Tonight it is too warm to sleep. So for you, my dear friends, who are finding yourselves out of a slumber as well, I shall tell you a story. (Perhaps I will fall asleep, too. :D)
The sun was finally relieved of sentry duty for the day
The air began to gasp for breath
Frogs chirped and birds…
Hold on. Frogs don’t chirp. Anyway…
Frogs made their noises, and birds another
Yet inside a sleepy house, human footsteps were not heard
Though they trod down the corridor, they were silent
A quick hand grasped the darkness, nimbly searching for a familiar entrance
A gold doorknob began to rotate, the steady fingers guiding its turn
The summer evening’s air flooded the dark room
Only to collide with a wave of electricity and light
The nimble fingers and silent feet were now motionless, as two eyes beheld the disaster before them.
And such was the entrance of myself to my bedroom this evening. 🙂
Now, I have been in and out of my room several times today. It wasn’t that I hadn’t realized it was a mess, but I hadn’t actually recognized it as such until about an hour ago. This pretty accurately describes the condition of my walk with God the last few weeks. I’d been hit with these severe doubts about my faith, and began to flounder around in my belief system. (BTW, I looked up “flounder” and one of the definitions was “to behave awkwardly”. That one works!) I was getting highly frustrated with myself, and with God, and while I didn’t totally doubt His existence, I became very concerned about the fact that I couldn’t explain why He exists, and much less why I believe His claim to who He says He is.
This also ties into another question which has been haunting me for the past several months: “Do you believe that what you believe is really real?” (Those of you who have gone through the Truth Project will be familiar with this.)
So needless to say, I was letting my relationship with God turn into a huge mess. While allowing the greatest lie in history (“Did God really say…”) to simmer in my mind, I watched myself begin to drown, and literally felt my “hopes and dreams” start to crash. That’s when I began to see the disaster.
Point of interjection… Here is where I began to learn one of the cool things about God: He loves me too much to leave me floundering! 🙂 Time for a rescue.
As I began to consider what life would be like without God, I found myself continually aggravated and frustrated with, well, life! It just wasn’t making sense to me; I needed answers, and God didn’t seem to be substantial enough. I knew that the Bible said God makes foolish the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20, 3:19) but if we live in the world, shouldn’t the world have some wisdom of its own? This was my pitiful attempt at reasoning. Ironically enough, this week I was listening to some lectures on sociology and the study of people. According to the professor (who has a Ph. D. and would know these things), because God cannot be measured scientifically, He cannot be a factor when principles are applied to study the interactions of people. Yes, religious effects are taken into consideration, but if we don’t believe that there is a God, we can therefore determine the rules of life. (The primary developers of sociology, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim, were also evolutionists. Go figure.) Anyhow, according to the sociological method, we can only observe and make speculations on reality. It doesn’t really matter if one actual event occurred, because we will all perceive it differently.
In other words, we can never actually know anything, but we are supposed to critically filter through all information to arrive at our own derived (or demented) conclusions. BUT we do have scientific facts (ie the Fossil Record) to show us how we arrived into this world in the first place, even though we don’t actually know when that was. (We all agree that we’re somewhat alive, though, which means we must have been put into existence at some point or another.)
The lectures continued on with studying society, and how all the sectors (political/religious/economic/educational/etc) work together like the gears on an analog watch. However, *emphatically points finger*, even though we gave God the boot and can technically determine our own rules for existence, we ought not to tinker too much with the societal structure. After all, you stick a toothpick into the gear of a naked watch and, well, things go wrong.
At this point I believe God stuck a toothpick on the top of my head and with a pop! got my attention. I thought to myself, “Good grief! Is this all there is?! Is this all the world can offer us? They can’t even accurately explain why we’re here, much less what we should be doing here, or even if we’re really here at all!”
So like a wet, bedraggled kitten I traipsed back to the Lord. I began to analyze all the hazy and poignant thoughts in my mind, trying to decipher between the “wisdom” of the world and the Truth which does not make sense in this world–yet makes sense of it. Suddenly it clicked. “WHOA. If God is right, and exists, and truly is who He claims to be, no wonder life here doesn’t make sense without Him.” So maybe this seems like a lame revelation. It was quite profound to me at the time…and then it got even better. I also realized, as the storage files in my brain began to crash and clang around me, that I had been keeping God in a very tight, confined box. (We do this to our friends all the time: we think we know pretty much everything about them, label them “known” and stuff them into a cute little glass box. Then we learn something else, and the box shatters.) In my case, I realized that most of what I claimed to “know” about God, I hadn’t really thought through enough to decide if I actually believed it or not. Being raised in a Christian environment makes it so easy to slide into a comfortable faith, but too often things will become cliche’ until you sit down and consciously work them out with God.
