7.18.2008

How do I believe?

Most of you who read this feel some sense of calling to the works of the Lord. For some of you that calling may be a whisper whereas for others it may be loudly and clearly spread out. We hear stories of ministerial legends who never intended to be doing what they're doing, but somehow are fulfilling the heart of God for His people. Regardless of our history or our background in this salivating drop of time that falls into the overflowing arc of eternity, we are all on the same page of wonderment that falls into this work called, "life." So, as we all, in this moment, come to the table together with empty hands and open hearts we can ask of the Lord what it is that he is saying to us- to our hearts.

The issue I am struggling most with right now is my belief system. By that, I don't mean in so much that I am warring with my faith in Christianity, but rather how I believe Christianity. I fought for a long time to come to Christ in my logic and I was insufficient in trying. I remember vividly being 13 years old. I was awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin. Although I had heard the hope of Christ 2 years prior, my thoughts were consumed as I sought to make Christianity fit inside my mind. I was like the child trying to fit the square peg in the round hole, only in a much grander spectrum. What I wanted was already encompassing me, I just couldn't figure out how to make it run through me.

It was summer time and sleeping in was a hot commodity. Angry to have been awakened at the wee hour of 9 am- my life was changed forever as my sister pounded on my bedroom door. Now, please understand that up to this point the greatest tragedy I had experienced in my life was when the school bus driver ran over Butterscotch, the beloved feline, right before my very eyes. I hollered a groggy, "come in," as she flew through the door responding that, "Grandpa is dead."

For the last four years I had woken up nearly every Saturday morning to my grandfather, casting mulch softly against the glass of my bedroom window, so that I could drive is 1991 Dodge Caravan and go to the local flea market. My world turned to chaos and a few days after his funeral I left for summer camp with my youth group. I had a long summer and the next year returned in about the same place emotionally, to work there for the summer. Upon arrival I was aching within to make sense of God. I was angry at the circumstances of my life and as I stood on the soggy gravel as a steady rain fell from the sky- an old friend quoted me scripture in an attempt to settle the battle in my heart. Through tears mixed with rain I told her, "that doesn't help me." And with her Bible school education she turned in the rain and walked away, with no idea what to say to me.

Through time and love I have built a more healthy relationship with God but even still, not that the "if I believe" is settled, what about the "how I believe?" Paul says to the Corinthians that above faith and hope is love. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 to go the second mile and to love our enemies. In Mark 9 he says if our hand offends us, then cut it off. James tells us that pure religion is to care for the orphans and the widows. How does my life communicate that I believe this?

When people believe things whole-hearted, they ignite change. Mother Teresa believed in selflessness and changed the world. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in equality and rocked the foundations of western society and changed the world for the better. Of course you have Fred Phelps on the opposite end of the spectrum who protests at military funerals because he believes God kills soldiers for defending a country that harbors homosexuality. He spends thousands of dollars a year traveling the country boasting signs that read, "God hates fags" but as far as I can tell he isn't making anything any better.

I am being challenged to believe differently- that maybe when Jesus told us to love, He was saying to help the needy because of that love and not because we feel sorry for them; or because we need to affirm ourselves by proving that we are capable of helping those with "less" by the world's standards. I ask you to consider the commands of the Bible to love, help, and serve. The call to be meek and to walk in humility. If we took Jesus seriously in this moment, on this page of wonderment, in this chapter of seeking, in this work entitled, "life" ... how would that rewrite the novel of this world?

1 comment:

Wild Bill said...

People associate The Bible as a complete work. Finished and measurable, its stories, experiences, traditions, and tellings of prophets and plight ignite the leaves of our soul to burn for one god, the creation of us all. However, I find The Bible incomplete. To me, in my experience and beliefs, The Bible is a living document guiding us toward thought, action, and answers that comfort our path at reaching unification with the Spirit. Understanding Christ's message is a wonderful experience, but this change we gain from doing so is a test we test ourselves on.

Answers serve a purpose, but so do questions. Even when we no without a doubt that God exists and that we have this life to live, something exists within our realm that we toil to overcome. Perhaps this obstacle can be called faith; the faith we embrace as truth and lend to others. Throughout a typical day, we think on and off again about what we are doing. Does this make me happy? Am I OK with what I've done today? Did I make things worse for friends and family? Is there something I've overlooked to not look back upon and see my error in ways? Such nepotism deepens our search for truth gained from understanding we as individuals and the Lord.

In short, we are not meant to be perfect. We can, however, strive for perfection through righteous endeavor because the greatest example has been given to us to follow:) I think Christ's message of love centers on the individual's desires, desires for themselves. We are to be selfless with love; hence the love we give flows effortless from our hearts and returns twice as strong when given by others if not even in the same manner as was given before.

I really enjoyed your post and what you shared. Reminded me of watching Joel Osteen on Sunday mornings talking about his daddy and a lawnmower LOL.