pictures. words (sometimes). blog nonsense.

of hope and desperation

I’ve been thinking about the idea of desperation for the last few years. I’ve been in countless church services that preached having a desperation for God. I’ve heard worship services that literally said: “We’re desperate! We want more! We want more! We’re desperate! PLEASE LORD!” and then the last chord rang and the pastor said: “Wow, it’s good to bask in the presence of the Lord, isn’t it?”

And I raised my eyebrows.

But when I encounter true desperation, it brings up a whelming yes inside of me. And my heart breaks–in the best sense of the word.

So what I’ve concluded is that when we try to manufacture desperation, it sucks. And it’s hypocritical, at best, and blasphemous, at worst. When I try to feel conviction or desperation or whathaveyou, if I try to bring into existence, to force into being…it doesn’t work, especially when the issue is emotional in nature (hence why I rarely respond to mass-calls to certain actions at conferences, etc).

More and more, I think what God wants from us most is honesty and obedience–not chasing after emotional highs and spiritual superiority, but being transparent and genuine in our dialogue with God. Hence, “is anyone happy? He should sing his praises. Is anyone sad and grieving? He should mourn and pray” etc.

Recently, I’ve been resonating with the album “The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down” by John Mark McMillan. It was written after the unexplainable death of one of his closest friends.

John MM sings songs of simplicity. Of desperation. And he means it.

“Come closer, closer to me.
Find me broken, find me bleedin’
cause I need more now than a fairy tale,
a god who lives in a book.
I need someone real.

So would you come?
Would you come?
If I begged you, would you come closer to me now?”

I’ve been there and I identify with the almost-cliche simplicity of these lyrics that is redeemed by the honest-to-God pain and longing the man carries in his voice, the rather-pissed-off hunger in his tone that is not put on. Is not dumbed-down. Is nothing but honest.

“Come closer, closer to me.
Find me broken, find me on my knees,
cause I need more now than philosophy.
Some god in outer space doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Yesterday was the anniversary of the greatest betrayal and spiritual corruption I’ve ever encountered first-hand in my life, the greatest shock of pain I’ve ever had to walk through with people that I love very dearly.

“So would you come?
Would you come?
If I begged you, would you come closer to me now?
Would you come?
Would you come?
If I begged you, would you come closer to me now?”

There are no answers to all of our questions, to all of the corruption and failings of the horridly broken body that is the church (of today, yesterday, and tomorrow). But in the midst of all of that, in the midst of ever friend that has died, every insurance payment that failed, every crazy weird dynamic I’ve had to walk through, I identify of that man’s cry two thousand years ago, captured once again by JMM.

“Son of David, do not pass me by,
cause I am naked,
I’m poor and I’m blind.
Son of David, don’t pass me by,
cause I am naked,
I’m poor and I’m blind.”

And He did not pass him by.

And He did not pass me by.

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One response

  1. Joshua Eipper

    Josh,

    This post really resonated with me. I’m trying to figure out how to say what I agreed with, but running into a wall since I’d just rehash what you said. I was at a YWAM conference this week which had 550 people from all over the Southeast. It was a really good experience, but I also saw a lot of what you referred to, with people behaving in ways that suggested to me that they were trying to manufacture desperation. I also saw some real desperation. I think desperation for God is a good thing — whether our life is going well or going horribly — but I think that about all we can really do is be honest with God and ask him for desperation. I think God likes it when we’re desperate for him — but he likes it even more when we’re really honest with him.

    And as you say, he never did pass anybody by.

    November 17, 2007 at 2:06 am

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