When a Cynic Looks for Jesus Under Rocks

Most people probably do not realize this, but I’ve become somewhat cynical over the past several years, looking for Jesus under rocks and wearing really smelly shoes.

I feel tremendously inadequate to follow Jesus and often doubt my salvation. Some people seem so confident in their theology, as if having proper theology is what makes one right with God. I imagine them watching and waiting, with their boxes and labels, for me to make a mistake.

I stumble through life trying to figure things out, trying to find Jesus—because He seems like a good guy—under every rock and through every valley. I question things that don’t make sense, and want to crush things that hurt me.

All the while, I have the feeling that someone is waiting around the corner, waiting for me to make a wrong turn so they can box me up and label me as “doubter,” “heretic,” “legalist,” “angry,” “liberal,” “conservative”—whatever path I happen to cross in my stumbling journey—and then ignore me.

Sometimes I wonder if I can trust anyone–will everyone simply marginalize (box and label) me? Because that’s my greatest fear: to be relegated to a cold dark box somewhere, left to jabber to myself. Is there anyone who won’t hurt me at some point? Who won’t let me down and turn out to be terribly flawed like the rest of us?

I guess that’s why I look for Jesus. But I don’t even do that very well.

Sometimes I flip over a rock to see if Jesus is there (for some reason I always think He’s hiding) but instead of moving on to the next rock, or looking up into the next tree, or around the next bend, I just sit down and give up.

Looking for Jesus is so hard.

I weep right now as I write this because I know in my heart that it is not hard to find Jesus. I know that I could just go over and sit on the edge of my bed and He’d be sitting there just waiting to talk. I know in my heart that Jesus loves me and even likes me. I know this in my heart. I cry like a little baby because I know it in my heart, but I don’t feel it in my soul, or believe it in my head.

How could someone as important as Jesus actually like a bumbling fool who doesn’t even always want to find Him. Sometimes it feels as if Jesus and I are playing hide-and-go-seek and I lose interest and go play with my toys instead of looking for Jesus. He then, has to come find me (playing with my toys) and we start the game all over again.

I don’t know why someone as important as Jesus keeps looking for a bumbling fool, but that doesn’t really matter. What really baffles me is why I keep losing interest in looking for someone as important as Jesus.

Maybe it is because I’m a bumbling fool.

It is in the rare moments of starting to believe that Jesus really does love me as I am, not as I should be, that I am totally surrendered to whatever He wants me to do. People will do ANYTHING for someone they know loves them unconditionally.

Yet, when I say this, I feel the critical eye of righteous people and imagine they say “You should love Jesus whether He loves you or not. You should want Jesus whether you feel love or not.”

I guess that’s true. But what’s amazing is that seemingly logical expectation is not in Scripture! If anything, there is the opposite. Scripture is full of reminder after reminder to not forget God’s everlasting love. It is almost as if God is saying “My love is the very reason you should follow me!” The Bible says it is God’s kindness which leads us to repentance and His love which enables us to love Him back.

The truth is, I am an arrogant, self-righteous, self-sufficient, bumbling fool. There are times my thoughts and actions smell as bad as my shoes.

But somehow, somewhere, the love and grace of Jesus have cleansed and are cleansing my soul, washing away its filth and filling it with sweet fragrance. I don’t want to react to good people or true theology, I don’t want to deny Christ, I don’t want to live in apathy; but I also don’t think cleaning up those dirty areas will incur more grace from God. Rather, I am convinced more grace from God will incur a cleansing of my soul.

Please God, give me more grace, more holiness, more love. Give me more Jesus.

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