My friend Alex Faith said in his song “Had It All” from his seminal mixtape Honest 2 God “Life sucks sometimes but we can’t admit it, so we’re sitting in the church pew hoping we catch the spirit.” Its so spot on because we all do it. We fail to admit how life truly is so we fake it, fill our lives with things that mask it and beg God to show up in it. But God isn’t moved by our fakery.
God seemingly moves and does His work when we get out of the way deal with things as they are, not how we wish them to be.
We put up shields, masks and facades to hide how things really are so that others will think we’re better than we truly are. We put on heirs, a fake smile, and our best clothes to make people think everything is ok. We use the proper lingo, go to the right places and even share the right photos to make it look like all is well when things really aren’t well at all.
But the God of the universe shows us in His Holy Scriptures that he doesn’t function in our fakery. Rather, God shows off in ways that only He can when we deal with things as they are. “If we hide our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” Nope. If we CONFESS our sins then the God, whom we ultimately sin against, forgives us of our cosmic folly and repairs the damage done to our relationship with Him. (1 John 1:9)God functions in our honest reality, not our imagined alternate universe.
“When we pretend to be strong, God gives us the strength.” NOPE!
But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
God doesn’t show off His strength when we fake our way through our weaknesses. Rather, its when we deal with life as it is in those moments and honestly assess ourselves and admit “I am weak right now”, then God shows off the not the power of our disguises but rather His galaxy shaping, eternal power!
But Steve, what do I do when I know that people will use my admitted weakness against me for my shame? You rest knowing that Jesus, the Maker of all things seen and unseen, took on human flesh and hung bloodied, naked on a Roman torture device for all to see and He did it for our good. And if HE endured that level of shame for our good, we can endure insults (as the Apostle Paul said) and even be content in it because the power of their insults don’t compare to the power of God that He’ll put on display in your life. Remember, what happened after Jesus endured that level of shame and insult? He rose from the grave with all power and authority in His hands!
So let’s not be afraid of “looking bad” because you feel weak, insulted or even feeling like a failure. Times may be hard. You may feel drained. Own what the situation is, see the reality of your own frailty but not as some emotional kamikaze for Jesus bent on being a sacrifice. Do it knowing that in your reality and your recognition of it you pull off the masks and make space for God to show up and show out in His good timing for His good pleasure towards your joy. Now, I’m not saying that honest assessment or “authenticity” is a replacement for faith. However I am saying that our faith won’t be fully faith until we recognize the situation we’re asking God to be faithful in.