Monday, November 02, 2009

Hurts So Good- The Pain of Progress

A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or
achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even
success in the Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it “co-­ dependency” but it is really idolatry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” there are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.
from Tim Keller's New Book: Counterfeit Gods

I have had a huge hurt recently, one of those that cut you to the core. This one was a deep, deep pain- the kind that keeps you up at night. The kind that is evoked in Edgar Allen Poe lore: "Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting...."

What was the source of pain? It was the beautiful letdown of a long held idol. One that had entangled my heart so deeply. This idol and I had been together a long, long time. It was with me as far back as 2nd grade where it first promised me purpose and contentment- direction and a future. And like all good false gods- it kept its promise for a long, long time.

After all.. this idol was a good thing, but my sinful heart made it a god thing. would wound me now and then- but come right back and bind the wound. The balm made me forget the source of the affliction, so the comfort only chained my heart deeper.

But God is so good to me. He allows hurt to cut deep and into the root of my sin and idolatry. I cry out to Him in pain and misery, and He lovingly stays silent. I get angry and He grows firmer in solid confrontation and coldness.

And then I wake up and realize- it is my idol that has abandoned me.

I look into the eyes of my Savior and He, lovingly, is ready to forgive. I repent and ask to begin again. He never even says, "I told you so."

I walk a lot lighter these days- a great burden has been cut away.
And the hurt was.... so good!

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

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