The Unlikely Chauffeur

This is an excerpt from my journal today which, strangely enough turned into a reflection on Satan. It is scattered and unedited but I wanted to put it out to you because maybe someone out there needs to see it. I have too many drafts waiting for perfection, I didn’t want this to be one of them.

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Grace cannot be recycled. It is not a commodity to be sold and then re-sold over and over. Grace is not a pond that I dip a bucket into to wash away my sins. It is the ocean that drowns my sins until no one can dig them up or air them out or make them matter again. Yet that is exactly what Satan spends his time doing. He roams the earth seeking who he might devour, he targets Christians and their weak convictions, their shaky faith and imperfect understanding of grace. He deep-sea dives into the depths of my past and my present, he haunts me with horrors that could be. He dismantles my future simply by planting an idea that would assure me it will go horribly wrong for me if I continue to believe in Jesus. He fights grace. Every moment of every day, Satan swims against the current of God’s grace for any follower of Jesus and he takes our hand and convinces us to do the same.

“Not enough, Rachel. Do you remember? You’re not enough. You should have spent your time differently today. You wasted today. You could have done so much better today but you didn’t. You messed up. You will never be anything but what you habitually retreat to. God doesn’t care about this. He’s busy. He’s interested in people who take Him seriously. You don’t, obviously or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You should worry more about Samuel, he’s so small you know? So fragile and easy to break. You aren’t doing enough to keep him safe. What if something happens to him? You don’t take good care of John. You care more about yourself than you do him, you always have. You are selfish and hopeless. He could do so much better than you. It’s a shame he settled, isn’t it? You are so holy Rachel. You’re way holier than her. You read your bible more and you love talking to women about the Bible. You are so good at public speaking. So good at being in front of a crowd. You should have majored in theater, you should have been famous. You could still be famous you know? It’s easy. You just have to trust me. Fame is so great. It is SO much better than the dull life you’re leading now. People care about your every move! Imagine! To have people imitate you and look up to you all the time! To hang on your every word! Imagine the applause you would get with that great sense of humor. This is too easy. This whole making you dissatisfied in the life you’ve been given thing. Too easy.”

The trickiest thing about you Satan, is your adept use of reality. Not the reality about things of eternal significance because I know you’re already defeated there. But the reality that you know what’s happening in my life too. You know my fears and my unsettledness. So you use the reality of my life against what I profess to be true about Jesus. You pit them against each other as if they were meant to be at war with each other. When I take enough time to step back and watch how you work, I’m amazed at the gaping flaw in your approach. Yes, you know my heart and my fears and my sins. Yes, you have the ability to sway my mind or attention from the things of God and to create in me a festering obssession with the things of the world. I would be a fool to deny that. I experience it all constantly. You are constantly trying to pull my attention towards self-preservation and self-exaltation. But I died to myself, Satan. It is no longer I who live but Christ in  me. This means, enough time spent dwelling on my self and I grow restless and aching and searching until I fall again at the feet of Jesus and say, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Take my heart, take and seal it for your courts above.” Do you see it? YOU LEAD ME TO THE FEET OF JESUS. Sometimes it takes weeks, even months at a time for me to make it back to Him. To quietly collapse in surrender, to feel the cool tides of grace welcome me home – but I never realized that, on many occasions, you were my unlikely chauffeur.
chauffeur-labeled-for-reuse

You have won battles in my life, Satan. I know you will never stop trying to convince me of my unworthiness, my inabilty to matter or make a difference. You are desperate for my destruction and it makes me desperate for Jesus. The Holy Spirit within me convicts me of sin, He shows me where I am being lazy, foolish, selfish, and unrighteous and He always beckons me to open my Bible, get in community with other people who preach the gospel to me, and pray. I am responsible for my mistakes and I will continue to make them. But, in order for me to be defined by my mistakes, I have to give you that permission. I have to hand over to you everything I think that makes me special or worthy and you can help me obsess over them all. But instead, my specialness and worthiness comes alive in who I am in Christ. That’s why any pursuit for self is disappointing to me if it is not also the pursuit of Christ.

You are busy putting makeup on my corpse and convincing me to carry it around and show it off for people to applaud. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit fills my body – the one I have right now – and enables me to be poured out as an offering to the Lord. He enables me to serve, to love, to teach the Bible, to make people laugh, to hold people when they cry, to let myself be held when I cry.

Wow. What a relief for every person who is a disciple of Christ. Even in our shortcomings, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us! We were STILL SINNERS and He died for us. Because of love. A love that does not die of disappointment, is never weighed down by shame or vengeful anger, and a love that quite literally fills the body and mind of every one who believes that it exists. For everyone who believes that Christ’s life was not left to rot, and neither will mine be. No other act can so eloquently, succinctly, and unquestionably articulate the majestic, splendor of the glory of God than the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No love like this exists within man. No perfect love whose only agenda was to save and adopt the ones who spat in it’s face.

One day I will meet you, Satan. To the last moment before your damnation you will be clawing at my wounds, attempting to open dark and painful things that you used to use to cripple and shame me. But I will be wholly holy in Christ in that moment. Your ability to create tears and pain and hatred and violence within me will shrink in the presence of my God. My sin nature will have been shed, I will have finally tasted the life that I had proclaimed and I will lean back into the arms of my Maker and I will be home.

Speaking of home, I’m about to pack up my laptop and head home. To the life that I lead, the people I love, the mission I embrace – all of them given to me by a God who has numbered the hairs on my head and the days of my life on earth. I can’t wait to see them again. This conversation has helped me realize just how precious and important it is that I show up and love and serve by the power of the Spirit. Your chauffeur services will not be needed, however – I know how to go home. Today, I know Who my home is.
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