I often ask the Lord to provoke me. I ask him to not let me get comfortable, but to trouble me with holy things, to spur me onward to greater holiness.
Don’t you want that?
I desire God. He’s not a concept to me; he’s real. To me, he is a person, eternal and almighty and resides in a real Heaven, in splendor I cannot imagine.
I believe that he is good and loving and wants only what is best for me. And although I err, he has redeemed my soul to himself and now requires my simple trust and godly obedience.
So when I ask for provocation, I’m truthfully asking for more of him and his essence in me, not any idea of him and certainly not his things. Not some Christian superstition and figment of a churchy imagination. Definitely not the ‘Glamorized Gospel of Jesus Christ.’
More of You, Lord
C.S. Lewis, in his A Grief Observed, writes something powerful along these lines, on the danger of images:
I need Christ, not something that resembles him…Images of the Holy easily become holy images—sacrosanct. My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins. And most are “offended” by the iconoclasm; and blessed are those who are not.
Our spiritual lives develop easier when we welcome God’s inbreaking rather than force him to destroy our comfortable spirituality, which can be painful.
Moreover, Asaph writes, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:25-26).
I’ve made up in my mind to go all the way with God. He is reality to me. In fact, he fascinates me more and more; I can’t wait to meet him. But until then, I will seek him.
God already is everything I desire, but am I everything he desires? Thus, I entreat him, like brokeback Jacob, “I won’t let you go till you bless me!” Lord, trouble us until we are wholly thine.