A few months ago, I prayed that God would just shut my mouth.
I prayed that he would shut my mouth and still my fingers and silence my roar, if the goal of my mouth and my words and my roaring wasn’t to glorify him.
And you know what?
He did it.
I haven’t been able to write much of anything these last few months. I haven’t even wanted to write much of anything.
I feel a little like Zechariah, when an angel of the Lord muted him during his wife’s pregnancy because he did not immediately believe the Lord when he told him that his old, barren wife Elizabeth would bear a child.
Sometimes, God silences us so we can watch and listen while he births something new.
And I think he has been birthing something new in me: a quiet reverence, a deeper respect for Him, for his ways, for his character. And also, I think perhaps he has been showing me that I am constantly settling for and wrestling with a lesser version of him than the Him that can be known. He’s been showing me that sometimes I get so mad at the version of him that I have landed on because those versions are an incomplete picture, a one-dimensional, often politicized god that can’t bear the weight of my longing and expectations.
Over and over again, he has said to me that he is bigger, bigger, bigger . . . so much bigger.
When I begin to grasp this, I often run and hide . . . because a big God, a holy God, a mighty God . . . who can know? Who can bear to be in his presence? But still he sees me . . . he sees me hiding behind my computer screen and behind my schedule and behind my exhaustion and he begs me to come out, to come to him.
My heart grows faint within me and I can barely stand to do it. Many times I don’t do it. I resist what I do not understand, what I cannot control, what does not fit within the laws of nature that I can comprehend.
But he persists, and he persists, and he persists:
“Come to me, come to me, come to me . . .”
The call is ever present in my soul. So I find myself taking an involuntary step, and then another.
The waters of doubt swirl at my feet and I begin to fall. I know I should keep my eyes on Jesus but I want to settle for something more tangible, like a boat, like a log in the water.
And then I get mad.
“Why God, why? Why lead me into water? Why not leave me on the shore? Or in the boat?”
I cannot bear his answer, so I look back to my screen, to my schedule, to my chores. Unmoored though I am, I try to behave like I never left the terra firma. I try to behave like everyone else. But my soul is not anchored and God still calls, louder:
“Come to me, come to me, come to me.”
I look up and he is smiling and holding open his arms, and I can’t digest it. I can’t digest that he would call for me. I can’t digest that in my filth he still pursues.
But as I bob up and down in the ocean, I begin to see that my resistance has a name. I begin to see that it isn’t just God in his three persons and me bopping around out here. I begin to see that there is an enemy that wants me to drown. An enemy that wants to distract me and convince me of the unrighteousness of the half-god that my humanity wants to settle on. An enemy that wants me to believe he doesn’t exist so I can stop fighting him and blame myself and myself alone. An enemy that wants me heavy enough with condemnation that I drown.
And I see I’m going to have to fight. I’m going to have to fight to take hold of that prize that is waiting for me. I’m going to have to put down the phone and put down the distractions and I’m going to have to dig into the truth so I can shoot down the lies. I’m going to have to lazer in on a bigger God than my mind wants to conceive of until the planks fall right off of my eyes and I can understand. I’m going to have to quit wasting myself on everyone else’s approval and validation so I can concentrate on knowing the real source . . . the one that was big enough to make something from nothing and the one that is big enough to rescue me.
And when I make up my mind to do these things; when I realize it isn’t just me but an enemy keeping me swirling in the water; I begin to get some clarity. I begin to open up a little to something bigger. A few words begin to leak out of my mouth again and a few words begin to spill out onto the page. I quit fighting the little messiah I see on billboards and start fighting to know the big one . . . the one that conquered death and hopelessness and advocates for me in the heavenly places.
And just like that, I find my feet are able to once again walk in places the world says I cannot go.
So I take a step, and I marvel at the one who will never let me sink.