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Monday, October 16, 2006

Savior, Madness, Heartache

You sit there in your heartache
Waitin’ on some beautiful boy to
Save you from your old ways
You play forgiveness
Watch it now, here he come
He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagined
When you were young

We’re burnin’ down the highway skyline
On the back of a hurricane that started turnin’
When you were young

They say the devil’s water it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while
- from “When you were young” The Killers

God’s grace saves us from our sins. His blood atones for our past, our present, and our future. But can Jesus save us from heartache? Is the Savior also a hero? Can he rescue and carry us away in the sunset?…
It is one thing to say that sins are forgiven. It is another to “go and sin no more.” Personal sin is heartache and madness. Heartache presses itself upon us so heavy that we have no choice. Who chooses for us when the choice isn’t ours?…
Can the Messiah grant eternal life and also save us from ourselves? From self-destruction, addiction, sorrow, depression, despair, and the madness that drives us and pushes us – like the incessant beating of drums that is driving and driving, driving and pushing. Uncontrolled. We don’t even know. We don’t even know the drums exist. Can the Messiah deliver us from the drums? Can he save us from heartache?…
I am driven by evil. But I cannot see it. I am driven and blind. It just drives on…
What is the benefit of salvation from the external punishment of our sins if hell resides within us? This hell is maddening and deafening, and when madness deafens us all we hear is heartache. Can Jesus save us from heartache? Have we ever really believed that he could? Have we believed enough to risk?…
But it is a terrible choice to make: to open. The state of the vulnerable. It is greater than any other. Much better to embrace the arms of a stranger. Much better to drowned in addiction. These we can understand. We know where they go. We know what they deliver and we can live under the delusion that they will never extract their awful payment. There is less at stake than there would be to embrace the Savior. Pain awaits at the end of embracing our heartache…
But what if we embrace the Savior? What if we open our hearts? This kind of openness isn’t required when we embrace our heartache. But it is required if the Savior is to save us from our inner madness…
But what if the Savior fails? That is something we cannot bear. The Savior is the last symbol of hope in a world of madness. We want to hold out hope that the Savior saves some, even if he hasn’t saved us from heartache: the pastor and his pretty wife, the well-groomed young man handing out bulletins at the front of the church, the lady of many years who still makes cakes for the church social. Jesus has surely saved them from madness. There is hope for some, but not for me. Jesus is only a symbol for me: a Savior symbol. Saving others from heartache and madness, and maybe even saving me from my sins – but not from the heartache and madness inside.
Can we be saved from ourselves?
Where is my Savior, and is he only a symbol?

I am a wretched one. Who will save me from this body of death? (Romans 7)