I remember the day it all came to a head. I ran to hide where no one could hear me, a tiny, windowless bathroom, and I sat on the toilet lid and rocked and sobbed soul anguish. I grieved over my nothingness. Without significance, what is the point of living? I begged God to let me die.
In mercy, Yah was merciless. He didn't answer my prayer. He stood silent and continued to give me breath while every good thing was being stripped away.
Losing my job didn't seem to be a big deal. I was confident God had a plan. But as the weeks turned into months I became fearful, yielding to feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
Relationships I treasured were cut off without explanation causing me to feel rejected and abandoned. The sudden onset of health issues drained my energy and ability to sleep--I spent months in a recliner.
When our daughter totaled my husband's truck in a three-car-and-a-house collision, I began to question God's love. Had He removed the hedge of protection from my children? From my family? From me? What had we done to deserve this? All I had asked was that Jesus be my reality.
All around me things were breaking--the dishwasher, the furnace, communication, relationships. The roof was leaking and the basement flooded. Life had become a whirlwind of chaos, and in the midst of it all, I was isolated--a bruised and battered tree on island in the eye of a storm. (I wrote about it in a poem here.)
I sunk into despair, and could no longer finding peace or pleasure in the simple things I loved to do: paint, pray, study Scripture, write, cook, swim, shop with the girls.
During one of the darkest seasons of my life, in a place where I have never felt more alone, a faraway friend sent me this olive branch--a quote by A. W. Tozer. I used it in one of my first blog posts.
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life....
I remember how two days before I lost my job I had wept in prayer and cried out that all I wanted was God. All I wanted was to be his instrument. All I wanted was to bring Him glory, to sound His praise.
He gave me the opportunity to do it first with an audience of One. And I failed miserably. When the isolation and trials came, I wasn't able to "count it all joy." I no longer sang His melody. I bowed to fear instead. I accused Him: Of desertion. Of failing to protect us. Of allowing the enemy to have free access. I chose death instead of life.
God let me bleed. He showed me I had been living for me and the approval I received by "doing." He opened my eyes to see where I was looking for identity. And He shut every door. I had been living in false reality. I sang because of His blessings, because I had been blessed. But when the winds came, stripping away every false dependency and source of identity, I reeled, not knowing who to trust. The God I loved seemed to the be the One destroying me.
Finally, I yielded. Face down in tear-stained carpet, I said, "Your will. You know best." This was what He was waiting for. God gutted my piano so He could rebuild it according to His standards. He answered my prayer, and showed me, He is the reason I live. He is the One who gives me breath and bread and being. He is the One who sustains me and gives me a song to sing. He is the One who deserves all praise.
I am learning that without God I am but dust. My significance and acceptance can not be found in any work or relationship, but in Him who works within me. All my words and service to man and religion are meaningless if not birthed from intimacy with His Spirit.
The attention I receive from such works is stolen glory. The identity I gain from them is but a vain imagination.
I am learning that my unity with other people, if not birthed in Spirit, is not true unity, but can easily become spiritual adultery. He has put a longing in my heart for oneness with those of like mind and heart, for only in true unity can the body of Christ be seen as He is in this world, and only in unity can love flow freely from heaven to earth.
I am learning to surrender to weakness and need for Christ and His body, that my life will bear good fruit, for in God I find the source of all things living and eternal. He is fine tuning me. He says I am a "key player."
In an orchestra musicians train their eyes to rest on their conductor, and only play as they are directed. So we must learn to fix our minds on things above, and look to the One who gave His life, so with his life ours shall be hidden in God (Colossians 3:2-3.) This is unity in its purest form.
I recently re-connected with a body of believers for corporate prayer and praise. I am amazed at how much I have changed--how much God has changed me. Instead of criticism, I find love welling up from within. I see not the faults, but unique beauty--the glory of Christ--shining from the faces around me. Insecurity has been replaced with trust and hope. My eyes behold the King, and my voice sings in key His notes.
Together--He and me and we--make beautiful music, in delightful harmony, 100 pianos all tuned to the highest praise.
Quote from: The Pursuit of God, pp 90, by A.W. Tozer.
Photo Credit: flickr - Javier Parra