Sunday, October 24, 2010

What are you "believing God For?"

      In the course of pursuing God it is not uncommon to go through periods of reflection on the nature of the relationship we have and where it is leading. The Bible is full of accounts of individuals and cultures struggling to understand the methods and motivations of God. In trying circumstances some people feel separated from Him,while others feel His presence is strongest when life is hard. Sometimes it is in the midst of calm and serene conditions that the heart grows uneasy and begins to query, "What am I believing God for right now?" If you are subject to thoughts and feelings around this subject, you may know what I am trying to convey: a sense of unease that something is being missed or that you are not quite 'getting it'. It doesn't qualify as anxiety or fear and it is certainly not despair but is more fairly described as an annoying wonderment at what exactly do I expect of and from the maker of all things.
     If we are honest, we realize that we cannot grasp the depth and breadth of God and how he operates in His creation. We simply are not equipped to comprehend His magnificence or His complexity; at best we have an infant's perspective. Spurgeon says it well "we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less put sentences together." We are attempting to ascertain the infinite with a mind and heart that are woefully insufficient. That doesn't stop us from trying. I believe it speaks more about the heart of God than our hearts, He has written that longing into us, that desire to know and comprehend who He is. It is that missing piece of us that was lost in the beginning that we hunger for: the relationship that defines and completes us.It is unquenchable and we see a world full of lost people who are desperately trying to plug that hole with every conceivable distraction, destruction, dereliction imaginable.
     I have been quietly probing this question for some months now coming from a stormy volatile landscape into a fall season of peace and reflection. It has been like a kernel in the teeth, something you cannot dislodge but something you continue to run your tongue over hoping it has gone away or worked itself loose so you can be rid of it. It has been a casual cycle of asking the question and then wondering about the question, what does it mean that I have the question, what if there is no answer to the question? I have even gotten rather fond of the question because it is consistent and reliable in a day and age when that is generally not true of much of what we experience.  It is really not a question of what do I know about God because His Word explicitly details His character and His consistent behaviors in His relationship with men. It is more a question of what do I understand God to be about in the day to day of life that I am experiencing? What follows is a list of attempts to rephrase the question to better dislodge the kernel

"What part of me is more like Christ now than it was before I surrendered, and is it me changing or has He changed me?"
" Do I believe I am making progress in this journey, or does that really even matter because I am not part of the process?"
"Will I always feel like I should or could be better in following Christ's example, or will I always feel like I am struggling with a standard that is beyond me?"

These are different ways of trying to address the feelings of inadequacy we have when it comes to understanding the mysterious God who has called us to Him. We cannot rest easy in the knowledge we have of grace and mercy because it is foreign to us. We know instinctively that we are not worthy of the sacrifice God endured for us and wince at the thought of accepting Him at His Word and being done with guilt and angst and despair. Our enemy works tirelessly to convince us that we are not worthy of God's love and are undeserving of mercy and grace; he desperately wants us to question God's motivation and methods in remaking us into the image of His Son. That is the real source of the question...."did God really say?"