So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:34-43, ESV)
The news feeds on social media sites can be both a blessing and a curse. More than once, I've ended up blocking a story or a person just because the content isn't what I want to see. Most of the time, it's just something to ignore and move on. Once in a while, I get one that causes me to click and go deeper. And not just to add some inane comment either ... there is just something that draws me there. That is exactly what happened earlier this week. Here it is several days later, and I just can't stop thinking about it.
I've noted before that I like Donald Miller's writing. At least three of his books have served to help prod me along in a change of thought and sustain that line of thinking as well. I've been challenged to think about how much bigger God is than I may have been lead to believe. I've been drawn to my own story as a part of His Great Story and encouraged as I seek to raise my daughters and help them find their best part in what God has in store. But this simple feed on my Facebook account really set me to thinking. And it really wasn't the feed or even the blog post it pointed to. It was a simple phrase within that post where Miller said:
"Christ, defeat me with your goodness."
The instant I read that phrase, lights and alarms went off in the back of my head. Since that point, I've spent time processing the simplicity of the words and the depth it takes to seriously make that kind of a request. My mind has raced in multiple directions, perhaps even trying to minimize or escape the very essence of the words.
I have written so many things over the course of the two-plus years since I started to lay out my thoughts about this Crooked Path. I've shared my journey, my passion, my pain. At times I have railed against those who would seem to make God so very small and angry. I've held out encouragement because I have been encouraged. And I have always said that God is an intensely personal God who pursues us with a passion the likes of which we cannot find elsewhere. But Donald Miller's simple words, uttered in his mind at a communion service and shared on his blog, have given me cause to think about it all over again.
Yes, I still believe that God is pursuing us as individuals. But, perhaps, in my quest for Him to be so personal, I've done much the same thing as I've accused others of doing with Him - making Him out to be less than He truly is. This phrase, these simple six words, bring me back to a place where I must understand and embrace that I bring nothing to the exchange that is worth anything. I come, bereft of worth and a wanting creature, to face the Creator in the person of Jesus and ask Him to knock down all that I work so hard to stand up on my own. I ask, as Miller does, to be defeated by His goodness.
That goodness - the heart and soul of the Gospel - picks me up and carries me along the Crooked Path. Only when I try to stand alone or step away from it do I find myself vulnerable to that which stands in opposition. No, it may not always look or feel "good" as I would define it, but when it comes from the very Son of God, I can trust that it is good. May that be enough for me, for you, for all of us. And may we truly pray with a renewed heart, "Christ, defeat me with your goodness."
- What are you seeking today? Or, perhaps a better question, what are you hiding from?
- Have you started doing things that attempt to shape or mold God into the image you want to see rather than see Him as He really is?
- Are you at the place where you want to ask, deep in your heart, for Christ to "defeat you with His goodness"? Can you trust His goodness to really be that good?