I wonder sometimes why it feels so hard to just believe. Why Bible stories when too familiar, can become like a fairy tale. Why God seems so far away…so unreachable. And I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis today, and I can’t help but think that maybe this whole world, this whole crazy and chaotic and broken world, has seeped into our hearts so much that we find it’s hard to believe in what is real. What is fake takes up so much of our time.
We hunger for authenticity from our friends, from our churches, from our families, from our communities, and most recently from our government. But often what we will find instead is a story, an excuse, a dismissal of what is real. And maybe when the stories become better than the truth, we subconsciously exchange in our hearts what is real for what feels better, for what is easier.
I often feel self-conscious about what I write here. I worry that it is too heavy and it doesn’t have the lightness that the world is craving. I worry there isn’t enough humor to balance out the preaching, and there isn’t enough spark to keep a social media fire going. That’s the truth. But God continuously reaffirms my heart…and I realize that all the world really needs, all I really need, is to see some light from the crack in the doorway to Heaven. All we really need is some light to shine in and uncover the shadow that this world has convinced us is real.
To hand our whole selves to Christ? All of our goals and our intents, all of our sins and our mistakes, all of our dreams and expectations, all of our pain and all of our tears, all of our words and all of our thoughts? C.S. Lewis is entirely right when he describes this giving away as a terrible and impossible thing. To give that all away…means to have nothing left of yourself. It means you have to take off the fake exterior. It means that everything we have spent our lives hiding, suddenly becomes visible. Because to give your absolute everything to Jesus means to allow His light to encompass your life. Christ doesn’t take without giving something better. He gives us an internal storehouse of Grace.
Maybe the reason we are all struggling so hard this season is because we have neglected our inner storehouse of Grace. We’ve forgotten that we’ve given away all that we have already, and we are trying to pour from a well that used to live in us but is now dried up…because Jesus has removed that old insufficient well and dug a better one. So why do we keep letting our buckets down into the old well where our buckets keep coming up empty? Why do we so often refuse to let down our buckets into the new well? The one that Jesus says is all sufficient and abundant with Grace?
John 4: 10-25 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Possessing internal Grace means that all of the external is revealed to be what it really is…a sham. It means having the capacity to draw from a well that is not of ourselves. It means our well won’t run dry even if the world can’t see it and it means that our authenticity is not defined by our creativity, productivity, or ability. Instead it reveals that everything that is authentic and real about us stems from what is authentic and real about Jesus. The real Jesus dwells in a part of your soul that will never die, that will never be left hungry or thirsty, that will never be left searching for fulfillment.
We live in a society that champions work, and stress, and uniqueness no matter what the cost. We keep reaching for something that is outside of Him to find provision because to pull water from a well dug for us means surrendering our pride. Our world will tell you that forward progress and the work of your hands is what makes you relevant. Jesus says you were already relevant. Your authenticity stems from how God has loved you, how God has created you, how God has called you to be. Your God is your authenticity and your Savior is what makes you wholly relevant. And your internal Grace is what makes you beautiful in this world and the next.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” – C.S. Lewis