Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grappling with God

I'm a slow learner when it comes to the lessons that God tries to teach me. I struggle and fight against Him. This last year (or three or four years) has been a time of defining what I believe about God, love, and life. And I feel like in all of it, I've resisted what God is trying to teach me. I'm a fighter, and sometimes I pick stupid causes to fight for. I choose to be stubborn about the most ridiculous things. So I've been standing my ground fighting for a cause I don't even know I believe in. I just know that I'm not ready to surrender, and that I'm aching to go another round with God - fully knowing that I'll lose the fight at the first punch.

Do you want to know what I've been so stubborn about? I don't understand God. I can't put Him in my box. I can't understand everything in the Bible and how it all fits together. I can't match up what I think God should be and what the Bible implies that he is. Does God really give everyone a chance to believe? And those who have never heard about Jesus Christ - what about them? Are they lost because they were never given a chance? How could a loving God allow that to happen? And if He doesn't allow that to happen, and the world can know God simply by looking at His creation, do other religions have validity if they are based on simply seeing that a God exists by the work of His hands and believing in something higher than themselves? And then if you follow that assumption, you are entering a realm that goes against everything that I've been taught. Since Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life," then has he condemned everyone who has never heard about Jesus? Or has He created another way? And if so, what does that mean? And if not, then have I chosen to believe in a God who could so easily toss the lives of the people he created into eternal pain and suffering?

This issue is plaguing me... eating at me. I'm mad and frustrated with my lack of understanding, with God, with life, with everything. I've drawn back from God these last few months in an attempt to try and grapple with all of this. And yet, it has only left me feeling empty and more frustrated. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind." I feel like I can do the heart and soul, but my mind is so freakishly stubborn and refuses to allow God to reveal Himself to me in His own way. I feel like I need to understand and explain it, if I'm going to believe it. How can I really advocate for a belief if I don't really know what it is I believe? The answer is I can't. And because of that I've drawn into myself and lost that driving Reason in my life - my relationship with Christ. How can I share His love for the world, when I don't even know what it is I believe about Him.

Here's what I know - I know that God exists. I know that I have a relationship with Him. I know that He loves me. I believe that God is good. I believe that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross as a way to redeem us from sin and to establish a relationship with us through Jesus who rose from the dead and overcame sin and it's inevitable effect, death. These things I know and/or choose to believe.

I suppose the things I am grappling with don't matter as much as the things I know. And yet, I feel like they're pivotal. I feel that understanding them defines my faith and whether the God I believe in is who I thought He was. And if He isn't the God I thought I knew, then who is He? Is He good? Or is he so righteous, that in His righteousness He would condemn those who never had a chance to hear about their own salvation? Does God play favorites by choosing some and not others? The Israelites are an example of God choosing a people above all others - what does that say to the rejects? What does that say now to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Are they simply the rejected modern day gentiles? Does God love them less?

I suppose I want answers to my questions. Although, I think I want a fight with God and I want to get knocked on my face. It's funny admitting it, but I suppose it's true. I want to know God cares - about me and about the world.

I hope I get knocked on my face - and I hope it shatters my world. I hope that it opens my heart to believing with faith and understanding. I hope it helps me understand God's love for the world and for me better.

I think I'm in for a pretty hard lesson, but then sometimes, we all need a little kick in the pants.

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