Reflections: God is Alive! July 6, 2007Posted by erichaynes in General, Reflections on the Bible, Spiritual Journey, Stories of MyLife.
To all my new-found atheist friends, to all those friends that I encounter daily who aren’t interested in spiritual matters, to all the neighbors, family members, and fellow followers who don’t really spend time on a daily basis expecting God to arrive, I have a simple message: God is alive!
Just don’t expect me to prove it to you…I can’t.
Of all the great intellectuals in the world, I rank the least of these. Of all the great theologians and spiritual guides, I am but a lowly street urchin. I have neither eloquence of speech, quick-wittedness of a debater, or the mental capacity of a genius in order to win the battles raging across the Internet. My blogging essays are full of holes, less than well thought out ideas, and probably some less than logical sequences.
But I have this: once I was a sinner without hope, purpose, or position; now I am a follower of Christ who often sins, but has hope in Christ’s unceasing presence and activity; purpose in the loving and caring for a hurting world; and position as the Heir of an eternal kingdom that already exists.
Sounds fairylandish, don’t you think…yep. Maybe it is my weakness, and I need a spiritual crutch…yep, I’ll agree with that. All my education (post-graduate degrees are a waste, really) and all my reading (and I own quite a few books) have done nothing to fill the emptiness of my soul. All my humanistic approaches to living out “the golden rule” have done nothing to ease my conscious over those I have hurt. All my attempts to willfully forgive those who have hurt and betrayed me have not healed my heart of its scars. Only Jesus.
That does not mean that I don’t want to know what YOU are feeling, what you believe, and what you have experienced in this world. I believe that I am becoming extremely open-minded to those encounters. And I will re-affirm my apologies to those who have been hurt by the Christian church, it’s followers, and its misrepresented ideals…it is a poor reflection of the God we serve. But for me to deny or step away from God at this point is to deny my own life…it is a path of self-annihilation that leads to nothingness. What motivation do I have for that? That is just as foolish to me as you are thinking I am being right now.
I know God is alive because he moved in my life today — I read the wrong reading per my Bible study plan. I read tomorrow’s lesson instead of today’s. But tomorrow’s lesson was the answers I needed for yesterday’s questions. Coincidence? Maybe. Reading into Scripture what I want? Possibly, I suppose. You decide for yourself, but here is what God spoke to me:
From the book of Hosea, chapter 10:12: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord.”
From the journal of David, namely Psalm 73: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”
From the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, chapter 4: “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard it did not combine it with faith.”
My faith may look silly and simplistic to an outside world, but it has come about because of a complex set of experiences, teachings, encounters, desires, and hurts. For you to call it silly is to insult me and my life. On the other hand, for me to call someone of different beliefs silly for believing what they believe, whether it is a different religious ideology or a-theism, is equally insulting. I hope that we will find a place to enter into each others stories and discover what brought us together to this point. The point can’t be about conversion, but of bringing two people together in understanding and empathy. And most importantly, reaching across a chasm of apathy, fear, and mistrust, in order to find solace as we hurtle across space in an ever-dieing ball of rock. However, part of that mutual understanding has GOT to be that we both accept that each desires, hopes, nay, even prays, that the other will come to their side…to not expect that is to not expect love. If I am true to my faith and human empathy, then my greatest desire is for you to come to know Christ Jesus and gain eternal life. At the same time, I would not respect you nearly as much if, say you were an a-theist, but you never hoped to “save me” from my self-imposed god-delusions. I don’t think being open-minded means to give up that which is most dear to us (until there were some compelling life experience that rocked our respective beliefs). Otherwise, we’re just play-acting.
My faith brings me risk-taking, love-chasing, bold life…what is your particular faith (or un-faith) bringing you today? I’d love to hear…