Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I Know

As Christians, our beliefs assume a few truths. There's the obvious - there is only one God and Jesus is His son - which is the foundation upon which our belief is built. Every other truth espoused by Christians is open to interpretation, denomination, and/or political agenda. Even the latter part of the obvious truth mentioned is arguable; was he God's son or God Himself?

I'm no theologian, nor do I claim to understand the truth about God. I got an A in my only religion class during high school but that hardly qualifies me to speak about truth, or God for that matter. All I can speak for is what's true for me, based on what I've experienced, and what I have learned from my walk with, or in some cases, without God. The bible backs me up on these truths, but I didn't come to them by reading the bible. I'm hardheaded. I had to learn by making mistakes - a lot of'em, many made more than once (I'm talking double digits here.) However acquired, these are the top three truths I've come to know.

1. God is with us every moment of every day. Whether I'm with Him is open to debate, but to avoid the argument I'll admit that I'm not with Him as often as I am. That 50/50 chance depends on my thoughts. Am I worrying about something? Not with God. Am I thanking Him for something? With God. And so it goes throughout the day, me trying to manage the thoughts that run through my brain like unsupervised sugar-loaded preschoolers. Out of control thinking is my greatest personal enemy - for their weight drops anchor into my heart, the place from which all actions speak. This is why Philippians 4:8 is my favorite verse:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Every moment of every day God is with me - every thought, word and deed are under constant surveillance. No pressure! Thank God for truth number two.

2. God loves us. Yes, even the pedophile, murderer, terrorist, junkie. He loves us in a way we couldn't possibly comprehend. I know I can't imagine the fullness of His love, but I pray that I increase and abound in it. I've grappled with this truth most of my life, hearing it brings me to tears every time. God loves me? Why? I've learned, however, the more important question to answer is this: Why am I not confident in His love for me? Insecurity? Low self-esteem? Whatever the reason, I doubt this truth. My doubt doesn't make it any less true, simply harder to accept. I'm working on that. John 3:16 is suppose to help. He loved the world so much he gave his only son. But that just compounds my awe. I'm a mother of two and I just can't wrap my mind around the idea of giving them up for anyone on this earth. Would I give them up for God? If God loves me, would He ask me to? This gets to the heart of the truth. If God loves us, why does he allow us to suffer so much pain? In my exerience, which ain't much, every time I got hurt I went running to God. From my own nature, I can only assume that pain is permitted as a means to bring us closer to God. Harsh, but it makes sense. He loves us, why wouldn't he want us close to Him? And if we have a tendency to be stubborn, selfish, non-believing children who must touch the burner to learn it's hot (uh, that would be me) then he'll turn it on high and walk away, leaving us with plenty of space to get burned. Whatever it takes for us to learn - I love you. You need me. Stay close so I can help you. Got it, God. Thanks for the lesson (um, can we turn the stove off now?)

3. God has a purpose for everything. And everyone for that matter. This is what holds my faith together, it's what gets me up every morning. Maybe today, I think, the Lord will reveal the purpose for this, that, or the other thing, person, situation, event. I long for that "Ah-hah" moment. That "Oh, now I get it" awakening. Because of this, my second favorite verse is Romans 8:28.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
I'm the annoying three-year-old who wants to know the "why" of everything. This verse gives me hope that one day, preferably before I die, I'll see that good. But if not, I've come to settle for just knowing there is a purpose. God knows what it is, which is good enough for me. This is not to say I prefer the bliss of ignorance. I thank God I'm still learning, but have embraced another truth: I will never know everything. Nor do I want to, for who wants to know everything there is to know about God? A God that is so knowable wouldn't seem like much of a God. Mystery is what makes Him, well, God. As the on-going journey is to the arrived destination, it is in the seeking - not the finding - that we come to know God. So if there's a truth I'm missing here, I don't mind. I do know that if God wants me to know it, there's nothing to keep me from knowing - He is, after all, God. What He wants, He gets.

Now, the next truth I'm considering is what God wants. I have a pretty good idea - me, to love Him, and to love everybody else as He loves me - but that's just too simple. I need to travel to a few more foreign countries, climb a mountaintop or two before I'm convicted of that truth. Who am I kidding? I know it's true; the hard part is not the knowing, it's the doing!

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