How do you respond when what you expected from God never happens? How do you feel when God seems to disregard your comfortable assumptions about Him? Let me continue sharing a couple of quotations from Alistair McGrath on the cross.
“God becomes an iconoclast, shattering our neat conceptual pictures of what he must be like by revealing himself in a way which both contradicts and mocks our attempts to pin him down. The cross reveals the fundamental uncontrollability of God, who breaks the mould of our thinking.” (Alister McGrath. The Mystery of the Cross. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, p. 104.)
Father, You have a way of shattering my own nice, neat images of You. You are the God of Divine Surprises. You have shattered my image of You as the One Who does things the way I expect You to do them. You are not the God Who fits cooperatively into my comfortable theological box. The places of desolation, discomfort and dryness that I’ve walked have begun to break me of the expectation that You give nice, satisfying rewards for my admirable spiritual efforts. You offer no guarantee that coming to You will always bring goodies for my mind, emotions or will.
Thank You, Father, for enabling me to see just how much I’ve sought created things over the Creator. You are bigger than any of my concepts or images of You. Please continue to expand my awareness and conception of You—and may I not be limited by them. When I try again to pin You down and control You, gently remind me again of the foolishness of my misguided attempt.
“The cross exposes us, stripped naked of our self-assurance, bringing home to us our sinfulness and inadequacies. It is the decisive contradiction of the self-sufficiency of the believer and the church alike, forcing both to recognise that their greatest security and greatest strength lie not in themselves and their imagined abilities, but in the God who was hidden in the sufferings of the cross.” (McGrath, p. 169.)
My desolate places have been the cross at work in my life. I am being stripped of self-confidence, as “spiritual” as I thought it was. I have become far more aware of the depths of my sinful attitudes and behavior. I have seen that “apart from You I can do nothing.” May I continue to learn that my greatest security and my greatest strength lie beyond myself in You…yet You are not beyond me but in me. May I come to find You as the God Who is hidden in the sufferings of the Cross…of my cross.
Free me today to rest in Your peace and love in the midst of felt inadequacy, weakness, anxiety and failure. May Your grace secure me and strengthen me throughout this day. Thank You for ways that You are causing the cross to move from true idea to living reality in me. This is all from You.