Yesterday I had one of those days where the brokenness of everything weighs so heavily that it’s almost hard to breathe. From my own mistakes and compulsions to the mistakes of compulsions of others; for me yesterday peered back the curtain on just how bound we are. More than this, the reality of mortality has been creeping in a bit more lately as well. On a visit to my home town this weekend, I saw my grandmother for the first time in a while. Seeing a once strong willed, determined, and boisterous woman now unable to walk across the room without being surrounded by helpers really makes one think about the futility of life in the face of our imminent demise (My goodness just reread this paragraph. Man, I can be depressing sometimes!?!).
Several years ago one of my favorite British bands “Doves” wrote a masterpiece called “Kingdom of Rust.” In this song singer Jimi Goodwin seems to be pinning after a lost love. Although this is the case, the chorus perfectly expresses how my faith feels on days like yesterday:
“My God, it takes an ocean of trust
In the kingdom of rust”
Sometimes faith feels impossible. Think about it… When everything around you seems to point the opposite direction faith, against all odds, believes in a good; loving; and merciful God. As Goodwin writes, in the kingdom of rust, this takes an ocean of trust. In the midst of compulsive behaviors, fading relationships, and failing bodies faith seems to cave in on itself.
It’s on days like this that I need to be reminded that faith is not based on what I feel or even see, but rather on Someone who has done the impossible. I need to hear once again that in Jesus Christ, God acquiesced himself to the kingdom of rust and yet came out the other end alive. The author of Hebrews says it this way:
Hebrews 2:14-15 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
In another place the Apostle Paul writes that Jesus:
Philippians 2:6-9 though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him…
God, in Christ Jesus, took on our nature to the fullest; submitted himself to death; and through that very death brought something new into the world. It’s that objective fact, that I need to hear again and again when the kingdom of rust rears its ugly face. I need to hear in the words of Michael Horton that, “No subjective condition of our hearts, doubts, in our minds, or affliction of our bodies will be able to change what God has already done for us once and for all in Christ.”
Now, in the present this truth may not offer the immediate relief I so often crave. It doesn’t magically wipe away my compulsions, it doesn’t change my mistakes, it doesn’t fix others, and it doesn’t make my grandma healthy again or take away my own demise. What it does do though, is it takes me out of myself to look upon the new thing that God is doing. It shows me that one day there will be no more pain and crying. It reminds me that even in the midst of all this apparent hell Jesus is “making all things new.” How does hearing this truth do this? By simply pointing my faith away from myself, others, and the world and pointing it to the concrete reality that two thousand years ago; outside the city of Jerusalem; Jesus was crucified for my sins and was raised for my justification. That’s all I got and that’s all I need in this kingdom of rust.
Michael Horton “A Place for Weakness”