"Well, sometimes the deeper you dig, the more rocks you hit. But after the dig, more dirt is out.”
I said it, and sat wide-eyed, half laughing at myself… as if I were embarrassed that something so corny came out of my mouth. I resist corny…but somehow this metaphor was thoughtlessly announced, spewing out of my mouth as easily as a “hey, how’s it goin?”
At the time, I was sitting with one of my closest friends. We got into the discussion of God’s habit of clearing out the ugly, hidden parts of our souls. These are the parts of our inner lives that hurt even to touch, let alone try and dissect. Regardless of the corniness of my statement, I knew that –at least in my life- it was mostly true. The deeper I dig into my soul and heart, the more issues I run into…but more dirt is out.
To explain what I mean by digging, I want to tell you about one hard (but good) time I had last summer. Two dear friends went with me to a session. It was a session similar to counseling, but sought to mainly use prayer to ask God to help heal the wounds that I had ignored for so long. I know that there are deep wounds that need healing in me. I have rooted fears and doubts and hurts. Digging is going deeper into our souls to try and find the roots. Digging is the process of finding things about yourself and continuing to ask “why” until you realize all of these broken areas in your life. The deeper I went into issues, the more ugliness surfaced- more of my doubt and fear and pain. And when I got past one rock, I'd come across another.
That day, I believe the digging went something like this: I sat with the strongest of hopes.
I started digging Why Do I Feel Anxiety Right Now? and hit my first rock: My fear: I am scared of hearing God’s voice wrongly. And then I hear truth- sheep hear my voice. I dig further and hit a rock- What if I’m not a sheep? Truth answers- “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12. I dig further and reach a rock- ‘But I’ll mess up His will’ Truth answers: "If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." John 7:17. And then my final doubt –a rock so big and so deep- is seen- ‘Am I surrendered to God? Do I actually want His will? Did I receive Him and do I believe in His name?’
I believe I do, but I sometimes doubt, especially that I am surrendered to Him.
EACH one of these core doubts has been a heavy rock that needed a few tries to budge. Sometimes the truth answer wouldn't be understood for a year or more. t have no doubts that some people’s rocks are dislodged with the simplest of strokes…but mine have been stubborn and temporarily heart breaking.
I dig and dig and then have to take a break when I strike a rock. It sends a pain all the way through my body and it makes me feel worse than if I refused to dig in the first place.
When I was young, I questioned everything, but constantly hit rocks, road-blocks, and stumpers. Then my motto shifted to ‘don’t question at all- you’ll feel further from God and it won’t accomplish enough to be worth the effort.’
I’m writing because I want you to take the risk with me. God is sovereign enough to help us past these rocks. He wants the dirt out of your life, out of your precious soul. He desires your doubts and fears and hurts to be as far from you as the east is from the west. He came to give us renewal, but so often I fear going deeper because it could hurt to touch my pain. I don’t trust that God will help me with the big rocks…and I fear that after digging, I’ll just have a better view of the rocks’ ugly bumps and sharp edges, as I’m covered with my dirt and hurt. I think that sometimes all my issues are probably better off being hidden deep down inside of me.
This weekend, my roommates and friends decided to give our front yard a major facelift. The yard was a pretty hopeless pile of mass, but now, with some weeding and digging, it is looking clean and fresh and new. There was one particularly difficult bush. The team of people worked together to remove it, yet it wouldn’t budge at first. They kept digging, removing some huge rocks. Finally, the bush was yanked free - roots and all. The team was left looking a few tints darker; dirt caked on their skin. They were tired and dirty, but then in a beautiful rush, torrential rain poured from the sky. The dirt fell from their skin. My roommate picked up a tree that they had torn out and held it in the air while beaming with glee and victory.
THIS is the picture God gives us. He doesn’t desire to leave us dirty. He wants the dirt out, but not just that: He desires you to be abundantly renewed. He wants those stubborn trees and bushes to be lifted in celebration – they were defeated! The dirt was removed, the rocks were conquered, and the even the trees and bushes that have rooted themselves so deep were no match for God’s willful healing. It may take time (Honestly, my digging has been happening for years) and it may seem impossible at times…but nothing is impossible with God. I believe that it is worth the dig to be able to lift our hands in victory, looking at all the dirt and rocks and trees- completely out of the garden… Our fears, doubts, and hurts conquered, and our tired, dirty bodies being renewed by the rain.
I used to avoid digging because I knew the brokenness involved…but the brokenness is temporary. God WILL heal. He WILL give enlightenment into our hurt and fears. We can ask Him to heal, and trust that He will. God only wants freedom and love and peace for us. If He gives you a shovel, its because He wants to clear some things that have been holding you back from Him, from goodness. When we get weary, He will be the one to come alongside with a shovel or the strongest machinery. Lets get deep and be brave. Let Him get to even the most stubborn of your roots. Let Him get the rocks out. It hurts, but I am going to risk the pain because I believe life is so much more glorious when we let Him heal us.