Thursday, July 03, 2014

It's A Mystery

I'm not saying I've got it figured out. Ha! But something Johnny Irish was trying to tell me finally makes sense. Do you ever get that two-headed monster of a feeling that no one understands you, and no one really loves you? It's deeper than that, actually: It's that existential realization that you long for a completeness that nothing here can touch. And I mean nothing. I'll be straight with you: I'd hear that quoted in a CS Lewis book, or people walk around with it plastered on their social media front doors, as it were, and I'd just roll my eyes. Because the people who share that quote--I'm convinced--have never actually experienced it. It sounds like the set-up to a "gospel presentation." And that's mostly what it is, for American evangelicals: A trite opening line that ends with telling the drug addict or the pervert or whoever that only Jesus can satisfy. Prepare yourself.

But that's not even remotely true. Jesus doesn't take that away. He never said He would. Following Jesus only gets you ready to see the truth: there are two paths. One is the path of Pleasure, and the other one is Pain. Jesus says, "Follow me," and essentially he's saying it'll pay off eventually. You tell Him about the Hole, and He says, "I know."

Pleasure is always there, and it's time for someone to say it: Pleasure is better, and easier. Or at least it starts off that way. But you're trying to fill the Hole, and, like I said, nothing here fills it. We're all addicts and junkies to fill it, and the only thing I can picture to describe this is that Jesus stays on the other path and has a good cry while we get tricked again. He hopes we aren't too deep into it not to even notice that he's still standing there.

As you go, Jesus shares the Pain with you, which is nothing, if not inspiring. You take note of the fact that Jesus never leaves, and he never takes it personally, all the times you go the wrong way. At least not enough to leave. You start to give the Pain like gifts to each other, because that's the only thing to do, really.

He had said he loves us, and would never lead us astray, and you start to believe him, because, well, he's been here before. The Pain and the Pleasure get stronger as you go. You realize that Jesus is not just a guy who's been down the path; He's--in a way that doesn't quite make sense--the way you're going.

This is the truth. No one will buy what you're selling--and no one should--if you promise them happiness and no pain here. And if you act like the drugs or the sex or the food or the fame isn't attractive to you, they'll laugh right in your face, and go on their way. We all carry The Hole around inside of us, and there's very little point in pretending otherwise.

If you like pop music at all, you may know of all those stories of famous musicians who died of drugs and other things. There is one thing I've always appreciated about them: they told the truth about what they wanted and needed; they didn't bother fooling themselves or others; they know that there is something very wrong here; we aspire to things we cannot realize here. They have every right to mock some of us for trying to pretend that we're OK, and that the good life we can build here is enough.

Do I trust Jesus enough to lead others with Him and to Him? Or do I use others, because I'm still thinking about my own wants and needs?

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