Crumpled Prayers (What I Believe)

Today’s post is most likely the heart of this series, and its appearance is a testament to the gracious unpredictability of writing on one topic for 31 days. For its development, I’m grateful to friends and readers like Kit — thank you, each one of you, for your continued gentleness and thoughtful words. 

This is “31 Stories of Loving God as an Introvert.”

But really, it is:

31 stories of an introvert loved so richly that she endeavors to return all her own love to the God who is redeeming her life.

(It just wouldn’t all fit on the button.)

*

The grounding of my love for Him is that before I even knew that I needed Him — He loved me. Before you knew you needed Him, He loved you.

And if it is a love which you have not yet decided to receive, I’ll tell you soberly that it is a love so full and relentless that it will pursue you to the very grave from which it would rescue you. Christ is holding out the hope of a new story; the choice to begin it has always lain wholly with you.

So this week, we’re talking about the beauty of loving God as an introvert, and all that beauty begins with this much wider story laid open in the Bible, whose truth I believe:

I believe that God, who gives testimony about Himself in it, is holy. And that people, with no exception, are not — we cannot attain holiness on our own to any degree, especially not the one necessary to stand in the presence of absolutely pure righteousness and real, undiluted love. We are broken and distorted in ways irredeemable by ourselves.

But I believe, too, in the game changer:

One man who was God came from God to bring the only possible way out. He died to take the penalty for our selfishness, our clawing ambition, our hidden lovelessness, our addictions, our blaming fingers, our crimes, and every single other item which barred us from walking with God. Being blameless in life and the son of God, untainted by our heritage of sin in birth and yet fully human, he was the only one who could and did accomplish this sacrifice, overthrowing any need for further atonement, and thus there is no other name by which we may be saved.

The Bible says Jesus scorned the shame of being nailed naked and killed for the damning failures of humanity, for the joy that it would bring — and for the joy that would be ours, as children adopted by God through him. I believe it. I believe that He rose again, victorious over his enemies for all eternity, and that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only that everlasting joy.

Joy everlasting, come what may.

Now, out of that, one of the most beautiful things of all to me is this: 

That there is a sovereign throne,

from which objective and rightful judgment will be laid on all mankind,

from which the decrees of history have issued forth,

and that we may approach it —

we! —

with all the fearless access of children

belonging to the One who sits on it forever.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).

How much help I have needed in this past year alone.

And how much mercy for my failings.

Come “with confidence,” He says; “come boldly.” We come; we may ask, and we will receive. It is the safest place imaginable, because He works everything for our good, and our good will sometimes mean that He will say “no.” Because here is real love with all knowledge; here is God in His glory, to whom the full story belongs.

So we pray.

*

When I pray, sometimes I kneel and bow my head. Sometimes I lie flat out on the ground. Often in these positions, my thoughts slip down rabbit trails and end up in a wonderland of everything but the subject at hand, so somewhere along my haphazard journey, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down prayers.

“Dear Father,” they begin.

I find them now, from years ago, wrinkled pages curling in old college notebooks and hidden in file folders on my laptop, and I trace their words, remembering bewilderment and sorrow, surprise and joy.

And I am grateful for what they form when they cluster together. They are

like memorial stones in a river,

like small stories in a chapter, in a volume whose Author I love,

and whose surpassingly beautiful sequel we will someday see.

 

 

This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert

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