This past week, John Piper sent out a tweet that cut to my very soul. His words?
Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But excuse me, the Master has given me work to do. I must prepare a sermon.
I’ve pondered his words hard since reading them. I think because they so echo my own situation right now:
Tears, I feel you. :Tears, you are real. You come at the most inopportune time. You stir me up as I come to meet God in the morning before the sun is awake. You surprise me in the afternoons when I drive home, exhausted and yet with so much work to do before rest. You sneak out of my eyes as I try to sing worship songs to my God and my Jesus. And when I am awakened in the middle of the night, once I have settled who I am and where I am, you accompany my attempts to return to sleep.
You make me want to quit life: Tears, you make me want to quit life. You make me want to go home–home to rest, home to eternal rest and joy. Because I look at the next day, the next hour and think “I can’t do this, I want to quit.”. I look at the stack of bills that must be paid, and I feel you tears and I want to quit life. It’s a very real fight, to not give up. It’s a very real fight, to not give in. Discouragement is tangible, it is palpable and it is heavy. Tears, you make me want to quit life.
But excuse me: Excuse me. Excuse you my soul, excuse you my tears, excuse you my mind and my thinking and my exhaustion and my fear and my failures. But excuse me………
The master has given me work to do: There is work to do. There is work to do, and my master has given me work to do. Who is my master? It is the very same one that I echoed behind Thomas when he no longer doubted and believed: “My Lord and My God.” He is my master. It is him I must obey. It is hard to imagine that he would have work or me to do. It is hard to imagine that my Master would give me work to do–a failure of the most base nature, a failure at the most basic level of life and living. But excuse me, The master has given me work to do. Work to do. He would not give me this work to do, if he did not think I could do it, right? Please, is that right? Surely he would not give me work to do, if he felt that I could not do it, if he thought I could fail in these important tasks. O God help me. Help me with this work.
I must prepare a sermon. That is what God had called John Piper to do, in this moment of transparency. This moment of realness. To prepare a sermon, to dig into the word, to study, to pray, to prepare for his people. But what about me? I must parent. I must parent my four children. I must parent well my four children. I must work to provide for my children. I must work, and do good work with my colleagues and friends at work. I, too, must study, must delve into God’s word, my do the disciplines. I must write. I must write what is on my heart my soul, my mind, regardless the tears that make me want to quit life. Because right now, that is not an option. Right now that is not an option.
My Master has work for me to do.
I must do it, however imperfectly and infallibly I do that work.
God forgive me. God hear me. God help me.