In their song “The Cost,” Rend Collective Experiment sings:
I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You
Is God really worth everything? My desires and plans and dreams for the way I want my life to go?
The Christian answer is, of course, yes. But my felt answer and my lived answer is often no.
In the grand scheme of my life, I believe that he’s worth it. I believe the way I’m trying to live my life, of orienting it so that everything flows from striving to be more like Christ each day, is worth it.
But in the small scheme, the dying to myself each day and each week and each month, I believe it less strongly. It seems counterintuitive that it feels like a bigger deal to give him each little bit than it does to give him the whole, like saying, “You can have the picture that the whole puzzle makes, but not this side piece and maybe one or two from the middle and that pretty sky piece, because I’m not sure it’s worth giving those up.”
He can have my life, but not all the little bits that make it up.
The song goes on to say, “You’re dangerous, but Lord you’re beautiful.” It reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, when the young girl Lucy is confused by the description of Aslan. She is told he is “King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond- the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion,” and that “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” It prompts Lucy to ask if Aslan is safe.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I think what it comes down is that I’d often rather have a God who is safe, one who caters to my desires and wishes and who is easy to wrap my brain around, than one who is good. Safe I understand.
Good I do not.
I know my definition of good, but when I say I believe God is good and that he wants good things for his people, maybe my definition of “good” is too limited. I believe God is bigger than I will ever understand, that he is not constrained to human things like time and space and distance, yet I often assume that his definition of good is the same as mine. Maybe good doesn’t feel good, maybe good doesn’t look good, maybe good doesn’t seem good here but does in a dictionary I don’t see, don’t even have a concept of.
Maybe God’s vocabulary is different than my human one.
So maybe it’s less a matter of not believing God is worth it, and more a matter of not understanding what “worth it” really means.
Maybe it’s a matter of learning that his definition of good comes from a different realm than mine, and that his is, and always will be, much better than mine.
And that, in itself, is good.
Til next time…
p.s. Have you ever wondered if God is worth it?