sad isolated young woman looking away through fence with hope


Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

Psalm 130 NIV

We look for love in a lot of places. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, we don’t equate what we are doing with looking for love. We want validation, recognition, and attention, we don’t name it as love, but I think they are ways in which we try to fill our love tank. Climbing the corporate ladder, volunteering every free moment, and continually saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity can take a lot of time and energy. The payoff is small compared to what we might sacrifice to get it. Our need and our desire for love is a strong force. We were created to love and be loved. We were created to be seen and see each other. When I think of the story of Adam and Eve in their nakedness in the garden, I am drawn to the fact that they could see every intricate part of each other, and they held no judgment but love for one another. We were created to be naked in front of God and one another.

How thin the veil between God and ourselves was in the garden. We could see God, touch God, and speak openly to God. We could also do the same with each other.

Now we hide behind clothes, jobs, the titles we give ourselves, or ones given to us by others. How easy it is to make judgments and assumptions about others just by the color of their skin, how they wear their clothes, and where they live. The veil has grown into a wall.

The wall we have erected between ourselves has helped to dig a ditch, a deep pit, into which we find ourselves. Separated from God and blocked from humanity. When our love bucket is empty, when all the ways in which we try to fill it have failed, this is where we find ourselves crying out to God. We equate God’s mercy with our own. We have expectations of God to treat us in the ways with which we treat others. ‘I’ll forgive you, but I need to see change.’ ‘We can try again, but one more mess up, and I’m done.’ ‘If you can’t learn to control yourself, I need to move on.’ These are the things we tell ourselves and those close to us. But this isn’t how God is. This isn’t how God responds to us. When we find ourselves in trouble, when we find our hearts empty and hurt, when we look around and find ourselves in the same mess again, God doesn’t tell us, ‘oh well.’ God comes down to us, sits with us, loves us, and sees us in all of our messed-up glory. To sit with God in our grief, joy, desperation, gladness, all of it, it is not a burden. It is an unloading, a laying down of our troubles. When we draw near to God, God pulls us from the darkness, from the pit, and sits us in a green pasture, where our needs are met and our souls refresh. They do not turn away from our troubles. They don’t tell us we have one more chance. They don’t tell us our joy is silly, our gladness minimal. God sees it all and delights in us.

May we learn to turn to God, run to God, and sit with God in all of our nakedness this lenten season.

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