A Little Help from Keith

By Kenney Coffey

I have struggled with this concept of “living out of being loved by God”.  I understand the words just fine, but it’s been difficult to wrap my brain around the concept.  It seems like such an ethereal notion.  An abstraction that floats down from the pulpit and settles into our vocabulary for a time before a new breeze blows through the doors.  I wanted to embrace it, but it evaded my comprehension.  So, I’ve listened and continued trying to figure out how to fit this into my life.

The explanation of a parent’s love for their children caught my attention.  I have children.  I love them more than I could ever imagine.  It seemed like an easy fit.  Unfortunately, as it wound its way around inside my head I realized that it wasn’t sticking.  I can relate to loving my kids.  I know how it feels to want everything for them, and to be ready to sacrifice for their well-being.  However, that’s not what we’ve been discussing.  Using all of my deductive reasoning skills I am able to discern that the point is to start from a position of receiving and accepting God’s love.  It is to open ourselves to a position of vulnerability and allow that to be the focal point of our existence.  I am the child.

This whole scenario would be so much easier if I could function from the perspective of the parent.  It seems so surreal to say this, but I know how to do that.  I know how to love my children whether they fail or succeed.  I know how to pick them up, brush them off and send them back out when they fall down.  I’m comfortable in that role.  The reversal is challenging.  My relationship with my parents is… complicated.  So, this is where I get stuck.

My wheels have been spinning in this rut for weeks.  Occasionally I think I’m finally starting to gain some traction, but then I settle back into that well-worn pothole.  So, I turned to my long-lost friend Keith.  He typically says the same things every time, but the words always seem to apply.  He reminds me to look for the answers on my knees.  He gently directs me back to the One that this is all about.  He points to Jesus and says, “Ask, then Listen”.

The problem is that I’m not even sure where to start.  So, I use Keith’s words as a launching point.

“Create in me a clean heart, Oh God.”– I need you God.  I need your guidance and discernment.  Without you I feel like such a failure.  I feel so weak and useless, but I know that you can change all that if I open my heart to you.

“Renew a right spirit within me.”– I have lived out of anger for as long as I can remember.  I have spent most of my life fighting it and trying to smother it on my own.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  If I’m honest, I don’t know what I’d do without it.  The truth is that I need you to show me how to live out of being loved.

“Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord.  Take not Thy holy spirit from me.”– In my mind I know that you will not abandon me.  I know that in your Word you have explained your love, grace and mercy.  I know the doctrines and scriptures and teachings.  In my brain I know these things, but somewhere else there still lingers the doubt.  Or, is it fear?  I don’t know.

“Restore unto me the joy of thy Salvation.”– Sometimes I forget.  I get so overwhelmed with the things going on in my tiny universe.  I wrap myself in the certainty that I understand how things are and should be.  Then a little reminder comes along and I wonder how I could overlook the fact that You are in control.

This is where I start.  As I listen to my friend Keith singing these words over and over through my headphones; I think I may finally be starting to comprehend.

2 thoughts on “A Little Help from Keith

  1. This is beautiful. The honesty is contagious and helps me to move closer to the truth that I can live out of being loved, with God’s help. I need him to show me how, to be the life that lives in me and give me the Spirit power to actually bring it about. thanks Kenney.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Those words of Keith’s are not just scriptural, but also a significant part of the Lutheran liturgy. Even tho’ a liturgy can seem so scripted (it is!), there is significant comfort in knowing that those words are coming, anticipating the moment when my voice is joined to what I think of as “the communion of saints,” and then moving past those words into the humbleness of comprehending I actually understand those thoughts in such a small and unrefined way- just like I comprehend “living out of being loved by God” in such a small and unrefined way. Thank you, Kenney, for the words that got my train of thought moving back about 30 years to when I worshiped in a liturgical setting; I need to “listen to Keith’s song” aka- those scripture pieces, over and over again, too.

    Liked by 2 people

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