"Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
–Psalm 62 : 8
easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
open to attack or damage
(And this is a virtue?? Lord, really?)
I know I must choose to be open. It's a choice. Open as in honest, but also open as in receptive. Open as in not closed like a fist. Open as in bare, as in unprotected.
No wonder the church has embraced this word "vulnerable" when it extols the virtue of honesty.
I feel vulnerable when I am honest about the most fragile parts of myself. It's a scary nakedness, but it's a nakedness we're called to.
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
–1 John 1:5–7
Walking in the light = living honestly. Open.
It's scary, but worth it, the word says. There's freedom in the light, and fellowship. Community, communion, that wonderful “together” that we all crave. Walking in the light is also consistent with my identity, if I belong to Christ. Because He is in the light. If He's out there and I'm hiding in the dark, how can He and I walk together? We can't.
Sometimes, though, when I say that passage to myself, I'm saying it purely in faith. It feels flat and not real. What feels real is the fear that I’m exposing myself to damage. Isn’t that what the dictionary said in its definition of "vulnerable"? Harm, attack, damage. Yeah, no thanks. Been there, done that, and it hurts, and no thanks.
So when I read that Psalm verse this morning, I latched on for dear life. God is my refuge. My hiding place, says Psalm 32:7. I can live in the openness He calls me to, and yet I’m absolutely safe. That is such good news.
There's a difference between being hurt and being harmed (not my original idea; I heard this in a sermon once). There are plenty of things that both hurt us and harm us. But hurt and harm aren't the same thing. There are things that harm (cause damage) but may not hurt (feel painful). Many addictions are plenty harmful but actually feel good in the short term. The flip side is also true. Something can feel painful and yet be good for me. Surgery. Exercise (if you're a couch potato like me).
I think the sting of the "vulnerable" falls here, friends. The sting is real, the pain is real (so real, sometimes). But there is good on the other side. There has to be, otherwise God is a sadist, and He and I have been through enough together that I know that's not true. He's not out to harm us. He doesn't delight in causing us pain. He delights in bringing healing. He delights in being a hiding place (and who needs a hiding place if they're settling for the fake safety of the dark?). He delights in making himself known. We are safe to run into the light and into His arms.
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
– Psalm 32 : 7
See You In The Round!
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide."