The Accuser has found my weakness—pride of thinking. He tells me, “You are not wise. You are unlearned. You know nothing. You do not love Jesus; you love being correct. You have no understanding. No one should respect you. Your ministry will not last. Your foundations are not solid. You have no faith. You have arbitrary beliefs. When asked, you cannot justify what you think. You have no knowledge. You are just guessing. You are stupid. Only fools will listen to your words, because they cannot recognize what is not valuable. You are only guided by your emotions, not your knowledge of God. You can fake it with some people, but the theologically educated can see past your facade of a Christian mind to a scared boy who should not be put in a position of authority. You are not moved by the right things. Your emotions are not set to praise Him. Your heart is cold. Your heart is not alive. You do not care about what makes other people happy. You are still so immature as to care what people think of you, and you will never change. Your destiny is not to give strength, but to be a quiet leech on the strength of others. Only fools find you helpful. You don’t live with grace and forgiveness, but stale duty and meaningless virtue. You have lost your humanity. To ask for honor is folly, for honor is not fitting for a fool. You argue with everything because you believe nothing. You do not love orthodoxy. You do not love Scripture. In your heart, you want to be a heretic. You worship the idol of science. Your heart is modern, with all its unbelief. Your heart is in the world. You have abandoned your heritage. You trust things that do not profit. You trust the wrong words. You cannot recognize wise words. You cannot speak wise words. You have delved past your ability. You should give up thinking. You are nothing but a simpleton. You will never be a leader. You are not worth listening to. Your voice makes no difference. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless. Your voice is worthless.” And my back breaks.
I can give no reply to the fatal accusation, and all confidence in life collapses onto the floor, weeping. I try to speak my anguish to the ones I love, but no descriptions and explanations can impart the ecosystem of pains that dwell within my soul. Only the Spirit can intercede for me, with groanings too deep for words.
In my mind, I drag my racked body to the bottom of the Cross and beg, beg to not be sent away. I cannot look Him in the eyes, the one slain for me who has provided a loving Church for me, but who I have not loved. I have nothing to commend me here, in the Court. I can give no reason as to why I should be welcomed. I have done nothing for Him except turn my back on Him.
The Accuser is still there, telling the King my sins. I desparately want Him to just shut up, just shut up. Stop telling Him. Don’t tell Him the truth about me. Tell Him I am a faithful servant. Tell Him I delight in His works day and night. Tell Him I study His Word with diligence and scholarship and joy. Tell Him I am okay. Lie to Him. Don’t expose the grotesque vomit of a faith I have. Please, Satan, stop. But he doesn’t, and he speaks all the words I most fear. He speaks the words that condemn me with the truest judgement. He speaks them directly to the Father, me weeping at His feet, and I can say nothing in reply. I have no defense.
I merely stay there. I say to my Judge, “It’s all true. It’s all true. I’m so sorry.” And I stay, and I cannot even bring myself to ask for forgiveness, to ask to be accepted, to ask to bring me out of the darkness and into His light. I cannot even bring myself to claim Jesus’ righteousness with my lips, even though I know that would save my soul. I just stay there, crying to Him, knowing I deserve nothing but desire everything.
“I will never leave you nor will I forsake you. I have brought you here, to myself, because I love you. You are still here because I have decided that I will never leave your side. You are my son.
“I already know all of the accusation that has been spoken. I’ve always known that your heart would be corrupt and that your mind would not be whole. I saw you before the foundations of the world were set in place. These words of condemnation are of no threat to you.
“Be encouraged; I am using you. You are not worthless because I am working through you to bring joy to others and glory to myself. Your voice does more good than you know, because I give you words and I shape how they are received.
“Be comforted; you have knowledge. You know that I am here. You know that I am a good, good Father. You know that I am a holy God, who has just wrath. You know that my Word is trustworthy. You know that I died for your sins, and was raised again to life. You know that your sins are great, but have been paid for, and you have been saved. You know that one day I will judge the world, and joy and fullness will be restored. You know that I created you to worship me, and to love those around you. You know that I am redeeming you into a beautiful being. Have peace; all these things you know. I have taught them to you, and I will remind you of them always.
“Hear me. I chose you to be among the saints. You belong in the Church. Your place is not as an outcast, but as an accepted, valued member of my Body. I placed you among the honored men. I have given you gifts, perspectives, and experiences that I have not given to others. I have given you these gifts in order that you would use them to build my Kingdom. You belong with the learned men, and they ought to listen to your voice. They ought to respect your work. They ought to show you honor. I created you to be honored, as you honor others.
“Yet, there are times you will stray from the path. You will doubt my Word. You will be unmoved by my Story. You will ignore my Flock. Even so, I will not leave you there, because the men with whom you belong will do my work, and correct you. Do not grow obstinate. Allow your heart to listen to others. Do not grow prideful. Be ready to be corrected. I want you to do this so that you will be near to me.
“My Son with whom I am well pleased did not live comfortably. To follow him, you will pass through dark valleys. You are going to suffer. The road is not easy, and I will not be gentle with your sin. Neither will this world have compassion on you. I do not want you to be surprised, my son, when the fiery trial comes upon you. Yet I will be with you, and I will sustain you.”
Tears flowed freely. But here at the close of His Counsel, they ceased. The storm-torn lake returned to serenity. He reminded me of Himself, and I was glad. The Accuser began his speech once again, but he saw that his words no longer hurt me. I looked him in the eye and told him that I knew where I belonged, and that I belonged with my Jesus. He left in much anger. I know he will be back soon with a new speech, and I may be overthrown for a time. But my fate is not decided by my strength. I am not faithful to my God, but my God is faithful to me.