"The aim of the person of faith is not to be as comfortable as possible but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible - to deal with the reality of life, discover truth, create beauty, act out love." -Eugene H. Peterson
I read Peterson's book "Run with The Horses" during a particularly painful and uncomfortable time last year. It spoke to me to the very marrow of my bones. Things are certainly better now but still uncomfortable. I keep coming across articles on false guilt and blogs about living out a life that fits and feels "right". So how am I to respond... The words "ought to" can be very imprisoning but at the same time they can keep you from falling off of the edge. I don't write many blogs because I am uncomfortable and don't want to whine and complain and bemoan my way through so I am often silent. Which, if you know me well, is quite contrary to my personality. I am a verbal processor and writing helps to clear the cobwebs out of my heart, mind and soul.
That being said, I have many complaints. I feel like an Israelite being led out of slavery/Egypt wandering in the desert grumbling. "If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." they grumbled to Moses in Exodus 16:3 In response the God of the universe provided food for them, "At twilight you will eat meat (quail), and in the morning you will be filled with bread (manna). Then you will know that I am the Lord your God." Exodus 16:11 One has only to look to the next chapter in Exodus to see the Israelites grumbling again, this time because of thirst, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" they grumbled to Moses in Exodus 17:3. Then God has Moses strike a rock and pure sweet water poured forth. And so it goes much like that with grumbling wandering Israelites and Moses trying to lead for decades until a whole generation is dead.
So moral of the story... Grumbling, bad. I get it! "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above." Words to an ancient hymn echo in the distance as I type out these words. So I want to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9
So that is a command and a command Peterson defines as, "a word that calls us to live beyond what we presently understand or feel or want." I am presently uncomfortable. I am not happy about it. But I want to press into the unknown and seek after a pearl of great price and I want to hope and believe and know God in spirit and in truth. So please pray with me that we will be a people as hearts as if a fire burned within that is shut up in our bones and that we cannot hold it in.