Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I don't read my Bible. There, I said it. I haven't for months. It's like when you have a fight with family and don't talk for half a year. You know you'll make peace by Thanksgiving, but for now you're content to lick your wounds and give the silent treatment.

That's pretty much how God and I are getting along these days. Generally, I'm pissed at Him. I'm sure He's got loving things to say about His wonderful plan, but right now it doesn't feel so wonderful. In fact, I feel a bit burned.

Back when I first imagined starting Campus Target God was my biggest cheerleader. One time in China a stranger approached me with a message from Him. I don't remember everything but I do remember crying a lot, and the distinct vibe that God wanted me to step out. I remember quiet moments too; just me and Him. On a Chinese bus staring at crowds of students. On the rooftop gazing up at the stars. In gentle moments He whispered to me. He gave me visions. He told me to lay down my life, to attempt the impossible, that He was with me.

How could He do that to me when He knew that I was screwed up? He knew I had issues that ministry wouldn't solve! He knew that five years down the road I'd spin out, surprising myself and others. He knew! Why then, did I experience so much favor? His anointing was at every turn! Doors swung open. Ministry happened. I felt propelled forward with the force of a shuttle launcher. I expected to morph into holiness because God seemed happy with me. Why did he let me succeed? Why did He give me those dreams? He should have chosen someone better!

That's why I'm mad at Him. He knew and He didn't stop me! It would have been simple to get someone else or not let me think of it. But He did let me. He let me fall on my face trying to be a hero. He let my ego swell thirty times too large, and then POP! My self esteem splattered across the floor.

Why couldn't I have lived a normal life? I'd rather disappear and die unknown somewhere than fail publicly. I know it's not like I'm on a national stage or anything, but it still sucks to be me. Sure, my perspective is skewed. I know it's my pride talking, but it's precisely how I feel. Telling me that it's not true simply doesn't help. Don't bother me with the truth while I'm drowning in my lie. Suffice it to say I've been less than cuddly with God lately. I'm bitter.

But yesterday I had a jarring moment of realization. An intellectual guy was rambling about his worldview. He sounded eerily empty. He had all the answers, just like I used to, but they carried no weight. Mostly his eyes betrayed him. They were deep pools of sadness. The man with all the answers had recently been served divorce papers. Yet he kept speaking as though the world fit perfectly inside his box.

As he continued I faded into philisophical musings. I wondered what I would hear if I could listen to every man in history talk about his view of the world. Suddenly I was floating through time and space as billions of voices ranted in unison. Each man fervently asserted his peculiar understanding of the universe. If I listened closely I could distinguish millions of similar and dissimilar themes about religion, philosophy, and God.

Every set of conclusions was nuanced. Most were trite, and even the thoughtful ones were tangled in layers of personal pain, emotional reactions, and other unreliable premises. Not a single voice could be trusted on it's own merit. We were too weak, too flawed, all of us together reaching desperately for answers and arriving laughably short.

That's when I realized that all the blogging in the world and all the introspection I can muster will never lead me to the truth. It will only lead me further inside my pitiably finite mind. For a moment I got madder at God. First He destroys my life, then He taunts me by being my only option? Social services would call that child abuse. They wouldn't even give God joint custody.

But He's God. He's real. And there's no way around it. And when I remember that my best thoughts on my best day don't enlighten me I end up feeling pretty safe with Him around. And a little sheepish. Like a toddler who just had a tantrum and wants to be held.

Please God, hold me?


  1. Matt, thanks for your honesty in this.... It amazes me how God can tap me on the head through a blog... or two. :) You are message and confirmation #2 for the day... time to jump off the computer and into the Father's arms... Thanks for your transparency....

    God blesses us and lets us succeed and USES us DESPITE our weakness and skewed perspectives... That is one of the beauties of God.... Only He can use broken vessels like us to touch others. Matt, don't EVER take for granted the impact you have made on people. You HAVE touched peoples lives and made a difference and you may never know the extent until you get to heaven. Chin up. Thanks again for the shove in the right direction.

