I’ve been thinking tonight about the difference between holy tension (tension over injustice and unrighteousness) and idealistic tension (tension over the gap between my expectations and reality.)
Both cause stress. Both aim at a better reality. Both extend beyond our realm of control and become subject of prayer.
One, however, seeks to align us with God’s view of imperfection and sin in the world. The other seeks to have perfection and maximize our desire for pleasure. One looks through the lens of true love. The other looks through the lens of self-love. One seeks to give life away, while the other seeks to gain it.
There’s a lot of stress out there. Often, we feel we have the majority share…
The question is, what lack, deficiency, problem or tension point are we going to focus on? The ones that stir up righteous passion or the ones that fuel self-pity.
I’m going to have tension in my life and I’m going to want to bring it to God in prayer. My hope is I’ll come before God fueled by holy tensions rather than idealistic tensions. I long for my fervor to match God’s.
This all reminds me of when I was a high schooler on a trip to Kenya to build youth buildings.
Our camp was out in a national park area and we had been dealing with army ants for days. These ants are huge, pinch like mad and can literally blanket the whole area.
One night, the ants found a way into the girls’ tent. Around 3 a.m. they started screaming.
The whole camp came alive to try and help – except me. I somehow stayed in my bed and kept trying to fall back asleep. When I realized what had happened I hollered at a friend to “put ash in front of my tent door.” These ants didn’t cross ash and it seemed logical to have someone put some in front of my tent.
Later I realized how ridiculous I had sounded to everyone else. While the others were trying to help hysterical girls with ants in their hair, their clothes, and their bags, I was thinking only of my comfort.
I ended up staying up all night after the others crowded into the remaining “ant free” tents to keep the fire alive and spread ash. It was my form of penance and attempt to appease my sense of shame for being so stupid.
This is kind of a picture for me. How often do I ask God to spread ash in front of my tent? How often do I miss opportunities to unite with God in serving others, helping the vulnerable or giving to the needy because all I see is my own comfort?
Holy tension v. idealistic tension. May we be occupied with the first…
Find Rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5