“There is no substance under the things with which you are clothed. You are hollow and your structure of pleasure and ambitions has no foundation. You are objectified in them. But they are all destined, by their very contingency, to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left of you but your nakedness, and emptiness and hollowness, to tell you that you are your own mistake.” – Thomas Merton
What has lasting satisfaction? Are you aware of things which have become old and dry? Has the wine turned to ash in your mouth? A great many structures of pursuit have been put in jeopardy in the world today. Money seems unstable, hidden agenda is promoting fear, security is in question, and no one seems to have an answer about the light at the end of the tunnel. What is it that we focus our attention on in these times? Do we revel in simple pleasures? Do we hang on to what we have for dear life? Do we hoard our resources? Do we scramble about trying to reinterpret every circumstance for it’s “up to the moment,” CNN tickertape, implication? Do we succumb to the anxiety?
Let’s halt our worry for a moment and remember that he is worthy. Stop and think about why is worthy: His control, his love, his forgiveness, his power. He is worthy. Just let these ideas cover your mind for a moment. Sit and let the worthiness of the Lord wash over you and calm you to the core. When we return the focus to Him, we understand his consistency. When He is at the forefront of our pursuits, we allow his worthiness to overcome our senses. In Merton’s words, we are our own worst enemy when we shift our focus from the Lord and his desires and pursue ourselves and our own requirements. The pursuit of self leads to emptiness; for at the end, we only find ourselves. When we chase things of power, influence, accomplishment or acquisition – the taste eventually becomes bland in light of every level of completion. We become compelled to top the last goal. On the long continuum, we still end up only with our hollow self and the same echoes of impermanence and futility ring in our ears.
In these moments – STOP! Stop and think of his worthiness. He is worthy of lives spent with his purpose replacing ours. He is worthy of pleasing. He is worthy of an eternity spent worshipping Him. He is worthy of every knee bowing and every tongue confessing his Lordship. He is worthy of loving one He brings near you, who is in need. He is worthy of listening to a friend He places in front of you, who is in crisis. He is worthy of quiet contemplative prayer. He is worthy of joyful praise and laughter in knowing that you are the image bearer of the Almighty: He made you to find pleasure in the ways He intentionally created you and your character. He is worthy, that you might give your time and resources to the body of Christ. And when you know this worthiness and let it change your interactions with Him and with others, you feel clothed in his righteousness. You feel made whole in the peace and purpose of the Savior. You are no longer under the pressure to bring purpose to your own life, nor significance to the efforts of your day. The rock which is higher than I is the foundation for who you are. He is the Savior. When we allow Him to be exactly this in our lives, He does specifically what a Savior would: He relieves us of the burden, and restores hope for our future. He gives us a person to rely on which is not confined by our personal limitations. He responds to us with unmerited grace. We can rest in Him, He is worthy.