Nowhere to Run

I don’t know whether I’m crazy, or just really, really blessed these days. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But even as I worried about having time to do another book discussion here with y’all (and decided I would MAKE the time), I also committed to taking part in a small group at the church I’ve been attending of late. And so, instead of having to find time to read and process one chapter of one book each week, now I find myself having to read and process as many as four chapters of two books each week.

I’m not complaining. I just figured it might help you to understand why some weeks, I may seem to be reaching a direction that Sorge isn’t sending us in. It’s just that Sorge, along with Foster (the other author I’m reading), and the Holy Spirit, are sending me slightly different directions than we might expect. I appreciate y’all just hanging with me here.

Now, let me backtrack a bit.

First of all, the more we talk about the dark times of life, the more I feel like I want to stand on a mountaintop and declare the goodness of God and explain to the world that He is not a capricious ogre that just sits on the mountain of Heaven and thinks of horrible, painful situations to put us in. God doesn’t wake up each morning and say, “Hmmm, how can I make Linda suffer today?” And God doesn’t sit and play backgammon with the angels while ignoring and neglecting us, either. He is actively interested and involved with every aspect of our lives.

But there is pain in the world. There are hard times. Sorge refers to them as “the fire” and Foster (the other author I’m reading) refers to them as “the dark night of the soul.” I think both analogies are pretty appropriate, and I think Rich Mullins might have been feeling that when he penned the lines, “I wake up in the night and feel the dark, it’s so hot inside my soul, I swear there must be blisters on my heart…”

When the pain comes – the fire – the dark night of the soul – it can shake you to the core. This has happened to me too many times to count. And it shakes us because I think that sometimes we come to expect that because we’re behaving ourselves pretty well that God’s going to keep the bad things from happening. We put God in a box with that expectation. We say, “God, because I’m good, I won’t lose my job, right? And my car won’t wear out. And my aunt won’t get lung cancer. And my dog will live forever.” Okay, maybe we don’t come right out and say that, but we think that, deep down. And so when we lose our job and our car blows up and our aunt starts chemo… we crumble. And we begin to doubt God. We don’t understand. And it shakes us.

You know that when I say, “we” I mean “me” most of all, right?

Sorge says, “The Twelve didn’t understand…and found themselves greatly torn. The multitudes turned away from Jesus at this point, and so Jesus asked the Twelve if they wanted to leave Him as well….Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’ (John 6:68).”

And then, Sorge goes on to make the assertion that I must make: “You’ll walk through the theological crisis because you’ve seen His face. You’ve tasted; you’ve beheld; you know too much to quit now.”

And then I turn to my reading in Foster and read: “If we truly believe that God is who Jesus says he is, then we do not need to be afraid.”

Life is hard because that’s the nature of life. Since the day that Adam and Eve ate of the wrong fruit in the Garden, we’ve had to face emotional turmoil and impending physical death. GOD DIDN’T CHANGE! He didn’t become less good, less loving, or less of a caretaker. We changed. We became less good, less loving, and less willing to let God take care of us. And ever since, we’ve questioned who God is and everything He does – and how we think it stacks up against how we think life should go—as though we were there at creation and know a single thing about how life should go.

Peter takes the words right out of my mouth. Well, the words I hope I’d say and want to say, anyway. He says, “Jesus, we don’t know what’s going on. We don’t understand what you’re saying. But we’ve seen too much and heard too much, and we know that there is LIFE in your words, and if we want to have LIFE, we’re only going to have it by sticking with you.” (my paraphrase)

Life is too big for me. Too scary. Too ugly. Too hard. But I’m turning to Jesus. Clinging to Him. Because apart from Him, there is no life. And if I cling to Him for long enough, I’ll really know who He is, so much so that I don’t have to live my life in fear or doubt or anxiety anymore.

I look forward to that day.

This post is part of our weekly book discussion on Bob Sorge’s “The Fire of Delayed Answers.” You don’t have to read the book to chat with us, but if you have written a response to this chapter, feel free to link up your post at the widget below. And you’ll also want to go visit my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, to see what he has to say.

 

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Comments

  1. “I wake up in the night and feel the dark, it’s so hot inside my soul, I swear there must be blisters on my heart…so hold me Jesus, I’m shaking like a leaf – you have been King of my glory, won’t you be my Prince of peace.” I wish you could have seen my hands shoot up in the air when I read what you wrote here, Sarah – thanking God for you.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Rick, I just went back and added a link to the video to that song. :-)

  3. Oh Sarah, you have no idea how this blessed me today. I needed your message……thank you.

  4. I LOVE it when God has me read more than one book at a time. So often I find that I learn more and dig deeper than if I had read the books separately!

    Thank you for sharing what you are learning in both the books! I want to shout with you from the mountain- GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!

  5. I love this, Sarah. And that Rich Mullins song never fails to bring tears to my eyes, for some reason. Something about that song, those lyrics, that just seem to come from such a raw place. It really reaches touches a vulnerable place in me. That place of total surrender and desperation and humility, knowing I can’t keep going without Jesus. Kinda like how Job was. Kinda like how Peter was…when he was saying, no, I don’t understand all this, but where else am I gonna go?? Yeah, like that. Beautiful post. Love you.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Oh, Lori, I needed it, too! And today, I got a whole new revelation about it that I’ll be sharing soon! :-) Thank you for coming by!

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    TC, you make me smile! Thank you for your encouragement and perspective! :-)

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Joell, this passage is one of my favorite scriptures, because it’s so me. “Lord, I’m lost. But you’ve got what I need!” Love you, too! :-)

  9. First off, love Rich Mullins and that song. :) Second, great post! You don’t seem scattered at all, sounds like God is really reinforcing this stuff to you. Awesome. I think about something we read in the last book discussion that has stayed with me. Andy Stanley was talking about how we don’t realize the difference of a world without sin compared to the devastation sin has caused. We only know the world with sin and the results of disobedience. God sets us right with Him through the blood of Jesus and then He looses us to set the world right as “creation is groaning, waiting on the manifestation of the sons of God.” I’ll go through the fire and the dark night of the soul again because He has the words of eternal life that I need and want. Thanks Sarah.

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