  2. Inside I am cheering Matt! Yes, I too went through a long time of being bitter with God because of pain in life. I stopped reading my Bible and praying intimately because I was angry with Him. I saw Jesus weeping for me and I was furious that He didn't prevent it all from happening. That is when I shut Him out. His love and His comfort came and I rejected it. A year later I came to the point of a mental breakdown where I couldn't perform basic functions in life because I was so tormented by pain and the questions that surround it. I was in a prison of fear without God as a reality in my life. The realization came to me, like you and like Peter in the Bible (when Jesus asked will you leave Me like the others?) Peter replied, Lord where else can I go, You alone have the words of Life." (Jessica's paraphrase) Literally, if I reject God, then there is nothing left for me in this world. All else is pain, uncertainty and death. Even my precious children could not occupy the place meant for God in my life. No, without Him, everything is empty and meaningless and wounded without hope of healing. We do have tantrums but God is longsuffering, forgiving and kind. Since I have opened myself to Him again, I have had so many words of healing and comfort every where I go. One that came often to memory from the Bible was, "He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are but dust." This verse continues to be comforting to me. He knows our frailities, flaws and imperfect ways and He remembers why we are so in this life.

  3. As usual, thanks for your honesty. I had to laugh about the Social Services part and not even giving God joint custody.

    God used you to start Campus Target, even with your flaws, because He loves the people of China. He loves you and He loves those who He has called to be part of the ministry of Campus Target. I Cor. 1:27-29 says that God "has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong...so that no man may boast before God." Catch that?

    When Keith and I were first married, we were very involved in our local church. We were full of pride and rebellion toward those in leadership. Everything that our pastor did, we could do better and we told him so! Then God schooled us, by not letting us be involved in any sort of ministry for over 4 years. The word 'desert' cannot accurately express how miserable those 4 years were.

    Almost 3 years ago, God decided to use us again. What changed? Our attitudes, for one. We are again serving in a local church, but this time, we respect our pastor. We are able to work quietly in the background without the need for recognition. We want to be a part of the team, not the one who is getting the applause. Looking back, we wouldn't trade those four years of desert for anything. If we hadn't gone through that, we wouldn't have the ability to truly be used by God.

    Blessings to you, Matt! God is definitely at work in each of us, flawed though we are.

  4. He's always been like that. If he knew Adam and Eve would fall, why did He put the stinkin tree in there? It's like He set them up to fail.
    And while I've heard many sermons about how He wants us to choose Him so he has to leave a choice, or how He wants it to be His power through redemption that finally makes us into something great . . . I still don't get it deep down.
    That verse in John 6 that Jessica came to is the same one I finally landed on. I didn't even know if God cared all that much about me, I couldn't see sense in His way of do things, and I was pretty hurt by it all. But the fact is - there's nowhere else to go! I've seen just enough of the other roads to "fulfillment" to know they don't deliver. I knew there was a chance of real LIFE in God. I had seen it in other people. So even if I didn't see it in myself, I couldn't go anywhere else. Like it or not, I knew I was in it for good.
    It felt pretty resentful for awhile - like "well, I guess we're stuck together - you're my best prospect". But it was only a place to start. Like a married couple that says "well, we don't believe in divorce, so as long as we're stuck together we might as well make this good." From that place of screwed-up commitment that I came to, He is very slowly fashioning something good.

  5. Yeah, it's a whole new world when you can spin around and say "Hey! I'm really pissed off at you, God!" Don't want to have a verse quoted or hear the cliche answers of His perfect will, His love, yada yada yada. This is the time to step into the ring and go ahead & wrestle w/ Him. It's not disrespectful or indicative of something horrible. Just put the cards out on the table & press through until he throws out your hip or something :)

  6. beautiful .... i love this one
    you know I never wanted to be a C in the first place, He pulled the rug out from under me and let me see there was no where else to go... how humiliating and how wonderful