Toxins & Tears

The end of service worship song was starting.  Music and lyrics very familiar.  And I knew I wasn’t going to make it.

So many unanswered questions have worn me down.

Over time I’ve pulled away from church world, people and even God.

An injured heart ends one of two ways:  healed or hardened.

On the outside everything looks fine.  But on the inside I’ve become brittle.

Church attendance when you live with a brittle soul goes something like this:

It’s like having an infection and going to the doctor.  The signs and symptoms are visible.  You feel the pain of it.  In spite of the discomfort, you keep your appointment because you know that a cure requires a treatment.

When I stand in church and a song that has so strongly ministered to me in the past begins to play, I know the Great Physician has taken a seat on the rolling chair.  As the music and words fill the room, I see Him bent over my heart, inspecting and revealing.  I know He sees the toxins.  Identifies the raging symptoms of my sin-sickness.  His nearness is all at once confrontational and soothing.

Here’s the thing about the presence of the Lord.  It is the treatment for an infected heart.

When we are hurting, angry, hard, resentful and closed off we are generally unable or unwilling to humble ourselves.  Regardless of the reasons why we end up in such a septic state, the outcomes are the same.  I really believe Jesus just wants to help us.

The nearness of Jesus unglues us.  Takes apart all we hide and hold together.  Peels back layers of time and cuts through confusion.  In literally minutes, the love of Jesus Christ returns us to mush.

I called, You answered
And you came to my rescue
And I just want to be
Where you are

I’ve played it over and over since Sunday.  It’s an old Hillsong tune, Came to My Rescue.

You have to understand that years ago I stood in a different church while this song buoyed my heart and strengthened my resolve.  Jesus in the middle of a marriage rescue.  Mine.

Such an old song.  I never expect to hear it in church anymore.

And yet.

My pride could not stand up against the onslaught of His love.  Could not reckon itself against the majesty and power of a God who won’t leave me behind, won’t forget, won’t let me settle for less than all He means for me to be and know of Him.

I could not resist the presence of the Lord.

Oh it is the unbearable love of Christ that presses against our infected hearts.  Toxins and tears give way as we surrender to a power and presence greater than any offense, any childhood, any disappointment, any regret, any deferred hope.

Create in me a pure heart, O God
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore me to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
(Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)

God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
(The Message)

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