MARCH 1, 2017


I read an absolutely heartbreaking article this week. In his article, When Familiar Beats Good, Ed Welch shares a quote that will rip your heart out:

I’ve never been well or happy for a long period of time. So when I do feel like I am doing well, I’m afraid because it’s not a feeling I’m familiar with and it scares me. When I do become clean, I’ve got to become a new person because I’ve been this other person for so long.
That quote is from a woman who lives under a bridge with other junkies. She’s a grandmother of six, addicted to heroin. That quote really gets to me because as a pastor I’ve seen something similar play out before my eyes. I’ve watched as people make decisions from a position of enslavement. It’s heartbreaking. And if I’m being honest, it breaks my heart because I sometimes see this very thing in my own life.

If you know me at all—and you might even pick it up in my writing—I have a tendency to see the dark side of things. Charles Bridges has said, “occasions always present themselves for the display of an unhappy temper.” Bridges is talking about the person who is always fighting and quarreling and being angry. That’s not so much my struggle. My struggle is with depression and negativity. I don’t look at things with hopeful eyes, I call it realism but it’s probably better labeled cynicism.

I don’t want to be that person. That’s where I find myself having a bit of affinity with the crack-addicted granny living under the bridge. I feel like all I know is this cynical outlook on life. I don’t have anything to draw from. I feel like this area of change is going to have to “come out of nothing”. Just as the Lord created the universe out of what was formless and void—so I feel that he’s going to have to create this particular grace out of nothing.

I spent a few hours yesterday studying an important but little heard of doctrine. What I’m referring to is the aseity of God. It’s the truth that God alone is self-existing. If the universe came from nothing (as scientists are seeing), and if the law of inertia is true, then there had to have been a self-existent Creator who is outside of the universe. This was wildly encouraging to me.

The aseity of God means that I really need to give up my foolish efforts to try to create change myself. I cannot do it. Perhaps the crack-addict, and the negativity-addict, cannot see a reality beyond their addiction. That’s because we are finite and sinful. We aren’t self-existent. We do not have what it takes to create reality out of nothing.

But God does.

Because God is.

He alone can bring the change that is needed. He can create something out of nothing. He can take a stone cold heart and turn it into a fully alive heart of worship. And he can also take this negative and cynical man and stir up deep wells of hope. He truly can bring the change that I long for. I don’t have to worry about living in an unfamiliar world and being alone to navigate it’s waters. What I have to do is cling to Jesus and trust Him.

He gives new eyes…


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