For the best part of a year now, I have been searching – on and off – for stability. Isn’t that just characteristic of instability – that you don’t feel unstable all the time! I’m used to the usual ups and downs, but a serious heartbreak about eighteen months ago sent me ricocheting through the months that followed.
I made two mistakes in dealing with that heartbreak. The first was blaming the person in question for the way things were, when actually what he and I both needed was a massive dollop of grace. I could have been the one to give him that, but being so emptied myself, I didn’t. The second mistake I made was seeing his error, and blaming God for it. I’d placed so much trust in this person that when it felt like he let me down, it was like Jesus had let me down too. On paper, that looks just plain silly – but if you’ve ever been seriously hurt by a fellow Christian, I’m sure you’ll understand.
From that point onwards, I have clamoured for stability, passing my heart around like hors-d’oeuvres on a tin tray at a dinner party. All that did was left me tired, devalued – and with bites taken out of me. Now, and only now, am I finding the strength to crawl back to God’s throne like a modern-day Mephibosheth, receiving kindness from a king desperate to demonstrate his grace.
Hebrews 4:16 says we are to come boldly before the throne of grace. When you’ve felt upset, abandoned, or confused – like God’s turned his volume off – that can be a difficult thing to do. To do it, you need to remember that your boldness does not come from what you look like, how you were brought up, where you went to school, or what ‘sins’ you’ve committed – I put ‘sin’ in speech marks because it’s become so widely applied I feel it can easily be misappropriated. The original word for the verb to sin is ‘to miss the mark’; like in archery – you’re going for a bullseye, but you’ve actually gone and shot yourself in the foot instead. Rather, your boldness must be grounded in the fact that the King wants you there: smelling, stinking, with chunks taken out of you. He wants you to willingly come in so he can make you whole; stabilise you; fill you with his peace.
The thing about wounds is, you can’t bandage them up while the patient is wriggling. Maybe that’s why the psalmist imagines God’s voice: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ The Hebrew there for ‘be still’ is literally ‘cease!’; as our friend T.I. might put it: ‘Quit yo jibber-jabber – I’m God, foo’!’ That’s not the exact translation from the Hebrew, but it’s the gist. Being still in the knowledge of who God is, is about the only goal it seems it’s worth wriggling towards. I long for the day that knowledge shines out of me, and in the stillness, God whispers: ‘Rosalind – you’re grounded.’
‘Thank you,’ I will reply. ‘If you want me, I’ll be in your room.’