College makes my sin apparent.
Sometimes I am conscious of past actions; sometimes I am convicted in the moment and other times I dive off the precipice instead of hovering and retreating, knowing that to proceed is to fall and in the moment, not caring.
I am prone to pride, false humility, self-righteousness and jealousy. I am prone to justify anger with the word righteous, though it rarely (if ever) is. I am prone to judge harshly and quickly, though I would hate for others to treat me with the same un-grace.
I am prone to speech, outward and inward, that tears down instead of builds, that discloses instead of protects, that un-loves.
College brings these things into stark relief – both being immersed in the bible and living in close community. God presses on my heart daily, and often I resist. I excuse sin by suggesting things are just features of my personality. God made me like this – sometimes it’s a problem but the heart of it is good, surely? No. God did not make me to stay like this. He wants me to change. I MUST change. But I cannot in and of myself. That’s why what Jesus did must again be, and should always be, the music to which I rise up and fall asleep.
I need Jesus when a few words would make me look better at the expense of another, to remind me that because of him I am a child of God, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
I need Jesus when I am tempted to solve a problem with my own resources, to remind me that without him I was dead and blind and enslaved, and he gave me life and he is the one who can speak into and make sense of this brokenness.
I need Jesus when the rage rises up in my heart and the tears threaten and the anger beats a rhythm in my soul and I swear I can never forgive and shouldn’t have to, to show me his hands, and remind me of my desperate sin-stained foul-to-the-fountain neediness, and what forgiving me cost.
I need Jesus when I feel like love is impossible, to remind me of his journey to make possible the peace with God that is mine, and the love that conquered sin and death.
I need Jesus to whisper gently when I am tempted to forget my worth, to pierce sharply when I deny the good he gives me and to offer sweet, sweet intercession with God in times of good and bad, desperation and triumph.
I need Jesus every day and in every way and never more than today. It isn’t easy, or pleasant, or fragrant. I constantly want to blame others for the unrest in my soul. I want to do everything – including write about it – before laying it at Jesus feet and begging him to get involved.
And then today, in a tiny chapel with acoustics so beautiful it gives me a glimpse of heaven, I battled impatience, arrogance and laziness to be reminded that on the cross God got involved up to his elbows in the messiness of our lives and that only that God, my God, the true God, can and will minister to my soul and change my heart.
“I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and save you.”