After 68 hours and 2 1/2 years of seminary.
After being a Christian for 20 years.
After being in ministry and teaching consistently the truth of the Bible.
If you’ve been following the Almanac recently, you know that I’ve been blogging and reading through Running Scared by Edward T. Welch. Reading this book has stemmed from a number of issues in my life, mostly swirling around a deep-seeded worry that has been ever-present in my life (though it has attached itself to different things). It’s pretty obvious that worry for a Christian stems from a lack of trust in God. I’ve known this, of course, but changing my own heart about something (like fear) can be difficult. Well, no, impossible.
The other day, I was entrenched in worry again, which so often spirals itself down into depression. Laura saw it.
“What’s wrong?” she said.
I told her. We talked.
“I just don’t really think you believe that God can and will take this away.” She said. And, like many times, she was right. Not that God just “takes things away” all the time — but he does work in his children. He changes hearts; using means often (such as Bible study, prayer, and loving Gospel community). But, still, he changes them, and I so often do not believe that God will change me from a worrier to a more-consistent-truster. Welch himself says, “Unlike the rest of the world, we are not going to assume that fear and worry are staples of human life. Instead we are going to set out on a path to trust more and worry less” (Running Scared, 121). That’s a biblical mindset — not passive, but not a personal sovereign — following a God-ordained pathway to change.
But, the problem is that I so often (even in recent days) have not believed that God will change me.
Oftentimes, I’ll have sinful or worrisome thoughts come into my head for any number of reasons, and the thought will set me into worrying and then into depression. Laura knows this, and offered a suggestion for dealing with it. Pray that God will take the thoughts away — that I would be able to focus on whatever I should be doing. I have functionally disbelieved that God would take these thoughts and allow me freedom and purity in my own consciousness. But I want to believe better.
The other day something happened. I was thinking and then worrying, and I tried praying. A light bulb dinged. The problem, often, has been that I hate the fact that I need to pray or trust God. I want to not have wicked thoughts, or a worrying heart, and that — the fact that I do have these things within me — distresses me. I don’t want to need to commit myself to my savior God in Christ. I don’t want to need a savior.
Now that is wicked, man. Rebellious. The desire for bird-flipping autonomy poking through the malaise of my heart’s desires. I don’t want to need Jesus, and, in many ways, I think that is why I don’t easily trust him. I want to save myself. Or, more often, to not need saving in the first place.
Of course, I do need a savior. No — I need The Savior. The all-sufficient and perfect Lamb who now intercedes for me. Who sent his heart-changing and regenerating Spirit from on high.
I need him. So often I don’t want to.
Lord, I am so sorry for this wickedness in me. Please help me to trust in you and you alone; to revel in your saving work. Change me, Lord, please. And bring yourself glory.