The Ruin of My World
How do we deal with Matt Chandler’s quote? “If God loves you, he is going to expose you, and ruin your world for the sake of your heart…”
This is what I said in regards to the first few portions of this quote:
So not matter what happens, we can rejoice because it is this God [a covenantally faithful God] that is relentlessly pursuing us. He isn’t the mean, vindictive God that we all want to think he is when things go wonky. He is ferociously committed to his own glory, and to his people being formed in to the image and likeness of his son. But that doesn’t mean that he will let us go in our rebellion without getting our attention…
Strikingly, not too long after the Lord spoke those words of comfort in Jeremiah 29 verse 11, he takes on a completely new tone for those who think they can find the Lord any way they want, in any place they want, without fundamentally having their hearts and affections altered. The Lord says to them:
15″Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ 16thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17’Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.’
Who has looked for the Lord’s prophets in Babylon? I have. I have run around in the pit of my own making, playing games and playing God, because I have found my happiness in everything except the Lord.
Am I saying that God is spiteful, mean, and cruel? No. But what I am saying is that there is 1) no conflict within God’s character to be both loving and relentless for the sake of his people’s hearts, and 2) I cannot doubt God’s love because he is doing whatever it takes to get me back within the sheep-pen.
For the Sake of My Heart
God is working in my life right now for good. Just just any good, but my good. But in the nuance of it all, it is not simply good from the perspective of “God came and does stuff to simply make my already good life better…” No, instead, it is God came to show me that He is better than life. Is God an ego maniac because he insists that my entire world be ordered around Him and His own radiance and glory? No. As John Piper writes in this article,
For most people love is whatever puts human value and human well-being at the center. So Jesus’ behavior [in allowing Lazarus to first die] is unintelligible to them.
But let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct him how he should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you need to do even to the point of dying on the cross to help people see and savor the glory of God for ever and ever. Love keeps God central. Because the soul was made for God.
My soul was made for God. Jen’s soul was made for God. Our unborn son’s soul was made for God. It is because the glory and splendor of God are utmost and central in life, and not us, that God must continually bring our hearts back to center… because a heart divided is not glorifying God, but rather diluting and distorting the Gospel. And the gospel in its final sum and total is not that I get to be saved, but that I get to reflect and magnify the full majesty of a sovereign, awe inspiring Lord who will one day, in his timing and in his fullness, put to rest all doubt, all hurt, all uncertainty. And until that day comes, we thank God that he cares enough about our hearts to orient our world back to him, and trust that the divine tapestry that he is weaving brings greater glory to the risen Jesus.
But in the journey… some days are better than others.