Thursday, November 18, 2010

We are beggars. This is true.

My favorite line of all Sufjan Stevens songs—

“Tuesday night at the Bible study/we lift our hands and pray over your body/but nothing ever happens.


Please continue, Sufjan…

Sing the part that goes, “Next Tuesday night at the following Bible study/we lift our hands and pray over your body one more time/and then you get healed”

Surprise! That line never comes.

But cmon surressly now, who puts a line like that in a song? No one cares about that shizz. The songs about miracles and healings and victory—those are the songs that sell.

But there’s something crazy about that one line. It’s just so… human. And I think that’s something that’s hard for some people to really admit—

We are human. It is quite unfortunate sometimes.

And we often live our lives in denial of that fact. We act like believing in Jesus somehow transfigures us into beings that are no longer human. We become so convinced that faith inevitably leads to complete and total healing, victory, deliverance, whatever you wanna call it… but it doesn’t.

No matter how many miracles we see, testimonies we hear, times we read the Bible, or prayers we have answered... our doubts will never leave us completely. We may never be fully healed of our loneliness. We will never not be broken. Sorry. These are ripples of prosperity gospel, and they simply aren’t true.

God does not pull us out of our humanity. Instead he comes into it. The moment we try so hard to be like Jesus or to live a life that is righteous enough or to move beyond our humanity, we nullify God's grace. We do not need a God if we are trying to become one. Adam and Eve learned that the hard way.

There are so many hurting people in church. They need to know that they can be fully human. It is ok that you are trying to believe in God and you still feel lost, alone, or afraid. God and brokenness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we desperately need our brokenness. The miracles turn into testimonies and the healings make the headlines and it is easy for the very human experiences of faith to be silenced. The Christian life is not experienced through miracle after miracle. It is an everyday war. And when we win, Jesus is with us. And when we lose, Jesus is with us.

I believe in miracles and healings and all those beautiful, God-honoring things. But I honestly believe that God looks the most perfect in our lives when we look the most imperfect. Please, everyone, be human.