Friday, January 18, 2019

To the edge of Unbelief...and back again

Behold my second blog for this week. The first one just would not cooperate no matter how I worked with it. So now it has been sent to the place where all unfinished blogs go to die: the Save pile.

I really wasn't planning on writing another one, but this one is begging to come out. And I understand, for words brought into the light are always more powerful than those that cower in the darkness.

It's a confession of sorts...

The uncomfortable but liberating gift of openness...

You see, I've been having trust issues...with God. For quite some time now.

I know that what I'm saying is illogical, for how can you doubt the Person you have spent the last 35 years with?

But I do.

And this is the crux of it all...the nagging question that has chipped away at my faith for so long...

How can a God who is all powerful, all mighty, all everything, not DO something?

About what you may ask?

Anything. Everything.

I look around me and I see so much horror...things that God, with a simple blink of His eye, could resolve. And like Sam and Frodo marching towards Mordor, the darkness has been growing ever deeper...

And the times of Joy and Light ever dimmer.

"Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be Spring soon, and the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they'll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields. And they'll be eating the first of the strawberries with cream. 
Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. I'm in the dark. There's nothing. 
No veil between me and the wheel of fire! I can see him...with my waking eyes!"

There are days I have to will myself to go on...days where I beg for even a scrap of Light and Joy.

I hate it. I absolutely hate it.

But yesterday, on a day when life seemed just too hard, a thought came to me. And like the moth that flutters in front of Gandalf's face, I grabbed on to it...

Satan comes to steal your joy and kill anything good in you. And even you, if you let him. Be angry at him, not with Me.

I could hear the veil of darkness being ripped away. And for the first time in ever so long, there was Light...

And Truth.

And the understanding that I have been ensnared in a lie...held captive by deception...tethered to a ghost.

Of course it's Satan! Who else would want to steal my joy and turn me away from God?

I'd like to say that I jumped up, pumping my fists in victory, boldly strutting around the room, a changed person.

I didn't. But I did feel the faint flutter of a moth's wings.

And to make sure I didn't forget yesterday's lesson, God brought a reminder to me...the story of a woman named Kathy who, after going through some very hard times, hung out on the fringes of God for awhile, until she was just about ready to let go of Him completely.

Wow! Yeah! I get that!

So I wrote, Exactly! next to that paragraph in the book.

Then she had a chance to go to Rwanda, and what she saw there only underlined her belief that, "You created us only to let us march around in our own misery. You're supposed to be good. What are you good for?"

Next to which I wrote, Exactly!

The story continues as she visits the various genocide sites and sees first hand the horrors that took place there, which I will not repeat for your imagination.

It was then that she was ready to pray her last prayer, announcing that she could no longer believe in God in a world with such pain, with so much devastation.

Next to which I wrote, Exactly!

But as I read on, I discovered that it was there, in that place of hopelessness and pain, that she finally heard from God:

"This is what happens when people walk away from me, Kathy. I have brought you to this place to show you something important. This is what happens when my compassion and love leave a place."

I put my pencil down and sat back.

I was Kathy.

"There is a force in the world that doesn't want us to live good stories. 
It doesn't want us to face our issues, to face our fear and bring something beautiful into the world. 
I guess what I am saying is, I believe God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it is that isn't God wants us to create meaningless stories, teaching the people around us that life just isn't worth living." Donald Miller

Suddenly I didn't feel alone anymore.

Someone else had traveled the path I have been on...someone who survived and came out stronger and more alive than ever...with a story to tell.

Like Kathy...and I believe so many others...I have had to travel to the edge of Unbelief in order to Believe.

I don't know why God thought this journey was necessary. I would rather have skipped it. Totally.

But God, in His mercy, drops us in to dark nights of our souls so that we can hunger for good...for stories of beauty and meaning...

Stories that shine as bright lights in the darkness.

Stories written out just for us.

Stories that cost us something. 

Because then they are valuable and ready to be shared, as a gift, with others.

As I do, with you, dear one.

I still don't have the answers to all the why's...and I don't think I ever will.

But ever so slowly, I can now begin again to trust the One who does.


I grew up on Keith Green in the early years of my faith. Today the Lord brought this song back to me:

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