Do you ever feel like you just want to scream? I do sometimes.
And I don’t mean the ordinary everyday kind, prompted by insubordinate children or rush-hour traffic on the BA. Coming and going quickly, those are stifled easily enough before they can escape my lips.
No, the scream I’m talking about is different. It’s the Edvard Munch brace-your-head-with-your-hands type, the kind that comes from someplace so deep inside you it’s possible that it actually began many years ago and traveling at an ever-increasing speed has only just now arrived to burst forth upon an unsuspecting world, threatening before it exhausts itself to reduce every structure within a three-mile radius — much like the walls of Jericho — to mounds of rubble.
Yes, that’s the scream I mean. The kind born of existential frustration. The crying out of a creature that knows it has been called to be so much more — to be, in fact, good — but whose very nature seems immovably, irredeemably opposed to it, hellbent against it even.
The road to holiness, it would seem, is a long and slow one.
I appreciate Paul’s honesty about his own experience:
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do— this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19 NIV)
To that I can say only “Amen.” Me, too.
Which, of course, begs the question: Why is this taking so long?
Why do I still seem prone to the same weaknesses I was when I was younger and which I should have grown beyond by now? The promised metamorphosis into my eternal glorified self should have advanced at least enough to make that difference, right?
But even as again I feel that scream building up inside, bewailing how far short I fall of God’s character, I take comfort from Paul:
Trusting that God’s promises are good and that Christ’s own nature is being recreated in me, I know that until that work is complete, where I am weak, where I am lacking, where I am deficient in some way, there His “grace is sufficient. (His) power made perfect.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In that knowledge, we can take solace.