who shall distract me from myself? only Jesus.

new birth

i was thinking of writing about my current experience changing church, but somehow my heart has been led to meditate further into the past, specifically the night where ‘my eyes were open’ – so to speak.

i remember distinctly the agony of that moment. the words of Ephesians 2 were now alive to me, but i was still unable to accept them. my mind shattered into a million pieces and i felt as though i was not only dying, but being deconstructed, right down to my core. then among those sparkling ruins i lifted up my bleeding hands and held them there. then came a small, tiny assurance, that truly i has been saved. there was no dramatic display, no bright light or golden hands, but it was there. that night, i felt for the first time like i was truly a child of God.

then the next day, i fell into sin. and so i did for the next year and the year after, all the way till today. and all throughout those many years i continued to doubt if His Spirit really dwelled within me. yet for some reason – i use this phrase to remind myself how blind i am to His sovereign, working hand – i continued to cling to the cross.

and now i am here, about 1.5 years later, and only now can i see clearly how my heart has been changed; how my heart *was* changed. only now do i see that i have been led to a deeper understanding of the roots of my sin, and so the remedy for it.

the expectations i had in fighting sin back in 2017 were so shallow, so inadequate! i thought it was my actions that were wrong, but more than that – my very heart was wrong. i wonder what would i would’ve become had i only dealt with my actions and thought that to be the end all of obedience and holiness.

i just read through Piper’s ‘Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ’, and i remember being deeply uncomfortable with his argument that God not only allowed sin but planned for it that His grace might be displayed, because that is how He so desired His glory to be revealed.

are You really like that God? do You really rule and reign over *everything*?

yet i read Your plan for Jewish kingship even though it was *sin* to ask for a king, Your will to crush Your son through the sinful actions of proud Pharisees, Your destiny for vessels of destruction.

the only response is, ‘why me?’

and the only reply is, ‘Who is a God like you, forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold on to his anger forever because he delights in faithful love.’

keep me humble and sanctify me daily for Your name’s sake. Your will is where i must dwell.

forgetting myself

today my heart was so distracted.

perhaps it was the lack of sleep. i’ve been waking up in the middle of the night for the past month. last night i woke up 4 times – 1:38, 2:43, 4:48, 7:30. strange how my mind is more active when it does not rest.

perhaps it was the end of the week. more specifically, the end of my bible study with the bbtc leaders. i’ve held on to human glories far more tightly than i care to admit. i am afraid of leaving, because who know whether i will be glorified before men in this new place?

perhaps it was because i didnt like the songs sung today. why didnt i like them? why couldnt i sing them with my whole heart?

perhaps.

there were so many reasons i could not heave my heart to worship you today. but at the core, it is because i forget that it is not me who heaves it, but You! i stare so much at my own hands, my own heart, my own sin, that i forget that You have redeemed it all.

help me forget myself. help me stare so hard at the cross that my vision beside blurs. help me cling so hard to Jesus that my fingers are free to do Your will. help me be so humble before You that i can recieve both criticism and praise without destroying myself. help me be so secure in who You say i am that i can both date and be single without my ego collapsing into itself.

help me forget myself, and look to You!

a better refuge

sleep is a humbling thing. a third of the day i am utterly vulnerable, so consistently unsafe. ironic then, is the refuge i find in it. how grand is the illusion of sleep – where in being unaware i feel safe.

what else can guard against my thoughts? what is that defence? boiling oil have i emptied onto bloodied tiles, trojan horses burned or welcomed in. archers line the battlements, but i don’t know where to point them.

so i shut my eyes, and embed myself in deep darkness.

You promise sleep, but i cannot rest. You promise rest, but i cannot stop. You promise to end all striving,

So what then is this battle? Who is my enemy? I have trouble distinguishing. Oh my self-sufficient pain!

Who is it that sits upon the throne within those walls? Help me run to Him! Have I not been granted audience? Sonship?

The king who reigns, rules beyond the walls! He alone can decide the design of the courtyard within, and tells me who my enemy is.

I do not guard these gates alone.

agendaless history

is such a history possible? looking even to the earliest records of Herodotus and Sima Qian, each had their own agenda. dismantle the emperor. promote Hellenistic culture. who has lived that could write without an agenda? is not the agenda the driving force that so compels one to write? words are water that flow with pressure, motions arising from emotional hydraulics. we feel, we speak – and when taught we write.

but at the heart of my struggle: is this a problem? that every history written has an agenda? why do we strive so much for objectivity, or hold in contempt those with a clear intention?

reality is not empirical. life is not experienced as ‘objective’. all of existence is subjective. even if one were to argue the objective reality of atoms or elements, all of that reality is mediated through our subjective experience of that reality. that is to say, reality is subjective.

because what is the point of discussing reality apart from our subjective experience? i’m sure some realms of philosophy have already grappled with this, but even that grappling, that attempt at apprehension is a subjective, human endeavour.

yet i say human not to distinguish it from the divine. if one truly believes that all of existence flows from God, then the reason why ultimate reality is not empirical, measured, scientific, emotionless, agendaless is precisely because God has created the universe with an agenda in mind.

it was not made simply to exist in an objective space, it was made to glorify Himself.

i realise that i’ve conflated subjectivity/objectivity with agenda/agendaless, but i do think my point comes through. we are purposed beings, and hence we understand the world with purpose in mind.

that is not to say truth does not exist. but truth as we think it might be – scientific, experimentally-conclusive, agendaless – perhaps such a truth does not exist, and we hold high a god of our own making.

dealing with suffering.

for as long as i can declare, ‘the worst has come’, it has not. there are limits to words, extremities that it cannot explore.

then we add melodies and chords that give depth, thinking that if we disguise them we will see them for who they really are. there in their obscurity they are revealed, and we are given over to greater depths than mere ink on page.

yet there is a rhythm to song that distracts, a momentum that leaves no room for pause. the song must end, so every station is temporary, with each note leading to the next.

but what happens when it doesn’t end? when all we are left is the 4th minor hungover to silence?

there are limits to how much i can make you understand my pain. there are limits to how much i can express it. but reality has no concern for limits, it stretches on further, farther, pushing the emptyless cart forward.

.

who can understand my pain? who knows its cause?

is it not You Lord?

yet how shall i know You know? is it not through Your words? are there limits to how much i might know Your love?

my words betray me; they say what i really mean.

there are only exhausted avenues. where might i find solace in my pain?

.

keep me close to Your words. let my eyes not obscure them.

have i ever

have i ever told you
used my words to speak
instead of songs that nothing mean
masquerading in melodies

have i ever told you
use my voice to say
don’t divide between the sheets
and make that difference seen

have i ever told you
i love the rhymes you write
partnered with our love
distilled my heart to bitterness

have i ever told you
about this dream i had
where the silence spoke, and held your hand
and gave me room to breathe