24 April 2007

Sunday Church (unexpected)

Some of you have read this OnionBoy tidbit here before: I am not a particularly emotional individual. You can go ahead and explain it (blame) in whatever way you want to, I'm male, genetics, upbringing, philosophy, or blah blah blah. The result is the same, I just don't have many intense emotional experiences, at most one or two a year, and probably more like two or three every five years.

If I can see them coming, I can exercise some measure of control. When they catch me unawares, since I am unused to them, I don't really have any good way to cope with them and I can have child-like reactions. This past Sunday I went to church at 1230, it seemed normal, with the exception of there being a baptism. I don't remember the first trigger, but the second was the Gospel reading, John 21, in particular verse 17. Somehow it got flipped around in my mind and it was I asking God "do you love me?" three times. Our pastor, Father Denny got up and spoke about being a child of God, the emotional trickle became a stream as God began to answer my thrice asked question. Then a gentleman named Brian (who was there on a parish mission) got up and spoke about how special we were, how intimately concerned God was with our entire lives ... the flood gates opened, and it was all I could do to not start crying. My being was filled with the love God has for me.

I was so utterly overwhelmed by my feelings I had a very child-like reaction, I wanted to run out of church. I did not.

Just when I thought I had myself calm down, the baby was baptized and it welled up in me again. People talk about the fight or flight reaction. Well I guess somewhere down inside I knew that I could not run from God, so once again I had to suppress the urge to run.

I realized as I sat, slightly trembling and sweaty, that something in my relationship with God was changed.

When the Great Fisher hooked me several years back, I took the bait, and I ran it to the end of the line. I have struggled on the end of this line for the last decade (next month is makes the completion of ten years since I came back to Him). My struggle has been this: I have fought being reeled in by my own sense of guilt over the ways that I do and have lived my life ... I have felt unworthy of being 'caught' in His nets. The Master let the line out, reeled me back in, let me out, reeled me back in, let me out, and reeled me back in. Ever patient, he let me play the line until at last this past Sunday, I truly think I have ceased my struggle to avoid my 'worthiness', and He added another fish to His catch.

The world will continue to tell me I am unworthy of being called a child of God, maybe I'll even get drawn back to it on occasion, but now I know what it's like to claim my birthright, and I will hold onto it as God holds onto every precious child of His:

Do you love me Lord?
Yes, my child, you know that I do...

1 comment:

Viv said...

Tears came to my eyes when I read how you realized this truth even more. I enjoy hearing how God is working in your life.
Psalms 86:13 "For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the the depths of the grave... 15 But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."