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Blessed Disturbance

This morning at church our congregation sang “Blessed Assurance”. This old, beautiful hymn was probably written by a deeply spiritual person pouring out their soul to a God he loved.  Yet as we sung this morning, I could not say the words.  It’s not that I question my salvation. It’s not that I am ungrateful or I disagree with the theology of the song. It’s just that I wasn’t feeling this one line, “Perfect Submission, all is at rest. I in my Savior am happy and blest, watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.” I don’t feel  happy about being a Christian. I didn’t become a Christian to be happy, and quite often I think I would be happier as an atheist or at least life sure would be easier. Being a Christian also doesn’t make me feel rested. I am a Christian because I believe in the truth of scripture so I have submitted my life to Christ. Never did he promise me happiness, never did he promise me an easy life, never did he say, “Just chill out and enjoy the good life.”  He did tell us to rest in Him, and not to worry, commands that I struggle to obey. He told us we are in a battle, that we are to fight the evil forces of this world.  That doesn’t sound a lot like rest to me. He has put on my heart the desire to fight the injustices of this world and this does not lend to happiness.  It leads to satisfaction, perhaps even joy or contentment, but not happiness. I can not think on the horrors that need to righted and feel happy. Christ in me is an amazing thing. That the God of the universe would reside in my sinful soul and lead me towards a life of righteousness and purpose, that God chooses to use me to fulfill his eternal plans in this world, this is awe inspiring and humbling, but it does not make me “happy”. Knowing that some girl is being systematically raped in a brothel in Thailand, that a family is being held hostage as debt laborers in a Pakistani brick kiln, that a teenager in NYC is planning to commit suicide, that little baby is dying of some curable disease because vaccines aren’t readily available in Central Africa, that there is addiction, loneliness, abuse, oppression and hurt permeating this world, these are things that I am called to stand against. Christ in me has softened my heart to the things in this world that break the heart of God. Christ in me is about brokenness and sacrifice. Unfortunately, the me that is within me is about selfishness and immediate gratification. I struggle to do what I am called to do. I struggle to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. I want to be “happy” and I want to “rest” in my laziness rather than in the strength of the arms of God.  I am not a happy, rested person; I’m okay with that.  I on the other hand have a deeply satisfying life that I love very much. I have joy, contentment and purpose. Oh, and I love to worship in my church. Later this morning I belted out these lines, “So I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned. In awe of the One who gave it all. I’ll stand My soul Lord to You surrendered, All I am is Yours.” 

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