Barnes on the Myth of Wholeness

THE MYTH OF WHOLENESS
Hope arises out of the hard truth of how things are. Christians will always live carrying in one hand the promise of how it will be and in the other the hard reality of how it is. To deny either is to hold only half of the gospel... What we find in the scripture is the incredible promise that God has broken into our brokenness to find us there. There is no promise that, having found us, he will paste our fractured lives back together. This doesn't mean that all of life doesn't have to be brought under the healing of God. It does. But God's healing doesn't fit exactly with our yearnings to have the pain taken away. As a church member with cancer once told me, "There is a big difference between healing and avoiding death." God's healing has more to do with learning to worship than it does with getting life fixed. What God is eager to heal is the sickness of the soul and the blindness of the heart that takes us down a painful road away from his love. Worship is the means by which our eyes are opened. In worshiping God we realize we were never created to be whole. God will not restore what we were never intended to have. What we were created to enjoy is fellowship with God, who alone is whole and complete. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that God wants to give us wholeness. What God wants to give us is himself. If we really believed that, it would be enough. In fact, it would be more than enough. It would overwhelm us. The effect of our fascination with wholeness is that it embarks us on a journey for which there is no end, a journey that takes us further away from God. He invites us to journey in a different direction.

Taken from the first chapter of M. Craig Barnes' Yearning: Living Between How It Is & How It Ought to Be. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.


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