I go through periods of fear and uncertainty. Fear seems to grip my heart, when this gaping hole of uncertainty in my beliefs presses upon me. It’s a physical sensation of dread.
How is it that other people can read the Bible and speak of being comforted, uplifted? Yes, there are those passages, but read the New Testament closely and all the comfort and upliftment, all the joy and the encouragement, are reserved for those who accept the whole shebang. The whole of Romans 9 – 11 is about the IN crowd and the OUT crowd. Why does the existence of a predestined OUT crows not bother so many Christians??? Paul says plainly (and then again, seems to contradict himself at the end of the monologue, somewhere in Rom 11) that some are predestined for wrath and destruction… for some appalling reason as ” to show God’s mercy” to those who don’t get the wrath and destruction. My God.
Yet this is not a blog to further entrench or justify my apprehensions. What would be the point of that? The whole struggle is to hold onto faith, to find God in the midst of suffering, to straddle the great paradoxes of faith. Somewhere I read that the spiritually mature person is the one who can absorb Paradox – whose faith is rooted in the paradoxes. That seems to be the only way for me. I am not, therefore bothered a whole lot by apparent contradictions in the Bible; I take them always as two aspects of the same truth, which must be grasped at a level deeper than that of mere logic and reasoning.
(Yet sometimes this seems like a cop out).
Walking along through town today in a state of what really was unceasing prayer, I felt comfort in the thought of Love. The many times we are exhorted to love, told that the most important thing is faith expressing itself through Love, that God IS Love, that the entire law and the prophets can be summed up in the one commandment, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
I cannot live with a wishy-washy faith. I can almost accept that I may never find a a satisfactory solution to the problems of orthodox Christian theology (problems to me). But in proportion, or hopefully far exceeding these doubts, I could come to a place of dwelling in God, of knowing Jesus without a shadow of a doubt, of being consumed by a need to express Him. These moments come upon me – especially the needs to express Him. In the midst of all this sturm und drang I do find this love surging through me occasionally, and I have to say something encouraging and cheerful to someone, or give someone a hug.
Oh, Lord, my lover, my friend, my protector, please carry me through this to the other side.
And sin is always with me. I found anger surging through me too, today, and indignant, troubled thoughts, about what I perceived as an injustice by my neighbour – a carelessness, an assumption. I smssed her calmly, and without, I hope, rancour, but in the my sms, there was a lie. I told her I was out and couldn’t take care of a certain matter, when I was not. Felt, as might be expected, BAD.