I am a member of a website dedicated to corporate prayer. After posting one of these devotions on that site and sending it to a friend that I met there who is halfway around the world I received a response from her that simply stated that she liked it because it left in the stark realities of life. God inspired me to write that devotion and to be real in my emotion and sharing of my experiences.
Ever since that response I’ve been left with the word “raw” resonating in my heart. As I live my life and deal with my own pain and deep suffering I’m left with a very real sense of being very raw in my own life. As I have prayed and sought God’s inspiration over this I’ve started seeing some correlation between being raw and God working in our lives.
Before we look at that connection I want to think about this sense and what it is to be “raw”. When I look at the dictionary definition of the word a few phrases stand out; “being in or nearly in the natural state, not protected, susceptible to hurt”. Immediately when I read these definitions I think about how we all put on a happy face and a shell around our hearts on a day to day basis. For the most part people never see our true hearts and spirits. We put on the “suit” of who we think we’re supposed to be rather than who we really are.
I have to think that when we totally deny our real selves and live our lives like this as Christians that to some extent we’re shutting out God as well. I’m not saying that He can’t get through to us, I’m simply saying that it’s easy to not see or hear His promptings from behind the wall that we hide behind. That said, how much healing and how many blessings are we repelling by our hard shelled exteriors? If we only realized that God is patiently waiting for us to let our guard down and let Him come to us where we are so that He can hold us close, give us a deep inner peace, and cover our “raw” being with Himself.
Before we look at this further I have to equate that “raw” us as being a bit like Adam and Eve after the realization that they were naked. It wasn’t that anything had changed on the outside, they had become “raw” on the inside. And yet, God was there to clothe them.
When I think about scripture there are two strong brothers in Christ who stand out to me, Peter and Paul. One a rough, tough, man’s man of a fisherman and the other a pious, legalistic, Jewish scholar born and bred.
If we look at Peter first we have to notice his rough and tumble tendencies as he was quick to be bold in front of his friends, (Matt 14:28-29, Matt 26:33, John 18:10). It isn’t until He fulfill’s Jesus’ prophecy and denies Him openly that Peter becomes truly “raw”. How raw, vulnerable and remorseful must Peter have felt after he denied Christ three times and he was reminded of Jesus’ words when the rooster crowed (John 18, Luke 22). We even see that Peter goes back to fishing (John 21) and I can’t help but wonder if at least part of that is because he felt like he had blown it and totally failed? Maybe he felt so bad that he felt like going back to fishing was his only option? What did Peter do when he realized that the risen Christ was on the shore? He put on the rest of his clothing, dove in to the sea, and swam to shore as fast as he could. I can’t help but identify with Peter at least a little bit here. There have been so many times when I’m totally raw whether it be from my suffering, loneliness, physically aching for a little affection, or the conviction of sin have I been on my knees just wishing that I could touch Jesus’ feet and kiss them or to give Him a hug and feel His arms around me. In those moments all since of dignity or practicality are gone. Just like seeing a tough fisherman not thinking but, putting on his clothes (no doubt they weighed him down somewhat in the water) and diving off of the boat (so much for the faith of walking on water) leaving his mates to swim to shore to Jesus.
Next, if we look at Paul (Saul) we see a pious, legalistic, individual (Pharisee) who was blinded by those things along with His pride to the reality of who Jesus really is (Acts 8 & 9). In this state he openly persecuted the Christians with the blessings of the High Priest. After the initial shock wore off of his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus imagine the pain of remorse and conviction Paul must have felt over what he had done. Imagine how “raw” he must have felt with that pain coupled with the vulnerability of being literally blind for those three days. I even wonder if that’s why verse 9 says that during those three days he neither ate nor drank.
As Christians we all go through suffering and struggle that beckons us to draw near to Christ. This leads to the question; Are You “Raw”?
Lord Jesus, we come before you opened up, vulnerable, and very raw. We ask Your forgiveness for not seeing or hearing you at times from the hard shell that we hide behind in our efforts to not let others see our true state and to protect ourselves from more hurt. We ask that You would speak to us as we come before You letting down our guard and seeking you from this place of our inner reality. We need You God, You are our Creator, our Father, our Savior, our Counselor, and our King. We Love You and we ask that You would show us Your mercy and grace today. Shine Your face upon us this day and bless us out of Your great love. We ask these things as Your children with the authority of Christ our Savior. AMEN!
– To Be Continued