I’m Not God
I have a sticky note on my laptop that says, “I’m not God.” You may be thinking, who is this woman that believes she is God? I tell you, this post it has saved me, when I start to take too much responsibility for the lives of my clients and their healing, or when I feel overwhelmed by the problems of my friends and family, or when I feel like it is my job to help/fix/solve and realize that I can’t. The true message of my post it note is 1) a reminder that I am small, and I can’t do everything and 2) because I can’t, I just have to trust in the God that is absolutely not me. There is a lot of consolation in that, to know my own limits and to trust in God to handle the rest.
And this week’s first reading from the book of Baruch is called a “poem of consolation.” The book of Baruch was created after the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylonia in 586 BC, and in this “poem of consolation” Jerusalem is a widow, mourning for her children who were killed and in slavery and exile. So, the words “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery, put on the splendor of glory from God forever” invites Jerusalem to trust in God’s providence, that God will care for them, even amid great suffering. The poem is God’s promise that a persecuted people will be made whole, that God has not forgotten about them, that justice will happen, and God will bring it about.
The reading continues: “For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and the age- old depths and gorges be filed to level ground and that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.” What an unbelievable promise, right? To tell a persecuted people, God will make the mountains low for you and clear your paths. I think part of the lens of faith is the choice to believe that there is someone else looking out for you besides you. That you are not God. That you are getting aid. That you are loved and cared for, and it is not all up to you. There is no true way of knowing that this is true, it is a constant decision to make, to trust, to choose to trust in the unseen. Anne Lamott says, “A good name for God is ‘not me.’” There is a God, and I am not it. And that God is good, and there for me. What joy and relief there is in truly embracing that idea. To “take off the robe of misery” about the current state of things, and when it all seems too much, to have faith that I am limited and not God. This is not a cop out, this is faithful trust, that God is a friend to the oppressed and to the weary and we are merely, and beautifully, only human.