“That’s not in question.”
“That’s not the issue here.” This is not about deserving.
“You are unworthy and will always be unworthy.”
“Get past this.”
“It’s all about grace.”
“Now, get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.”
It was sometime in the early hours past midnight, and I was hoping to get back to sleep. Sometime in that vague area that blends wakefulness and sleep, the Lord and I were having this conversation about my burdens and His sufficiency. That’s when I pulled out the unworthy card and began playing it, as I am wont to do.
“Ah, Lord. I am so unworthy. I am not righteous enough. Not holy enough. Much too carnal. Weak beyond description. Flawed and marred and inept. I am unworthy.”
When He answered, I knew by long experience to get out of bed and write down what He said.
That’s it, verbatim, above.
He alone is worthy. I am not even in the conversation.
I had a number of things on my mind as I recall. The fundraising project to buy a car for a hastily retired missionary couple seems to have stalled at $2100 and I was praying. My book on deacons should be out in a month and wanting it to do well, I was praying. My daughter and her friend were driving back to Missouri and I was praying. My son and his youngest child would be leaving at daybreak driving here from North Carolina, and I was praying.
I was prayerful about this blog, always wanting it to touch lives and meet needs. About my life these days as I continue to adjust to widowhood. About a number of other things.
And in the middle of all that, I felt so unworthy to be asking anything of the Lord and expecting anything from Him.
“Lord, I’m so unworthy. I have no right to be asking anything from you other than for Thy mercy.”
And this time He talked back, with the words above.
One alone is worthy.
“Worthy is the Lamb.” That’s the theme of Revelation’s message, and we are led to believe it will be the theme of Heaven’s worship.
–Revelation 4. “The twenty-four elders fall before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and (they) cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”
–Revelation 5. They searched for someone worthy to loosen the seals and open Heaven’s book. “I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.” Then, an elder spoke up. “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
–Revelation 5. “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God. And we shall reign on the earth.”
–Revelation 5. “I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousands, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!!”
–Revelation 22. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
He is worthy. He alone is worthy.
My unworthiness is an ever-present fact that I must deal with. It neither justifies my rebellion nor explains it. It does not excuse me from obedience nor disqualify me from serving. Even the redeemed have not suddenly been made worthy. He leaves our unworthiness in place, it seems, as a constant reminder that we are to abide in Him, trust not in our flesh, look not to others for guidance (for they too, as just like us, no better and no worse. See Isaiah 6:5), not get proud when He uses us nor despondent when He decides not to do so.
“Not that we are adequate for these things,” said Paul. “But our adequacy (sufficiency) is of Him” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
My humility is not a case of mistaken identify. I have every right to be humble, every reason to count myself as unworthy to stand in His presence, to shrink before Him and cower in His presence.
“Who would not fear Thee, O living God?” (Jeremiah 10:7 and Revelation 15:4). “You alone are holy.”
So, if we are to come boldly into His presence (Hebrews 10:19ff), it will now and always be not by our works of righteousness but by HIs blood. “Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”
“Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
It’s all about the cross.
It’s always about the cross.