RSS

Monthly Archives: January 2015

On faith and doubt

Believe.Believe

What an interesting word.

I say I believe—that God is real, that He’s not just “up there and interested” but actually Here and Now. I really do believe God is real. And loving. And powerful. And purposeful. Not just in the whole big world but in my life, too.

I do believe these things, because they’re in the Bible and I believe the Bible is true. And I’ve experienced God’s nearness and faithfulness in so many ways, again and again.

And when I teach the Bible, I believe deeply and passionately what I’m saying is fully true and right and good.

But I also wonder sometimes. I do. I wonder how it’s all going to work out- in the world, yes, but also in my life. I wonder if God is up to really good things in my life or just hard things that will lead to good eventually, someday.

I believe God can and does heal people- I’ve seen supernatural healings and I’ve seen “natural” healings that God also provided. But I’ve also seen lots of people not get healed, in this life anyway, even some who believed they would, even some that were sure God had told them they would.

I wonder about my own belief. I see some people who possess a seemingly unshakeable confidence, who don’t seem to wonder or wrestle with doubts or uncertainties. I’m not one of those people.
I see others whose doubts escalate to the point of crisis and despair. Whose doubts end up crowding out faith and eventually they just check out on God. Sometimes they walk away from church and God. Sometimes they keep going to church but really don’t believe it anymore. I’m not one of those people either.

I guess I’m like a lot of people who identify with the desperate father in Mark 9 who says to Jesus, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” I get it. I believe, but I struggle. I want to believe more, though. I want to act in a way that demonstrates belief and trust, regardless of my emotions, which rise and fall so easily.

And the truth is, I want my faith to grow. I want to be like one of those many people in the gospels who believed Jesus could and would do what they needed most. I want to be the kind of person who believes Jesus more, who believes Jesus for more.

Who believes not only that Jesus is good, but that He’s good to me, always.

Who believes not only that Jesus is real and the Bible is true, but that He’s real to me, in every situation, right here and now. Especially now.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Make a Better Resolution this Year

I love the Bible. Not a shocker, I suppose, coming from a pastor. But there is nothing like the Scripture. No other book that even makes the claims that this one does: “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)bible1

The Bible teaches us, corrects us, encourages, rebukes, directs, guides, and helps us. We find both examples to live by (Jesus) as well as cautionary tales in abundance (Samson, Solomon, and Saul, for starters). Stunning narratives. Gorgeous poetry. Timely wisdom. World-altering biography.

And yet, for all of this, we struggle to read this book. Yes, we’re a post-literate culture. And the Bible is an ancient text written to people long ago and far away.   But come on. Multiple, reader-friendly translations abound. You can listen to audio in your car and on your phone, tablet, or computer. Tools and reading plans abound- even devotionals written by your favorite pastor or personality. It’s all there.

So what’s missing? For some, it’s having a purposeful plan and others to encourage them to stick with it. For others, making the effort to learn how to understand and apply what they’ve read is a missing key. But mostly, I think it’s about what we believe will happen when we open God’s Word. Reading nice thoughts and interesting stories isn’t enough, even from this sacred text. No, I believe we need to revise our expectations- to believe that we will actually encounter the Living God in His Word. That as we soak in these words (yep, I’m talking about biblical meditation), something powerful occurs. The Spirit and our spirits meet. Our soul enlarges. Our lives change.

Yes, it’s that time again- a new year. Why not make this year different? Choose to do more than just make a better effort to get into the Bible. Instead, let the Bible get into you.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized