I was a rotten god
He never stops opening my eyes to his presence. Why couldn’t I see all of this years ago, what made me so blind to the glory I witness every day now? My pride and greed? My desires of the flesh? I spent a lot of time and effort building “me”, working and playing for my benefit, for my image. I look back now and see only futility. I worked to become a great leader, putting everything I had into my work to get ahead, great jobs, great pay, horrible hours, long stays away from home. I put great efforts into being upright and faithful in my church, and to being a great boyfriend, husband, etc. It is so clear to me now that all of that was for me…so people could worship me. Look at Mike with this powerful position, beautiful girlfriend, fancy clothes.
So even though I’ve read Philippians a thousand times, lately I can clearly understand what Paul meant as he said, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3:7-8). All of the things I considered progress were really keeping me from knowing the pure joy, the true peace that I now have in Christ Jesus. Man, I don’t understand Paul, I am Paul! I have lived what Paul lived, and my Damascus road was the New Jersey Turnpike, but that’s a story for another time.
Isaiah told me, but I didn’t listen;
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.” (Is 35:4)
Devine retribution came swiftly, all of those things I chased for years were gone in an instant, and the pain ensued. Yet there He was, saving me, just as He said he would.
I begged Him, cried out to Him, and he heard me, and rescued me. And the prophecy again was fulfilled;
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. (Is. 35:5-7)
This quiet old opinionated jerk was reborn. My eyes opened, my deafness healed. An introvert broke free and can’t be shut up. Water flows and refreshes where once only burning sand was in front of me, refreshed and blessed, nothing but tall grass and fruitful trees ahead.
Truthfully, I don’t even know where the old me went. He died I guess. I say good riddance! He wasn’t a bad guy, but he sure was suffering. Through all the success, I never truly had peace, always worried about losing favor at work, or losing that girlfriend. When I lost it all, through my closed eyes, I was suffering the greatest loss, the ultimate pain. But today when I see it through the clear eyes opened by Christ, I see I was in pain all along, and that final pain wasn’t so great, it really was the years I spent suffering the pain of worshipping the wrong god that stand out. Turns out I’m not a very good god. I can’t even make myself happy. But Jesus Did. The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
and those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Is. 35:8-10)