I don’t know if I’ve ever really experienced God.
Today I went to a church where they were doing baptisms and they told each person’s story. It seemed like everybody had a rock-bottom moment and God found them and pulled them out of their mire in some miraculous way.
But I’ve lived a slow and good, fairly faithful, boring life with God.
I feel like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son.
And I wonder if this is kind of why I’ve never felt God in an undeniable way.
I hear the luring philosophies of our culture. like the ‘On Being’ episode today where the woman was proposing a naturalistic view of the earth and wanted to make new pronouns to give to plants and animals. And the other really nice lady I talked to today who said she’s touring the country trying to plant the seeds so people will be open to meditation and talking to the sun. And my friend who isn’t a Christian anymore who wrote that sad song that’s so beautiful it makes me think ‘why does it seem like only non-christians can make the most true-feeling art?’ I mean, respecting the world is great and there are a lot of great people of other faiths out there with fantastic intentions. They’re trying so hard. How can that be wrong?
I’ve been playing the audiobible app at 1.5x speed the last few days as I’ve been running or working out and I made it through all of Luke, John, and most of Acts. And it seems they do a lot of arguing trying to convince people that you must just believe. Like first it seems like Jesus uses circular logic while castigating his disciples for not believing. And then Paul marches into cities where he knew they didn’t want to hear what he had to say, and he still went in trying to start a ruckus because he felt like he needed to change their minds.
And I look at my whole life time trying to serve Jesus and I think, I don’t want to tell all those people something that I don’t even know is true myself!
Sometimes it’s just so hard to keep on believing.
And I don’t know the answers to these unsettling dilemmas. I assume giving daffodills their own pronouns isn’t, like, against what God wants. And I bet a lot of people who aren’t Christians are on their way toward salvation, and many people who call themselves Christians aren’t.
And I guess I don’t NEED a miraculous experience in order to continue trying to believe.
I suppose I think of my faith in a little bit different way than those folks being baptized– and maybe this is the fruit of a slow and steady life– maybe God gets a quiet pleasure in these, humble, willful steps of blind faith: I picture myself as a little bit lonely in a big dark space, naked except for like a pile of robes which I have picked up to follow him. I whisper and there isn’t even an echo in the dark night to respond to my, “I just want to know I’m doing the right thing.”
And I take a step forward toward where he might be, not knowing what lies beneath my feet because all these uncertainties leave the terrain of truth feeling so dark. But I want to try to pursue God.
And I hope that whoever is my quiet creator, will see my desire to please him. And I hope the hesitant whisper of the name that seems so foreign sometimes on my lips, “Jesus” will reach the ears of someone by that name, and he will walk next to me, even if I don’t realize he is so near.
Now that I say that, it makes me think of that Narnia story in “A Horse and His Boy” when the boy, Shasta is on a horse on a narrow mountain pass in the thick fog with enemies ahead of him and behind. And he is scared. And he just takes one step at a time hoping he’s not gonna fall off the mountain. At some point he hears the breathing of a huge animal walking beside him in the fog. He is startled but keeps on walking. But the big mouth breathes warm breath on his hand. And tells Shasta to tell him about his troubles. And as Shasta tells him of all his woes throughout the whole night, the big animal listens and then says, ‘you didn’t know it, but I was with you there. And I was with you there, as well.’ He guides him over the mountain through the night and into safety. And as the fog clears Shasta sees that it is Aslan, the powerful and tender giant lion who is like Jesus to that land. And Shasta realizes he had been with God the whole cold, fog-filled night through, at each blind step.
Raw Spoon, 2-28-16