In case it hasn't come up on conversation, I have to mention that the Perspectives course is blowing my mind. In many ways it's so wasteful. Like spiritual gluttony. Like maybe my heart is not where it should be to make the most of the rich teaching I'm hearing. And maybe I should be more faithful with doing the homework. (I should be doing it right now. When I'm not blogging, I'm not procrastinating.) But last week in class the speaker mentioned in passing that Satan is not omnipresent.
And my head snapped up from the sparse notes I was taking. What was this?! I had never heard this before, but it made such perfect sense to me! Ah, yes, just because he's spiritual doesn't mean Satan shares the same properties Jesus does. Just because I can talk to God whenever and whenever I want doesn't mean Satan is similarly summoned. He probably doesn't even know I exist. Sure, he has plenty of fallen angels at his command, and there's probably some demon keeping tabs on me, but much of the trouble I face is of my own doing, not Satan's.
Ah, this is sobering.
And now someone's on the telephone, desperate in his pain
Someone's on the bathroom floor doing her cocaine
Someone's got his finger on the button in some room
No one can convince me we aren't gluttons for our doom
I think of genocide, nuclear war, murder and lies, addiction, broken relationships, injured hearts, sweat, hate, death, hopeless fates and victims of circumstance. We have corrupted the very ground we walk on. And we're so quick to blame it on the schemes of Satan. I hear he's a schemer, make no mistake, but much of what we would give him credit for is the outpouring of the corruption in our own hearts. One must wonder how there manages to be anything good and of worth in this world at all, so pervasive is the evil we have created and are creating.
My place is of the sun and this place is of the dark
(By grace my sight grows stronger, grows stronger)
I do not feel the romance I do not catch the spark
(And I will not be a pawn for the Prince of Darkness any longer)
What is the place of the redeemed in all of this? I think of the four circles diagram, my favorite tool for explaining the story of creation, fall, redemption, and mission. We are sent on mission to be part of the healing of the world. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. He broke the cycle, He freed the slave, and He is the source of all that is beautiful in the world I know. But how can there be so much beauty in so much dirt? Forget the magnitude of human suffering for a moment and think small; why does my heart hurt so much? How is it that this darkness encroaches from afar into our churches, our families, our relationships, and our hearts? How can I be on mission bringing healing and spreading the message of redemption when I don't have my stuff together?
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm weary of brokenness. I am tired by the judgmental thoughts that rolodex through my mind, by the flashes of temper that color my interactions, by the shallowness and apathy that grip my stone-cold heart. I am weighted by the knowledge that the sin in me is no different than the sin that has spawned the world's greatest ills. "But I tried to make this place my place! I'll tell you, my place is of the sun and this place is of the dark." I'm restless for goodness, for perfection, for completed redemption. I'm restless for Him to come back. This place is not my place.
One of the things I love about Perspectives is that many of the speakers are seasoned by experience. They speak not only with the depth of great theological wisdom, but also with the conviction of eyewitness testimony. They are missionaries who have known pain and sacrificed much to see His name made great among the nations. They are rabid for our Jesus to come back, and they are hungry for His glory to be magnified. And so they go, blessed to be a blessing among those who have never dreamed of praising our God. There is hurt and evil everywhere, but it is because they are restless for perfect and for His return that they embrace the brokenness. Weariness is replaced by urgency. Hurry, He is coming!
And that's what I want. I will not be a pawn for the prince of darkness any longer.