thank God for the beauty of His transforming power.
I think that’s what we saw today with this worker.
It was an invitation for all of us to take off our masks and be real with all those messy places where we don’t believe as well as we want to and to thank God for places He’s made belief strong. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. And it’s there we’ll find the truth and purity we long for.