Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ask and you shall be further confused

So I’ve been feeling very hypocritical lately. I read some of the things I’ve written and I think, “I don’t really feel that way”, or “That’s not what I truly believe.” A lot of it reads as if I’m in complete agony and despair and trust me, I’m not. I feel as if I’m dispelling someone else’s truth and that bothers me. If I’m going to write with passion, I want to feel truly connected to my words and know that they are an accurate picture of where I am at, not just a way to connect with others. So after weeks of introspect and soul searching, I think I’ve got a clearer picture of where I stand in relation to God.

I got rear ended on the freeway about 2 weeks ago and I haven’t felt much like writing in quite some time. My car is pretty much totaled, my neck is severely sprained (so says my chiropractor), as is my back, and I’m terrified of driving. Here’s the strange part. Maybe I’m not coping, but I feel nothing (short of a pain in my neck). I’m basically numb. This strikes me as quite odd, considering that I – a girl who wears band-aids just for attention – am usually quite content to play the “woe is me” game with anyone who’ll listen. I really didn’t share the accident with the masses the way I usually do, but those who did find out had some words of comfort to offer. Apparently, God is not punishing me. God did not cause this to happen, nor does He wish me to suffer. God was not responsible for my car accident, the $9,000 damage to my car or the injuries that are healing slowly. God seems to have been looking the other way. And so I wonder…if every good and perfect gift is from above, if all good things are from God, if the slightest miracle produces a “To God be the glory” from the crowd…why then, are the bad things not from Him also? Doesn’t the sun shine on us all and the rain fall on us all? Didn’t God create them both? It seems to be that if He is to thank for every good blessing we get, He should take every bad thing that comes our way too. And what has really been eating away at me is this – who cares if the bad stuff is from Him? Is He wrong to discipline me out of love? Is he wrong to let bad stuff happen to me so that I might be strengthened by it? I’m not even sure if that’s what’s going on here, because what I’m really feeling is numb. I don’t feel persecuted, punished, picked on, or hard-pressed, but I don’t feel blessed either.

Sometimes faith feels like a game, and we are perpetual losers until the game ends. When this life is over, we win. We get to rest in the presence of God forever. I do believe that. I believe He is our creator and the creator of everything under the sun. It’s the life experiences I have a hard time with. Lately I’ve been feeling as if God is hardly concerned with what happens to us, but greatly concerned about where we stand in relation to Him. Everything under the sun is meaningless, right? Life is a series of random events, things we have little control over. The only things I feel I can control are my feelings toward Him. And frankly, I’m pretty tired of feeling numb. I’d like to get back to that place of wonder that I know I have been at before. I want to be closer to my Jesus. I want a happy medium between the anger I used to feel and the numbness I feel now. I want (yes, I’m gonna say it), I want a healthy balance. I think it’s possible the message of Christianity has been both over saturated and oversimplified. The salvation message is about as simple as it gets. You either believe it and live forever or you don’t and spend an eternity sans Jesus. There is no you in matters of salvation; there is only Christ crucified. But as far as all the other tenets of faith are concerned, I just don’t believe it’s that easy, and at this stage in the game, I’m not sure God intended it to be easy. And truly, I DON’T WANT IT TO BE THAT EASY.

I don’t want to be a neurotic crazy lady standing in the streets screaming, “Why, Why? Oh, the horror!” But I think confusion is the journey, the relationship. God is an enigma and if He were not, why would we have a need to pursue Him? It’s His mystery that keeps me yearning to know Him more. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want from my faith and here it is, plain and simple. I want to be confused. I want to be challenged. I want to be asked the tough questions I’d prefer to put out of my mind. I want to dive into the dangerous subjects I try tirelessly to dance around. I want to struggle with my sin and feel convicted, which I haven’t in a really long time. I don’t want to have all the answers, but I sure as Hell want to discuss the questions ad nauseum. When Jesus spoke, a lot of people were confused, but didn’t that make them pursue Him more? Didn’t they want desperately to understand Him? So let me be perfectly clear. MY wants are not for everyone. There are countless people who want nothing short of simplicity and that’s fine, but that’s not my cup of tea.

You see, a lot of people are driven by emotion and for them, I think faith is probably not a stretch, but I’m not one of those people. I don’t stand beneath the cross and shudder, because I’m pretty far removed from my emotions most of the time. The cross feels quite fictional to me about 98% of the time. I am very analytical. I love a good debate. I don’t want to accept anything at face value. I am driven by reason and logic and let’s be honest, there is nothing logical about Christianity! It doesn’t make sense; God doesn’t make sense. So what do I do without blind faith and without reason to rest on? How do I get to the hope when I want desperately for it to make sense first?

I’ve been wrestling with this notion of entering Heaven as a child. What does that mean? I think I’ve always believed it to mean, well, basically, dumb ourselves down. We should stop doubting and running and questioning and just accept that what He says is true because He is the parent and He said so! I don’t believe that anymore. Children are not dumb; they are inquisitive and I think that is what God intended. Haven’t you ever listened to a child who is just beginning to discover that there is a world around them? “Why is the sky blue? Where do babies come from? Why do birds fly? Why can’t I have everything I want?” They want it all to make sense. They want to understand where they fit into the puzzle. They want to know there is a reason for it all. And what do parents want? They don’t want their children to have all the answers. They want them, above all else, to know that they are loved. Isn’t that what God wants for us? I think we are to enter Heaven as children, not dumb and blindly trusting, but adoring Jesus and being adored by Him. It isn’t the questions that matter, nor is it the answers. That stuff is meaningless. What matters is that we seek Him. That we come to Him. That we spend a lifetime longing for someone who is somewhat of an enigma. And I want that again. When I have children of my own, I don’t want them to go to church to learn what they should believe or how they should live their lives. I want them to learn that they have a Jesus and that He doesn’t always make sense, but that’s what makes Him fun and exciting.

I think God has me exactly where He wants me and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I may never FEEL moved again, but that’s ok. Honestly, I think God knows me pretty well. He knows I thrive on chaos and confusion. He knows I love to challenge everything and make waves. He knows I live for the journey, not the destination. He knows I love the downs sometimes more than the ups and the lows sometimes more than the highs. And He knows that I will always come home to Him, no matter where my feeble mind leads me. And now I’ll tell you what I know. I know there are no other arms that could stretch wide enough to cover my failures. I know there is no one here on Earth who will never fail me. I know there was no greater sacrifice and there never will be. And I know that He loves me and that’s ok, at least for now.

Oh, one more thing. As far as my accident was concerned. I think I’m done with “some way” prayers. No more, “God, if there is some way you can help me out of this one, some way you could make this happen for me, some way you could fix this, confirm this or shut the door on this one, some way….” Perhaps I should’ve been more specific.
May God confuse you all so you'll never stop seeking!

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