Crabb: That’s called addiction.

 

Ortberg: Yeah, it is. And it could be on the achievement level; it could be in a number of different areas of life; it could be sexual, relational, or a number of areas. And, I think, to get to the point where I want to put that on the shelf and ask, “Am I really satisfied with my life, with the state of my heart and with the state of my relationship with God? How is that really?” That requires getting alone, putting a lot of things aside, and being willing to face a lot of unpleasantness. My world was a noisy world. So, it wasn’t just things inside that inclined me not to do that. It was the pace of life, television, busyness, and lots of other things that I had to put aside and allow the pain to speak loud enough and say, “I’m not satisfied.”

 

Crabb: So we can make the assumption that every human being, when [he or she is] honest, will sense this disappointment, this dissatisfaction. Isn’t that the Romans 8 “groaning” idea that until we are complete in heaven there is going to be something that impels us further on? And I wonder if sometimes, as you say, you moved toward an interest in pursuing God more richly by recognition of your own emptiness and the pain that you were covering by busyness and success. I think God sometimes, in his mercy, allows difficult things to put us in touch with our emptiness.

 

Ortberg: Oh, yeah.

 

Crabb: He allows failure. Your success when you write a good book or a good sermon can fill that hole for a time, but never permanently. I know in my own experience probably, [the first of] the two major things was our older son’s rebellion. For five years I was terrified that he would kill himself. He was expelled from a Christian university. He went to Taylor because we were told it was 50 miles from the nearest sin. I really tried to do it right. For family devotions I purchased an overhead projector. But when this happened [rebellion], I was humbled by the recognition that I was not sufficient. The other one was my brother’s death. Two weeks after he died, I said to my wife, “I can’t sleep tonight. There are tears I’ve not yet shed, and I don’t know what they are.” I got up and went to my study and got my Bible. I didn’t know where to turn. Finally, with tears that were convulsive, I found Hosea 7, where he said, I long to redeem you, but I can’t so long as you wail on your bed, but do not cry from your heart. And I was crying from my heart, and I said, “I know you are all I have, but I don’t know you well enough for you to be all that I need.” And then, “Lord let me find you.” And that was the next level of commitment or resolve or intention...

 

Ortberg: When you say “wailing on your bed but not crying from your heart,”what was the difference?

 

Crabb: I think that a lot of us cry over our pain [in a manner] that represents little more than a complaint.

Ortberg: We want the pain to stop.