We are merely pretending in life until, by a cruel stroke of misfortune, or through the blessedness of a great upbringing, or both, we are found dissolved by the horrors of life and the beauty of God.
Nowhere does God matter most than when we find ourselves in a place where every single significant thing has turned forlorn and hope has been thrown cataclysmically into the abyss. Strangely, this is when we find God. Sometimes we never ‘knew’ God until all was lost.
God caught us, by his Spirit, in that vulnerable place where we were exposed. He cannot despise a broken and contrite heart. Only divine empathy unto blessing exists.
The more exposed we are the more power God will tip into us; not power to coerce people to get our own way, but power for life out of death, for hope in despair, for the presence of joy even in the midst of pain.
Only God could explain such a paradoxically victorious phenomenon. How do we find the glory of God we could never procure of our own in the auspices of calamity? Only God knows. How wonderful that our Lord is constantly turning existence upside down.
So, there is safety in sadness, for we are catapulted headlong into the bosom of our great God.
When we know that safety in our sadness, by experience that we can trust, we find the way into courage – a sort of bravery that will give us the confidence to do what must be done.
God wants to gift us with the capacity to bear and respond to reality, but he can’t give us the power to hold that capacity until we are intentionally vulnerable; where we no longer protect or deny our sadness.
The more open we are to opening up into the world and to experience it full-on, the more open our Lord will grant us the capacity to hold our own being together in the time of trial. But juxtaposed is the fact that we must be humble, and we are humblest when we have no fear for our negative emotional experiences.
Our Lord genuinely seeks us to live a real life, not a fabrication.
A real life is one lived openly before the heavenly host, and fully available to serve God and humanity. There are no nasty secrets; no faith-faulty compromises; no prolonged journeys into the unethical. There is only time for what might build others up; for what might lead to the equipping of the saints; for what might be experienced and established for the Kingdom of God.
A real life is an effective life lived to the honour and glory of God. Such a life is strongly vulnerable and able to be safely sad.
Courageous life is found in the strength of vulnerability. A secure life exists in the safety of ventured sadness without fear.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.