“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” — Oswald Chambers
“Humans…by nature’s deep design and purpose, are created for one another. They are meant to help those who deserve help and in no way harm one another. He who shrugs off the will of nature sins against the oldest of the Gods. He who tells lies sins against the same God. … Truth is just another name of nature, the first cause of all that is.” — Marcus Aurelius
Here thousands of years ago, a grumpy pagan emperor (God rest his soul) had confidence in the character of God. He held on to what I sometimes struggle to hold on to: that the true God, the “oldest of the Gods” is all goodness. That he is a God who demands much of us: (1) to do good to one another, and (2) to cling to the truth.
The father behind all fathers. He stands behind every shadow and corner, calling our name.
And he is Holy and Just and True, burning us with his steadfast love.
Idealists aren’t wrong.
We are just guilty of the sin of shortcuts.
The only way is the long way round.
We keep trying to take shortcuts, to make things simpler, easier, to force the end of the story long before it is due.
So maybe its going to be far longer and more painful than first expected. OK. But that doesn’t mean it’s over.
The long way round might be a very, very long way. But there is a way.
This music video made me cry. God is the giver of death and life. All good things come from his hand. We must accept both.
I opened up a book tonight, and this is what it said:
I think God was telling me that. There are no accidents.
Why do you kick against the goads?
You have suffered, long and bitterly.
You drank from the spring and shattered the bowl.
And you paid a very high price for it.
You have suffered.
They lie about you, when they say you only care about yourself, a careless hedonist. It isn’t true. You’ve wanted the tenderness of the morning stars and the wind on the river racing down. And you’ve paid for it in dry tears when you were alone, and in blood in the middle of the night. You are in so much pain.
And your sons and daughters are given to Molek, and your fresh blood runs over the crusted blood, mangling together. And inside you is a cry that you fasten deep down, never to come out.
Lord Jesus, I believe that You are able and willing to deliver me
from all the worry, and unrest and bondage of my Christian life. I
believe You did die to set me free, not only in the future, but now
and here. I believe You are stronger than Satan, and that You can
keep me, even me, in my extreme of weakness, from falling into his
snares or yielding obedience to his commands. And, Lord, I am going to
trust You to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed,
and failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless; so now I will
trust You. I will give myself to You; I keep back no reserves. Body,
soul, and spirit, I present myself to You, a lump of clay, to be made
into anything Your love and Your wisdom shall choose. And now,
I am Yours. I believe You do accept what I present to You; I
believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession
of by You, and You have even at this very moment begun to work in me
to will and to do of Your good pleasure. I trust You utterly, and I
trust You now.
This was a diary entry from a long, long time ago. It was too personal to post then, but enough time has passed that I think it is worth posting now, in the possible event that it might help someone in a similar situation. As you can see it was written in the middle of a complicated situation, and there was some hyperbole and over-the-top self-hatred in it, but also some truth in it too.
I’m trying to find my way out of this swamp. The air is thick with gases, and the light is growing dim. The bats are flying into my face, I’m damp and sticky from the sweat, and my stomach and my heart are sick.
What I have learned:
(1) I do not love people. I love my ideals of people. That is not love.
(2) I hurt people with my admiration and my disillusioned contempt/anger. That is not good for them.
(3) Sometimes, there is no ‘honorable way’ in a situation. Sometimes, you must realize that yes, whatever you do will be cruel, and part of you wants to be cruel, and you don’t want to be that way, but there is still no option open to your action that will not be tainted to some degree by dishonorable motives. (e.g. desire to change another human being and ‘have’ them, desire to possess, desire to be flattered, desire to let them feel the way they made you feel–which is pain). In such messy situations, forget about your own honor. That too must die. Just do what will cause others (and yourself) the least damage, the least harm. Sometimes the least-harm option is also the more-pain option. So be it. Better they suffer now in heartbreak, then end up a miserable adulterer or divorcee later.
Anyway, in the long run, that option will probably be more pain too. You know….calculating eternity into the mix.
God help me. I’m so tired. I don’t understand why I am in so much pain. I am ashamed I am a leach who lives off the kindness of others, the friend who is the charity case. So be it. Give me strength, my dear God.
Faith isn’t about ‘believing what you know ain’t so.”
If you have to believe something to ‘make’ it true, then its all the Easter bunny and the Magic of Santa Claus and Carebears and the Power of Friendship.
Faith is actually a vulnerable, radical openness. But this ‘radical openness’ is not about believing it. It is more like going to a bridge and waiting through the long winter night, because of a letter just received, (purportedly) from someone you had loved and lost a long time ago, which asked you to wait here for them at this meeting place. You might catch pneumonia, and its a dangerous part of the city at night, they might not show up. Perhaps they really are dead, and its all a ruse. Perhaps your enemies are playing a cruel prank on you, perhaps you dreamed the whole thing (and the letter is now misplaced or missing). You aren’t pretending your beloved is already there, you aren’t having an imaginary conversation with them on the bridge. You are merely willing to gamble everything on this moment of vulnerability, to walk away from your normal life, and be willing to lose your health/life/mental-state/reputation in the process.
Here in affluent America, we Christians (of all stripes) do not truly have Him because we don’t truly seek Him–a seeking not of heroics of our own doing, but a seeking of honestly giving God total permission to really take everything else away. The fiery bloody God of Sinai and Golgotha is as real now as He was then, we only need to be willing to pay the cost of seeing His face.
Of Zerg and Protoss, or Why Jesus Came to Die
here’s a post from a blog I follow (and I bear some genetic similarities to this particular blogger….). I couldn’t agree more. (And Amen to her comment about the wretched sequel Heart of the Swarm not counting as starcraft, because its the antithesis of the previous ones)