Here in Your Presence, we are undone are lyrics from a New Life Worship song. I have been marvelling at this phrase and wanted to briefly explore what that really means and what vulnerability looks like and in turn the privilege that carries.
So, one of my favourite American series is Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a medical drama set in Seattle; originally based around a group of interns trying to make it as surgeons – though it does tend to focus heavily on love, sex, arguments and drama rather than medicine! A phrase was given birth through the show; “my person”. This is a phrase that two characters in the show use to define their friendship. Basically “my person” means "that one single soul that you can depend on”. They are more than a friend, they are with you through thick and thin, they are the one person you turn to in a crisis and the one person who would always have your back. That’s quite a friendship goal!
Now if I wanted to be vague, I’d wrap up there and say “well God wants to be your person” – job done. But I think we need to go deeper.
See, with God you cannot fake it. If you are fortunate enough to have an earthly “person” who you can turn to (spouse, parent, sibling, friend for example), let’s consider whether you really could go freely to them with all of life’s worries? Do you really allow yourself the complete freedom to be “undone” in their presence? Would you reveal your deepest hidden secrets, fears and failings to them? Those longings, dreams and desires that burn deep? How about those dark thoughts that creep in and take you unaware? Now, if hand on heart you can say yes to all of this – stop reading. Because I know, personally, that there’s hidden stuff within me that’s hidden; hidden from my spouse, family and my closest friends. What would she think if she knew I thought that? Would that hurt him if he knew I felt that? They could never know I’d done that. Can I really trust someone that much?
You see we all have a stowaway place within our hearts that is secret. But with God you don’t need to hold things back because God knows everything about us. David tells us in Psalm 139 that God knows us, He is familiar with all our ways. The writer of Hebrews writes “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything in uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV Translation). In the NLT translation the phrase used is “naked and exposed”, whilst the NKJ translation says, “naked and opened”. Laid bare, exposed, naked, opened – sounds pretty vulnerable right? Pretty undone.
How does that make you feel to know that God sees everything? That he knows our hearts? That nothing is hidden? I know that could make me feel quite concerned, embarrassed, ashamed and vulnerable. But then I’d be judging God on man’s attributes. Expecting him to be shocked, disappointed, hurt, judgemental, uncompassionate and unforgiving.
I have been richly blessed with an earthly father who, when life has gotten hard for me would enwrap me in his arms and that would enough to make me feel safe. Though when I was in trouble just the thought of him telling me that I had disappointed him broke my heart.
What is your image of our Heavenly Father? Is it modelled on what your earthly dad was like? Maybe you don’t have an experience of that relationship, so struggle to get an image to compare. Well stop! Stop comparing what we can fathom here on earth with what our Heavenly Father is like. Stop trying to build a box sized image of what God is like because you cannot put that into a man-made box. God’s love is unmeasurable, unfathomable. Paul presses this incredible, unfathomable image of our Father’s love in Ephesians; “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God” (Ephesians 3:18). John puts it in a mind-blowing way, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin” (1 John 4:10).
A thought for another day – could you sacrifice your only child for the lives of a bunch of wretched, sinful, ungrateful people? Well that’s our Heavenly Father right there – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us” (Romans 5:8). God knows all our trash; all our baggage, all those dark thoughts, disappointments, deep scarred hearts – God knows all of this. We cannot shock him.
He is not unforgiving. He is not going to say we’re on our own. On the contrary, “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). God knows us. Christ died for us whilst we were still sinners – not when we were blameless, not when we had everything sorted and figured out or going well. He accepts us as we are; he doesn’t say “Oh, you’re a mess, I’ll walk off and leave you in your mess”. He says “Come to me. Talk to me. Be yourself. Scream at me, cry at me, questions me. Tell me what’s going on in your heart and what’s on your mind. You are free to be undone with me.”
The creator of the universe cares about what is going on with you. Whether big or small – the grand designer who cares about the detail in creation cares about the detail in your life.
“Here in Your presence, we are undone” We are vulnerable, we are exposed; there are no hidden chambers, no locked thoughts – God sees all of us and he still loves us and cares for us. What an amazing and incredible privilege. That no matter how far gone we think we are; God is right there still wanting a relationship with us. Still loving us. Still never letting us down.
Dear Lord, thank you that in your presence we are undone. Thank you that nothing can separate us from your love and that we can truly be ourselves with you. As we come and talk with you; freely and openly – I pray you will work within us to help us become who you created us to be. Amen.
~Written by Nikki Carter.