I am exhausted. Mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. This week was a slow train wreck and I am telling you now, I am not at the top of my blogging game. Or any game other than vegging until 9pm and then going to bed.
Bearing that in mind, I want to talk about babies.
Babies are so ridiculous. They are born way too early to survive in the world and only prosper if they are given substantial amounts of care, love, food, and shelter. Basically, babies can’t do shit for themselves…. except eat and take shits, of course. They can’t even see properly for the first six months of their lives and can’t walk for the first year-ish. Most other animals in the world come out walking around, finding their own food, and handling life. Human babies, not so much.
Fast forward from birth to 30 years old. Let’s say I want to take up a new skill… aerospace engineering. My sister in law (who is brilliant) is an aerospace engineer, so this sprung to my mind first. If I am going to be able to work in the aerospace engineering field, I’m going to have to take a whole bunch of math classes and start being proficient in subjects like statistics, structural dynamics, and physics, just to name a small number of courses. I have never studied ANY of these subjects before. I would be literally starting from “I can use a basic calculator correctly most of the time.”
I cannot emphasize enough how terrible I am at math.
But if I were to do this, I would be like an infant. I wouldn’t have any legs to stand on, I would cry a whole bunch, and I would just eat all the time (from the stress). I have zero ability to speak the language of the field I’m hypothetically studying. But, if it’s something that I really felt truly called to do, I would go do it and I would try my very best. I would eventually learn and grow.
When we are learning something new, we are like infants experiencing the world for the very first time. We have to grow into new experiences, taking time and having other people care for us along the way.
When we are in dark places in our lives, we are like infants. Unable to see, unable to care for ourselves, stumbling around, trying to survive. We need people to care for us.
It’s hard to admit to needing help. It’s hard to face the world and say “I can’t do this alone.” So if you see someone who is hurting, even if they’re not asking for it, go to their side and just be near them.
After Job lost everything, he sat alone. He didn’t ask for help, but his friends heard about what had happened to him and they came and sat with him. Job 2 tells us that they “sat with Job on the ground seven days and seven nights, not speaking a word to him, for they saw that he was in excruciating pain.”
This is my favorite part of the whole story of Job. His friends just came to be by his side. They didn’t immediately offer advice or scold him for sitting around. They were just there, supporting their friend, and being physically and emotionally present. They do some dumb stuff for the next 40 some odd chapters because they’re humans, but that part is good.
God not only helps us through the difficult times, God provides people to help us as well. God knows us so well that God sees our suffering and suffers with us. God sees our mourning and mourns with us. God hears our laments and experiences our pain. Because we are God’s children. Because God watched “his beloved son, our Lord” suffer and be murdered on a cross and was so distraught that the world stopped turning. God knows our pain because we are all God’s infants.
No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual path, there is a God who loves you deeply and wants you to be happy. God creates good, including you.
Peter’s first letter to the new baby churches in Asian Minor talk a lot about people who are suffering without causation. He talks about the congregation’s “various trials” (1:6), being “tested by fire” (1:7), maligned “as evildoers” (2:12), and suffering “for doing good” (3:17). These baby churches are really having a tough go of it and they need help surviving. Peter offers these words of assurance to the congregants in 2:9-10:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
We are all God’s chosen people. God has created every one of us in God’s own image to speak about the amazing light that God brings into the world every single day. God calls us out from the darkness of uncertainty, of discontent, of uncomfortableness, and into a life of assurance and peace.
Run to that light.
Run. Don’t walk. Run as fast as you can and leave everything you have behind because it doesn’t matter in the end. Run to that marvelous light and away from your past sins and shame. It doesn’t matter to God (yeah, God is BSB in my brain right now). Because to God, we are all children, learning and growing, experiencing the world in new ways every day. We will stumble and fall, like a toddler taking their first steps, and God will be there to pick us up and clap enthusiastically when we finally reach those arms. Besides, who can fault a baby for not understanding something they are learning for the very first time.
I’m going to close with a story that comes from “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning.
“Perhaps you’ve heard this story: Four years ago in a large city in the far West, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The reports reached the archbishop. He decided to check her out. There is always a fine line between the authentic mystic and the lunatic fringe.
“Is it true, m’am, that you have visions of Jesus?” asked the cleric. “Yes,” the woman replied simply. “Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins that I confessed in my last confession.” The woman was stunned. “Did I hear you right, bishop? You actually want me to ask Jesus to tell me the sins of your past?” “Exactly. Please call me if anything happens.”
Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition. “Please come,” she said. Within the hour the archbishop arrived. He trusted eye-to-eye contact. “You just told me on the telephone that you actually had a vision of Jesus. Did you do what I asked?” “Yes, bishop, I asked Jesus to tell me the sins you confessed in your last confession.” The bishop leaned forward with anticipation. His eyes narrowed.”What did Jesus say?”
She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes. “Bishop,” she said, “these are his exact words: ‘I can’t remember.'”