“Seized by the power of great affection.” Brennan Manning
It seems to me that this phrase is something that many Christians need to be reminded of on a day-to-day basis. We tell non believers all the time. God loves them SO much. But the truth is, the truth is; that we hide behind our upper middle-class caucasian Christian culture. It is only truly a facade. Life is never perfect because we are never perfect. If we chose to be vulnerable, if we chose to be honest, we would realize that behind that perfectionist smile, we are all as grotesque as the one standing next us. We all swear. We all lust. We all seek to please our flesh outside of God’s plan and often try to swallow our aches in shot glasses and beer bottles. Many of us have let anger become our most common and reliable emotion. We’ve all fallen short in a very powerful way. We scream. We desire control. We crave fame. We all fake it. Fake a decent life. Fake vulnerability. Fake true communion with each other. Fake the desire to know God better. Fake holiness.
In our chaotic mix of diamonds and stones, covered in a blackened sticky tar, we can’t help but feel empty. We come up short as we seek to resolve every desire we think of. Always empty. Always needing more. Never satisfied. And never good enough to seek restitution. Never clean enough to beg for forgiveness; request strength or search for confidence.
Sometimes I think we never really got it to begin with. I mean – we’ve been forgiven; the sacrifice received but never really accepted or believed.
We’ve never allowed ourselves to be truly seized by the power of great affection.
We talk about it all the time. We tell others about it whenever we have a microphone, or see a “sinner” at our door. But ask us to show it to someone already saved? Not a chance.
To do that – we would have to see our own desperation and sin. Not just in the quiet moments of life but also in the very public ones. To call it out as it clings to our souls – and blackmails us into submission while we are surrounded by everyone who clearly never struggles with imperfection.
And I don’t know. I don’t know if we can be really honest with each other. Because that requires us to be honest with ourselves. That requires us to give up control and really truly 100% depend on the grace of a supreme, infinite and invisible being. And do we really want to do that? Admit we are powerless? I mean we’re not truly. We have money and houses. We’ve figured things out. We present ourselves well. We make good impressions. We command excellence and demand perfection.
This lie is the source of the never ending turmoil in our lives. Perfection doesn’t exist. Grace abounds. I struggle with stuff. I fail all the time. I go after feeding my flesh – and end up scarring my soul every time. I’ll never be clean enough to get close to God. But that is the beauty of grace. That is the cornerstone of salvation and the resolution to the struggle.
In my direction.
God comes near to me.
He has engulfed me in grace and has seized me with the power of great affection. I’m a Christian. But I was once impoverished. Now I live in an abundance of forgiveness.