The fault in our scars

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I’m what you might call a crier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a blubbering fool. But if something moves me, I’m gonna cry. Guaranteed. There are times when I’m reading God’s Word and I have to stop because my heart twists in my chest and I simply can’t contain the ensuing downpour. I’m pretty sure tears are the result of God wringing out our hearts.

Recently, God has drawn me to the book of Jeremiah. I’ve always liked him. Maybe it’s because he’s a crier, too. “They” (the proverbial they of the scholarly elite who write commentaries that spongelike students devour) call him the weeping prophet. Now I’m not going to say that I want people years from now to refer to me as the weeping anything, but I can appreciate Jeremiah’s tenderhearted affection for God. I love the conversations he had with God and his displays of emotional rawness, or the thread-thin strength he had in moments of tension.

I curled up with Jeremiah the other night and felt the familiar wringing of my heart in God’s hands. I had read the verse—the verse that stopped me in my reading tracks and elicited the ocular waterworks—before. Numerous times, in fact. I’m sure it had struck me in prior readings, but not in the tearful way it did that night. Isn’t it strangely exhilarating and wonderful that God can make His Word fresh and new with each reading? Oh how I love feasting on His manna daily!

Chapter Two of Jeremiah begins with the “word of the Lord came” to Jeremiah. If you’ve ever read any of Paul’s posts over at “just me being curious“, then perhaps you have been privy to one of his God-zooming-in-on-His-Batmobile insights. If not, then I encourage you to read his posts. All of them. Just not right this second… We’ve got some Jeremiah to discuss.

As I think about Paul and his conversations with God via the Batmobile, I can’t help but wonder how God’s Word came to Jeremiah.  In dreams? In whispers?

Either way, I’m grateful for Jeremiah’s obedience to deliver God’s messages to the people. I imagine it wasn’t easy. After all, who wants to hear how bad they’ve become?

In verses 2-3, God spoke to Jerusalem about the days when Israel was a devoted and loving bride, dutifully following Him. God protected His holy, chosen people from those who attempted to devour the “firstfruits of His harvest”. Those enemies faced disaster (as in Egypt and the Red Sea).

Then God stops reminiscing and confronts His people with a question: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me?” (Jeremiah 2:5).

Whoa…wait a minute. What? Did I read that correctly, God? Did you just ask what fault they found in YOU?

I sat back in my chair, flummoxed. There it was. Verse 5. I had read it in the past without much more than a passing curiosity. Sadness enveloped me as God whispered to me, “Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently to keep my children at home, safe in My arms, resting in the warmth of My lap? Why, oh why, do they always run away from me?”

I could hear the pain of a parent who has lost a child. Pain filled with the all-encompassing emptiness of unanswered questions.

Then, I heard Him say, “Please, my children, come back to Me. I’m waiting. Still.”

And He is. Not just for them, but for us, too.

Sitting in my office that night as I read Jeremiah 2:5, I wept. Uncontrollably. Loudly. I couldn’t fathom God’s agony over losing His chosen ones time after time after time. I cried at the thought of His suffering for those who hear His call daily and refuse to answer, or worse, tell Him, “No.”

That verse has been on my heart for a few weeks. I’ve been afraid to respond. Afraid because then I’d have to look at myself and see the truth of me. But He deserves an answer. Even if it seems too small.

Oh my Heavenly Father. You did nothing wrong. As if You ever could. We do not find fault in You but in ourselves. You are without fault. We see our history and the wounds of our transgressions engraved in the landscape of time. Our wickedness repulses us. Our idolatry and pride disgust us. We are covered in the scars of our sins.

The fault, God, is NOT with You. Never. The fault is in our scars.

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