Friday, May 13, 2016

Answering the Ache

This simple kind of quiet that emanates from a life at rest does not necessarily indicate a life of ease or of safety or of security. Although I said yesterday that often, our speaking comes from a place of restlessness and insecurity, it is not necessarily true that our quiet comes from a place of perfect satisfaction and confidence.

It's the tension of being okay even when we're not okay.

I don't think we live in a world that permits us no insecurities; we'll always have them. We'll always have questions about ourselves, about our lives, about our world, about our God. We can never quite shake the questions. I don't think we live in a world that permits us no restlessness; time itself marches on, and we feel the movement of all creation God-ward, and this inherently makes us squirm, ready to take our own next step. 

I don't think we live in a world that can ever truly understand what fullness is; we will always feel the ache of emptiness gnawing at our very core. It's inevitable. Because in this broken, fallen world, there is always something missing. Always something...not...quite...whole....

So when we talk about a life that's perfectly at rest, a life that praises God in its silence, we are not talking about a life that's perfect or an emptiness that doesn't ache. Rather, we are talking about a peace of the spirit that has learned to live in the tension of brokenness.

We are talking about a life that feels its emptiness, but doesn't fill it. Not only does this life know that it can't stop the ache, but it knows that it would never want to. That ache is what calls us homeward. That ache is what keeps our eyes on God. 

We are talking about a life that knows its insecurities, but doesn't try to compensate for them. Instead, it simply lets them live and breathe with the same force of life that courses through the rest of its being. It's okay with not being perfect; it knows perfect is only a mirage. Only a haze. Only an illusion. At least, here, it is. 

We are talking about a life that embraces its restlessness, that lets itself be perpetually stirred, that can never quite settle even into the quiet that calls it to rest. It's a life that knows we're always in motion, always moving, always in transit from one place to another. It's a life that keeps moving; even stillness does not slow it down. But it moves freely; it does not allow its restlessness to throw it off-course.

It would be accurate to say that in a world of talkers, most of us are constantly battling our own insecurities, our own restlessness. It would be accurate to say that all the words we try to put to the stories we're either living or want to live are our way of trying to fill the emptiness, of trying to answer the ache. We're literally shouting into the void and hoping that one day, it might just answer us back.

But it would also be accurate to say that when the soul finds rest, when silence becomes praise, most of us are still battling our own insecurities and our own restlessness. These things don't just go away. Not this side of Eden. Our quiet is not a declaration of victory; it is a testimony of tension. A life of quiet praise is just as torn-up, beaten-down, stressed-out as any other. It has just learned to live with itself. It no longer shouts into the emptiness because it knows the emptiness can never answer back. It no longer tries to fill the void; it steps right into it. 

And there, it discovers something worthy of praise. 

It discovers the answer to the very ache.

It discovers the God of Genesis 1, the God who stands in the formless and void...and speaks life.

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