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Archive for February 21st, 2013

Poster Jesus

A few weeks ago a man at work gave me a copy of his favorite painting of Jesus. He gave it to me because I said I liked it when really I was just being polite.  Don’t ever do that.  It’s a picture of Jesus smiling or maybe laughing while he stands on a fisherman’s boat clutching a net.  Smiling Jesus.  It was given to me to give me joy and hope as I face trials with my kiddos.  But the picture seems all wrong to me: his lips are too narrow and his teeth stick out so he looks more like the Joker than Jesus.  His eyes are kinda buggy and his clutched hand looks more like a fist ready to punch than a Savior ready to rescue.  I call him “scary Jesus”.  We have passed him around my office as a joke (because when you work in the College of Christian Studies these types of things are abnormally funny) and we have pointed out all the stereo typical ways that we as modern Christians try to depict Jesus.  Yesterday afternoon Jesus ended out on my wall.  It was hilarious   Every time I looked up from typing an email or working on a report, scary Jesus was there looking at me.  Scary Jesus was watching my every move.  And it made me laugh.  But today it’s not so funny.  Today his laugh looks more like a cackle than something producing joy and I feel like He is staring at me, mocking me.  Today I just felt mocked by Jesus.  So I took Him down. 

I’m sure poster Jesus wasn’t really mocking me, and in my heart of hearts I know that the real Jesus (who lives IN my heart) isn’t mocking me either.  But life just seems so topsy-turvy lately that the most logical conclusion my limited human brain can come up with is that God is playing games with me.  Lately I’ve been feeling like He’s toying with my life and getting some sort of sick pleasure out of it.  I know this isn’t true, but poster Jesus has felt like a more real representation of the God I’ve experienced lately.

As my whole blog can attest to, life has been difficult since I became a foster parent.  Incredibly rich and rewarding at moments, but mostly just plain hard.  I have lately felt like God has called me to do something incredibly huge and arduous but then completely walked away from the project and stripped every ounce of support from me as He walked out the door.  

I have realized, now so more than ever, how much the battles I face with these two kiddos have everything to do with spiritual matters and very little to do with physical.  Satan is fighting so hard.  The hardest I may have ever experienced him fighting. Quarter Pint has said things like “my brain has Satan in his heart” and Half Pint acts so out of control and bizarre I have no doubt there is a war inside her heart as well.  The more aware I’ve become of the war going on in the heavenlies for these two souls, the more I have begun believing and praying big prayers for these kids.  Most days they probably roll their eyes and wonder what I’m doing and saying and praying.  I have prayed out loud, over them, in their rooms, by their beds, through my house.  I have renounced Satan and his evil plans and invited the Holy Spirit to dwell.  I have prayed every thing I know how to pray.  And for a week it worked.  Not like a magic charm, but for a week I could feel God winning.  Satan fled with his tail between his legs and I had an amazing week with my two kiddos.  But then Satan came back and took along with him a legion of other demons to fight with him.  And the reason it feels at times that God’s not with us or that He’s silent or that He just simply doesn’t care is because I KNOW God could win this war but right now He’s choosing not to.  He’s letting me and my sweethearts get thrashed around and beat up and torn down and I don’t see Him here at all.  That’s the part that seems cruel.  That He would call me to a battle and then seem to disappear from the field.  It seems mean.  Unkind.  Mocking.

I have started reading Philip Yancy’s book Disappointment with God and I’m realizing that what I’m struggling with is really nothing new.  The Israelites struggled with believing God when He was right in front of them, dwelling in the temple or leading them in a pillar of smoke or fire.  People of faith through out time have wondered the same thing.  The Psalmists have written verses on the seemingly silence of God.  So I’m trying to cling to what I know is true.  What I’ve experienced in the past.  What I read in God’s Word.

God is not mocking me.  He is not sitting up in heaven with the angles sharing a big bowl of popcorn enjoying the downfall of a small town girl and her two foster kids.  He’s not like that.  He’s loving and gracious and incredibly good.  So when God seems silent or hidden or unfair, I turn to what I know and take one day at a time and step out in faith.

My faith is an imperfect one and that’s possibly why God is allowing me to sit and stew for so long.  It’s so easy to trust Him when things are going well, but then again, is that really trust at all?  Faith is an act of worship and a sign that we love and trust our Savior.  Not scary Jesus in the poster, ready to punch someone, but Sovereign Jesus who is ready to deliver at just the right time.  The poster had one thing right though.  Jesus is clinging to something.  But that something is not a net or a boat or an object to throw.  Jesus is clinging to me.  Not to mock me or watch me fail, but to love me and lift me up.  That’s the Jesus I want to fix my eyes on.  That’s the Jesus I NEED to remember.  Because that’s the real Jesus.

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