It's been a good, hard, beautiful, exhausting start to the school year. With my body fighting off a new blitzkrieg of germs, I've barely been able to keep my head above water this last week, but several days of marathon sleeping have helped me fight the germs back to a dull roar. A new school year brings a new flood of emotions from Quinn and he struggles to adjust to a schedule again. On one particularly nutty afternoon this week, he was falling apart over some imagined failure. This boy has such a virulently strong reaction to shame, even perceived shame where none really exists, that he is quite a handful to parent when he is in the throes of shame.
In that moment with him, I prayed for God to take his shame, like all of it - for his whole life and rescue him from this crazy cycle of insanity - when the Holy Spirit hit me like a chubby, blindfolded kid trying to break open a piñata. "Do you realize what you're asking?" And the truth of what I was asking him, the most perfect creator of the universe, to do overwhelmed me in an instant. I was asking perfection to become sin, and I was doing it casually, like it was no big deal. My immediate, without time for reflection, response was, "but if you don't, then we have no hope," and I almost lost it right then because I knew it was true.
Consider this thought by none other than John Owen in The Glory of Christ:
The image of God in which it [man's nature] was made, and the dominion over the lower world with which it was interested, made it [man's nature] the seat of excellence, of beauty, and of glory. But of them all it was at once divested and made naked by sin, and laid groveling in the dust form whence it was taken... And all its internal faculties were invaded by deformed lusts, everything that might render the whole unlike to God, whose image it had lost. Hence it [man's nature] became the contempt of angels, the dominion of Satan; who, being the enemy of the whole creation, never had any thing or place to reign in but the debased nature of man. Nothing was now more vile or base; its glory was utterly departed. It had both lost its peculiar nearness to God, which was its honour, and was fallen into the greatest distance from him of all creatures, the devils only excepted.; which was its ignominy and shame. And in this state, as to anything in itself, it was left to perish eternally...And in this state it was left to perish eternally, but...
In this condition - lost, poor, base, yea, cursed - the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, found our nature. And upon this, in infinite condescension and compassion, sanctifying a portion of it to himself, he took it to be his own.I've read these words several times this week, trying to remind myself of the impossibly humbling act of Christ's condescension and of our utter depravity, hoping for a glimpse of the love that would motivate a rescue this crazy, this reckless. I have been overwhelmed this week by work, by germs, by parenting, but mostly I have been overwhelmed with an awesome love, a reckless plan for my salvation, and a fierce battle for my sanctification. And if you're wondering how that conversation with God ended, it was like he responded, "I know, you just needed to say it out loud." As it turned out, he was right. Acknowledging my only hope out loud this week has made all the difference.