So here are some of the things, in no particular order, that I began to realize: (and believe me, they’re still coming)
1. If God, in all His fullness, is unfathomable and beyond our human comprehension, He had to reveal Himself to us. We cannot create something that is greater than what we can imagine. You can trace the false gods and idols back to certain people groups who worshipped them, but these people knew everything there was to know about these gods. There was no mystery to them! But with God, He has revealed Himself to us through Scripture, through the birth/death/resurrection of Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit–but there is still more to the mystery of God that we do not know! (Colossians 1, 1 Cor. 1-3)
2. Good and evil are only antonyms in vocabulary. They can be contrasted in our grammar, yes, but the reality is that they are not equal forces. Good triumphs over evil: God has and is continuing to win the victory over Satan. In order for something to overcome, it has to be stronger. We cannot attribute the same levels of force and power to both God and Satan–it doesn’t work that way.
3. If God can forgive sin, and punish those who refuse forgiveness…He is VERY big. (Yes, I often learn things in very simple terms!) This is where “wisdom” goes to a whole different level. The world can’t fathom this, because the world is in opposition to God–they are living in sin and refuse to acknowledge they are wrong. So first of all, you have a high standard set before you, and that is obeying God. You have consequences for failing to heed that standard, and those consequences are fatal. BUT then you have the option to choose freedom from those consequences, and freely choose this freedom, and in doing so you are set free! 😀 I am still blown away at this. (1 Cor. 1-3, Col. 1-2, and more, but those two specifically keep coming up right now!)
4. THE BIBLE MAKES SENSE. It explains how we were created (read the first few chapters of Genesis), why we were created (Eph. 2:8-10), how we are to live, and what will happen when we die. It is the tangible word of God, of He who declares incessantly, “I AM the LORD, your God.” (Lev. 26:1, Isaiah 43:3, Isaiah 55:15, Ezekiel 20:7, Joel 2:27…and more!) He tells us who He is. He tells us who we are. The Bible tells us that God loves His people so much that He doesn’t want them to settle for anything less. (Deuteronomy 4:39-40; 30:11-20). He values us so much that He wants us to have the absolute best and through Christ we can be presented as blameless and pure before Himself, the holy, pure, almighty God. And He is jealous for our attention (Deut. 4:24)–think about that. If He knows He is the best for us, and will only the best to suit our needs and desires, why in the world would He allow us to trot off to other idols or selfish ambition? He also defends us and protects us from evil. Evil is the absence of God–and God is way bigger than evil, so He can defend us.
Dot dot dot.
Wow, I am absolutely amazed right now, and I didn’t even look up half the verses I could have inserted. There’s so much more I could say that I haven’t even formulated into words yet. Oh, and in case you are wondering, I’ve been writing for about two hours now, so my bedroom is considerably cooler and my eyes really are beginning to close up for the night… but my mind is exploding like Sunday’s fireworks. You see, people need to know this. People need to know about God!!! We could go up to every single stranger we see and proclaim the Gospel, and often God will draw them to Himself that way…but think about it. How many people to you encounter every single day who don’t know the Gospel? You have perfect access to them, and just by how you live they can see God working in you. This is why it is IMPERATIVE that we are imitating Christ, and not ourselves! We all know how “ourselves” behave for goodness sakes, just study sociology. We need to watch our life and doctrine closely. (1 Tim. 4:16) We need to be totally, utterly consumed by a God who is powerful enough to squash evil like a pill bug, and who is loving enough to view as blameless those who have offended Him.
Satan has many ways to sell the invitations for his death camp. Most of the lines begin with “Did God really say…” Well, yes, God really did say, because He is a living God whose words are still alive and active today. And this God is far more attractive to me than Satan’s empty lies or the world’s facades.
So go, wrestle with God–let Him defeat you, and you will both win.
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Cor. 5:11-6:2
“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.”
Thank You, God.