Morning Prayer: It's Better Than Coffee
- Tuesday, August 10, 2004
The Job Experience was working. (That’s another Kreeft phrase.) Facing how impossible life is, how maddening it can be, how unfair and unmanageable, how completely empty—it all has a way of plunging me beneath everything that hurts to the sheer delight of desire. Not desire for good things available now, things that in the Job Experience seem almost trivial, things like romance, excitement, a sense of aliveness, a claiming of one’s own voice. But desire for something and for someone that cannot be easily named.
I still want. I still yearn. For what? The good life of happiness and fulfillment is out of reach. Relief of pain may not come. My Job Experience showed me again, this time more convincingly, that life here is fundamentally frustrating. But I still want! Desire won’t quit!
Still lying in bed, I looked again, this time not into the darkness, but beyond it. What do I want?
The easy answer, I realized, was God. But I was in no mood for easy answers. Of course I want God. My theology tells me that. But why? Why do I want him? He’s not going to restore sight to that blind man. He didn’t cure Mother’s Alzheimer’s and let her enjoy happiness with Dad in their final years. He may or may not keep my cancer from returning. He may see to it that my three beautiful grandchildren develop into healthy, good young people— or He may not. He doesn’t give me the guarantees I want.
But I want him. I could feel it in my bones this morning. I yearn to know the Father’s love. I long to live the Son’s life. I desire to move to the Spirit’s rhythm when a car cuts me off, when money runs short, when I feel tension toward a friend.
I want to dance with the Trinity. I want him. I want them. I want the blessings of life, yes! But without the presence of God, without knowing his presence, all the blessings I can imagine mean nothing.
It was at this point that I threw off the covers and got up. It was a few minutes past 6:00. I showered, dressed, and began my day. The river was flowing, and there was life. I had begun in the Ecclesiastes Experience, moved through the Job Experience, and was now entering the dawn of the Song of Solomon Experience (the final in Kreeft’s trilogy of phrases). Deep in my soul, in the region where fact becomes truth, I knew that life was knowing God, and that I knew him, and, more importantly, that he knew me. The sun appeared! I felt its warmth.
I’ve been a Christian for more than 50 years. I began my journey, even from the point of conception six decades ago, foolishly attached to anything but God, convinced that something more or less or other than God would satisfy my heart. I was foolish, deceived, culpably self-obsessed.
At age 8, I received forgiveness from Christ, the only source. That’s when my journey shifted directions, and a new desire began leading me toward God. Since then, I’ve been faithfully led into the experience of futility, slowly, very slowly, to let me see how empty life is without God as the point.
Detachment is a long process. It takes years, a lifetime of years, and an ocean of tears. The latest cycle happened this morning when I awoke with a vague sense of futility.
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