Monday, December 5, 2011


I'm reading a book.

It's called Man - The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer.

In this book, Tozer writes about the incredible fact that man is the dwelling place of God. How awesome is that? I've been blown away by the ideas that Tozer presents and the earnest heart that he writes with. He writes with passion, with energy, with a sincere desire that his reader reads.

In this book, he quotes a woman who lived in 14th century England by the name of the Lady Julian of Norwich. I've never been so struck by a quote from someone I've never heard of before. The quote reads:
"O God, please give me three wounds; the wound of contrition and the wound of compassion and the wound of longing after God. This I ask without condition."
Take a breath... there's a lot packed in those two short but poignant sentences.

The wound of contrition...
The wound of contrition... what exactly is that? In this context, it is a sense that I personally crucified Jesus. My sin was the reason he was nailed on the cross. My sin was the reason he suffered.

A wound of contrition is a presence of mind that recognizes our position before God. We were guilty. There's no flowery language. There's no maybe this maybe that. There's no if's and's or but's.

The beauty is we've been redeemed. We've been declared not guilty. Through repentance and faith, we have been set free. Romans 5:1 states: "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The gavel has been struck. The verdict is in. We are NOT GUILTY! However, a contrite spirit recognizes the grace associated with this verdict. I don't deserve it. I'm not entitled. I'm not worthy... yet, He makes it so.

The wound of compassion...
The wound of compassion is more straightforward; yet, is not easy in practice. Tozer writes, "The man who has this wound of compassion is a man who suffers along with other people."

I know for a fact that is not easy for me. I struggle with feelings. I struggle with emotions. I'm sure some of that is being a guy, but I think some of it is my human nature. Most days, my primary concern is me. It's sad, but it's true. Christ is the perfect example of compassion. He has been tempted. He knows what you're going through. He has every reason to not be compassionate though; yet, in His love for us, He chooses to be compassionate.

Do I suffer along with my coworkers? Do I suffer along with my housemates? With my parents? The guy on the street corner holding a cardboard sign asking for change?

Compassion is easy to understand. It is so hard to practice. It requires us to shift our perspective from inward to outward. It requires us to stop looking in and start looking out.

The wound of longing after God...
The idea of a wound expounds the idea of pain. To pray this is to ask for a pain, a discomfort, a hurting for God.

The idea of longing carries with it the idea of a perpetual journey. A heart that longs after God is a heart that is never content. It is never satisfied with the present situation. A heart that longs after God is a heart that seeks Him daily. Its sole (and soul) desire is to know God--to experience His presence--and to grow.

I struggle with longing after God. I too often find myself longing for knowledge. I love learning. I love studying. However, this love sometimes tries to replace my longing for God. I think I can satisfy this longing through study, through learning. I think that if I learn one more fact about God, I'll be satisfied... but to what end?

I need a wound in my heart that is lovesick for God. It doesn't want one more fact... it seeks to simply want God.

This simple prayer is bookended by perhaps a sentence that carries just as much meaning as the first.

"This I ask without condition."

Another way of saying this would be, "I don't care what it takes, God. I want this badly enough that I give you permission to use any means necessary." There's trust in this prayer. There is faith in this prayer.

I want this level of faith. I want this level of trust. I've started praying for three wounds. I have no doubt that God will come through. I'm ready.

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