By Robert Anthony Sept 20th 2023
I think we present our soul to the Lord when we die. What else do we have to give to Him? He doesn’t need our wealth, He doesn’t need our good works or any other religious offering that we could possibly muster. But He must be interested in our soul... if He is good, He must care about our hearts and the deepest and most hidden things that make us who we are... You know, no one ever taught me to care about my soul. I never had a class in high school or Bible College about the preservation of my innermost self. In fact, I can’t even remember a single conversation with anyone until I was probably well into my twenties about what is inside of me and how I should consider caring for it... I was very financially successful in my twenties. But there was little rejoicing in it. My soul was being dragged thru the mud and wrenched as I bought into the “American Dream” and this "Prosperity" hook-line-and-sinker. I understood those years why the rich and famous might end their own lives, even while “on top” of the proverbial world. What we have been sold by this culture is an absolute lie. There comes no fulfillment from this stuff. We’ve been lied to. The fullness is hidden in our God and within His Christ.
And I don’t mean to imply that the religious world has cornered the market on the absolution we all so desperately seek after, quite the contrary. What if God truly sees us as children? Even the 90 and 100-year olds. What if the Lord sees us all as children stumbling our way thru this mess, trying to get back to Him. I’m afraid we give up too easily. I’m afraid we throw in the towel way way too soon, our fears get the best of us and we end up lost – driven by the worst of this darkness and away from His presence. What on earth happened to us?
For one thing, we bought into the lies. We believed the devil. He said, “The Old Man doesn’t know what He is talking about…” and we listened to him. But why? What did God ever do to us that was so terrible!? Religion offended a lot of us. Truly. But was that really God? Somewhere inside of our hearts we know the truth, God didn't do that. In those quite moments of the night or the early hours of the morning when it seems the whole world stands still, we know God is near: we can sense something of Him that is benevolent and good, it's as if we peer into eternity for even a moment and we know, God is good. But then we turn away, Why? Why do we give up so easily?? If only we would tell Him everything! If only we would open up to Him and tell Him how badly it all hurts, if only we would speak from our hearts and tell Him how afraid we are… but we don’t… we bottle it all up, we hide ourselves away from Him… we run and hide, out into the darkness, away from His presence and refuse to let anyone save us…. Why? Have we fallen, so deceived!?
I think He’ll be very curious and help us to truly see ourselves, come that day. I think we’ll be astonished who we really are... and were, all along. The best among us will be surprised that they are and were in fact the best among us all along, and the wicked and hate-filled will be left speechless. Those who warred against Him will see without any of the self-deception that they simply rejected Him and His truth, each and every day of their lives, and they will simply have nothing to say about it. The darkness of this world will be exposed. Those lost and desperate souls among us, perhaps they were wealthy, and rulers, and politicians, and elite, and respected among men, famous and esteemed, even pious and religious men, exalted above the sinners of the world - we will all see ourselves for who we truly are come His day.
What would a good and caring father want for his children to experience throughout their life? “Did you love them?” He might ask. “Did you let them love you?” He might want to know, "What did you learn?" and "Did you enjoy yourself?" I don’t think He's ever demanded much from us. Someone else did that. That was never Him. In all these years I have come to know Him, I can’t think of a time He ever asked me to carry much of a burden… most every great and heavy burden I have carried, I carried it of my own free will. Maybe that was a mistake…. I don't know? But Dad wasn't angry with me for doing so... It’s so hard to remain a child in this lost and dying world.
“Robert, is your soul intact?” (I hope so.) I try not to carry around much offense, I try to trust Him even when nothing makes sense, I willfully choose to forget the past and press into a brighter tomorrow… but it is a long journey. It takes some kind of skill and perseverance to trust Him, every step of the way, every year… “Forgetting what lies behind” (as Paul said). Truthfully, I think my soul was more intact twenty years ago. Though it's hard to judge.
I have to trust Him with so many I love. For some reason it seems easier to trust Him with myself and my own life, but I have a wife and children now, I have to trust Him more. I never knew I could love someone like I love these I have: my amazing wife and my beautiful children… It’s incredibly hard to watch them ever suffer and I want to save them from it all!! (Lord, help me. I haven’t completely figured out how to do this… I want so much for them…)
I can honestly say that my heart still breaks - if that means that I’m still living, then yes, my soul is still intact. I’ve hurt and been hurt, I’m injured in my own way and I’ve certainly injured others. I’ve tried to take it all back – I’ve apologized – I don’t know if it helped? I’m trying to be a good example to my children. I’m loving my wife but it’s hard to focus sometimes with so many troubles around us. The world has grown so complicated and loud. I try to turn it off but it creeps back in. (Help me, Lord.) "If you touch me, I will live. If you bring me to life, I can make it to the end. But without you every step of the way… I’m convinced I will fail and fail all those I love. I still love you. I know that. Even after all these years. I still love you. I have regrets. I wish I had done better. But I do still love you and I love our times together, even if they are fewer and further apart. I'm pulled in too many directions. I miss our times together."
"I guess my prayer at this point in my life would be, “Dad, restore my youth. Restore the innocence of my youth. Make me young again. Let me look at this broken world with hopeful and trusting eyes, as if I never knew what they are capable of… It was better when I knew less.”
Is my soul intact? I can find peace in the midst of the storm. I can trust Him when the whole world comes apart at its seams... That’s got to mean something…. I just wish I didn’t try so hard all the time. I wish I could rest and enjoy the ride a little better. The way my children trust me. They never ever doubt that dad will take care of them, and they never wonder if they are safe with me... not ever. If I’m around my children they know that they are safe and protected, always. I should know that by now with my God. After all these years I should be convinced. There is something broken about this soul... We must have fallen all those years ago... I hope my soul is still shiny. I hope I have something to present to Him…
I think I'm going to rest better in this next season.
I’m going to choose to trust Him with more.
If this is the end – I’m going to let Him end it, however He wants to… I do want to stop it. Lord knows I do…
But what can I do? It’s all His.
I’m even His… What else can I do but trust Him?
I think He deserves that… I’ll take a lesson from my children.
They know how to trust…
With love, Robert
(Salvation must come from the Spirit of God for the saving of the soul! What else is He saving? This body passes away and returns to the dust of the earth. Even in rapture we shed this body like old skin. If He isn't interested in the carnal things of dust and decay, even the silver and gold, what is this God of ours after? He must desire something of our hearts and souls. We should at least lend Him our trust. We should at least give Him the chance to prove Himself to us? Maybe He will show Himself faithful...? Millions of us would testify that He has... I pray for the wanderers, the broken and hurting, the rejected and orphaned... Cry out to Your Father... And for those who know His name... They call Him, "Jesus")