I’m watching the sun rise over California through an airplane window this morning. I am on my way back home again. I don’t know why but there are random moments such as these when I really do understand with clarity the absolute goodness of God. I have struggled lately in a much longer story with feeling a certain separation from the real source of all that is good in my life, but today it is very clear to me. I have been given a life of such richness on so many levels. The irony is, the abundance of life in the form of so many gifts of relationship, and occupation, and love…that very abundance has of late become the source of this subtle distance and, in turn, a seeping emptiness. I am astounded how gifts of such goodness can, with constant and time, become idols of misdirection. Lord Jesus, I thank you this morning for my wife – for her clarity and resolve, her directness and compassion, her unwavering commitment to be who she really is, even as you are changing her heart so much of late, for how much I miss her when we’re apart, for how deeply you have allowed me to fall in love with her. But I thank you especially this morning that you are reminding me that she is not my Savior. She is not my lifeline. She is not you. I thank you also for my two boys…for their purity and curiosity, for their honesty and tears, for the overwhelming sense of security and fullness and drama they magically seem to fill our home to overflowing with, and the fact that they have no idea how beautifully they have wrecked the hearts of their mother and I. But I thank you especially that they are not my Savior. They are not my lifeline. They are not you. I thank you Jesus for this improbable career of writing songs and travelling the world to deliver them to eager listeners with hearts wide open. I thank you Father that you have built a community of believers so vast and rich that just last night I could sit at a table with a group of relative strangers – new friends – and share food that had never before crossed my lips and conversation full of laughter and goodness and quality and depth. From all angles, in distant and familiar places I have had life placed before me that is good and true. And none of it is my Savior. None of it is my lifeline. None of it is you.
Forgive me for my tending toward replacing the source of good things with the good things themselves. What a selfish game to play, to put that on the narrow shoulders of the people and things that I love. To put my joy, my rise and my fall, my very salvation – on the backs of the unequipped. To bind them so carelessly to a weight that they could never carry, to a weight that they were never meant to carry.
Father, this morning I am reminded of my complete and singular identity as a child of God. I am nothing more and I am nothing less. I am neither husband nor father, brother nor friend, living soul nor beating heart but for the grace and the goodness of you. Life lived and taken, love given and received, only at the hands of the goodness of God.
We are flying over the desert now. I am on my way back home again.