JOY SYLVESTER JOHNSON: Not Proving, Nor Protecting

Joy Sylvester Johnson

We will know we are making spiritual progress when we no longer have anything to “prove or protect.”

Do you remember when you were losing your baby teeth to make room for your permanent teeth? I could not keep my tongue from going to that empty socket where just the day before there had been a tooth.

In the same way my mind keeps going back to this Rohr statement about “proving and protecting.” For so much of my life I thought I was supposed to be a defender of the faith.

It was my calling to be ready to debate anything that was inconsistent with what I had been taught about the nature of God and Gods plan not just for me, but for the entire world.

Much of what I had been taught was not actually in the scripture. Some of it was at odds with the tradition of the church. At times I felt more like The Terminator than an Evangelist bringing good news.

An angry God who could only stand the sight of me (His creation) when covered by a blood sacrifice of an innocent was at the core of my theology. No wonder this did not sound like good news to most of my friends.

Today I was reading the story in 2 Chronicles about Ahab, king of Israel and Jehoshaphat’s war against Ramoth Gilead. The two kings are warned by the Prophet Miciaha not to take this military action, but they do not listen. In the battle The king of Israel is incognito, fearing the opposition will be seeking him out. He believes this disguise and full body armor will protect him.

The battle begins and an archer shoots a random arrow up over the battling armies. It is in the “chink” of his armor that the stray arrow finds its mark. The king is wounded and dies later that night.

This story reminded me that even when I do everything in my power to “protect” a particular idea there is always a “chink in my armor.” The good news for me is when God’s arrow of grace finds its target in the small part of my heart that is “unprotected.” What may die, as a result of this piercing, is a belief that has outlived its usefulness.

The really good news is that once pierced by God’s arrow of grace, surrender seems possible. And it is in surrender that everything becomes possible.

Today I believe Jesus suffered and died on the cross not to satisfy an angry God who like a heavenly accountant has to balance the books, but because there is no limit to God’s love for all of humanity.

Jesus did not die for my sin but rather because of it.  How grateful I am today that despite all the armor I put in place, God still managed to find the chink in it

Joy Sylvester-Johnson