“I am richly present in your striving”

In which, finding Jesus is difficult, but maybe the real Jesus is the suffering you endure along the way.

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

That's three “Me [Jesus]” in the same sentence, in case you weren't keeping track. Out of the thirteen sentences in today's reading Jesus is the subject or object in ten. That's 77% of the reading. The “Me [Jesus]” shows up 14 times total, or more than once per sentence on average.

Sarah Young's thing with her book Jesus Always is that she reinterprets one or more biblical verses into a monologue given by God/Jesus to the reader. I would find it difficult to put words into the mouth of my God (if I had one), but the author seems unfazed by the implications of doing so.

The tone is necessarily auto-biographical (hence the numerous self-references), but unlike an autobiography, God (Sarah Young) doesn't appear to be telling any their stories. She has thus far picked only the devotional sections, where we're instructed how copiously we are to worship God/Jesus and how good it should feel to do so. It's tedious and makes God/Jesus seem like the guy in the office who always talks about themselves, and never asks after anyone else.

Returning to the quote above, I was stuck on this for a bit. It implicitly blames the reader (in the voice of God). If we don't find God (have blessings/riches, &c) it's implied that we aren't seeking him the right way. If I were a believer who'd suffered loss, pain, confusion... this would land like a kick in the stomach. Not only am I suffering, but those that “do it right” wouldn't feel bad/tired/sick like I feel, but rather all the joys of knowing God. God (Sarah Young) also mentions that the intensity of the search blesses the reader... so if we're doing it right, we'll find comfort, but if it's really hard then that's also God's blessing? God's hedging their bets pretty hard. An arbitrary God that hurts as often as they heal is a pretty bleak concept.

The rest of the reading goes on a bit in the motif of perseverance. “Don't give up” is a solid message, but the author uses it rather narrowly: Don't give up on a relationship with God. God's (Sarah Young's) tone so far doesn't make the reader feel seen. Lot's of things are both hard and worthwhile, probably Jesus would approve of many of the hopes, dreams, life struggles of his followers. Hopefully at some point Jesus (Sarah Young) will acknowledge that life's a mixed blessing at best and grace us with some self-help advice that isn't entirely self-serving.

Overall, ½★ out of 5 for motivational impact.

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