Friday, April 07, 2006

How long must I wait for it?

An excellent discussion was started via email regarding a particular article on Christianity today. You can click here to read the article then pop over to my good friend Daniel's blog and jump in the conversation. I like the discussion we're having, and I really like the guys and girls who are participating. I trust them, and it's like listening to theologians who have something in mind other than winning an argument. It's as if they might actually be interested in truth. Novel concept.

The conversation has stirred up a big mess in my head. I mean, clearly my head is a perpetual mess so that probably isn't the best description, but I had this nagging unsettled feeling as I attempted to comment and participate. I wasn't sure why, so I've done today what I tend to do in these situations, I've been quiet and thoughtful and let this work itself in and through my thoughts. I think I know what is eating at me. I'm still waiting for some conversation/discussion/argument regarding theology and Christian living to catapult me into the type of intimate relationship with God that I envision. The nagging unsettled feeling is that if we "solve" (which is not the goal of those participating in that discussion) or reach some agreement on the thoughts presented in the article, I will still be in the same place when it is all said and done. What I want out of that discussion no discussion can give me. I've turned the discussion itself into an idol.

Kyle has a recent post that I really get about not hearing God. I love what I do in regards to worship and music. I encounter a living God in those times and I am humbled by all that He is. I see the gospel in movies, I hear it in music, I read it in my favorite stories. God is not absent from my life. I have an expectation, however, in regards to how I believe my relationship with God should look and feel, and how it should change my thoughts, reactions, and choices. My reality and my expectations absolutely do not match up. This could be a Romans 7 kind of thing where I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I should, but it doesn't seem like it, at least not exclusively.

Maybe it's that how God and I should relate is based on my expectation and desire, not on Gods design. Maybe I'm saying all the right things about wanting to relate to God but in reality I only want that on my terms, or "my expectations". What popped in my mind as I said that was the verse that says something like God wanting to do more than we could ever imagine or desire (a little help on the reference from you true theologians, if I'm not making it up). It could be that God in His mercy and grace will not meet with me on my terms because my terms are so far short of His intentions and desires for me, and He refuses to settle.

I'm joining Kyle in placing myself in a better place to hear and relate to God. I am going to begin practicing some disciplines, i.e. solitude, silence, fasting, etc. I don't do these things as a set of rules to follow, or as a checklist to complete, but in an earnest desire to hear and relate to God. As Kyle issued an invitation I would also enjoy sharing this with a few others.


SuperMom said...

Well, I went to read the article a couple of days ago, but I have to be honest. I always feel a little stupid trying to have deep theological disscussions because the language gets pretty deep. In other words, I need a dictionary to follow along. The article didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

However, I did understand your post. I've been wrestling with why I believe what I have believed my entire life. I mean, how do we know what the truth really is? And can we ever really know? And is my doubt hindering my relationship with God?

What if I don't want to meet him on his terms? I find myself being more rebellious in my heart than I ever realized. How the heck am I supposed to know what his terms are when I am questioning all I ever knew to be right?

I, too, have been trying to make time in my day to be still and seek him. Something's got to give.

thebarefootpoet said...

I totally understand the rebellious part. An interesting part of being a part of a fellowship who strips away the silly rules we used to use to define our Christianity is it leaves you with truths about yourself you didn't know (and now wish you didn't)and truths about God that you thought you knew but now become less defined at best and false more often. I find that now that I'm slowly learning to sense prompts from the Spirit as opposed to following rules, I just don't want to do what I sense He's prompting me to do. I like being god of my life.

Your questions are on the money, and I don't know that I can exactly answer them but to say I'm still struggling with them, but I do find that at some point my faith has to kick in believe what I don't yet see. I don't know what all the truth is, but Jesus did say "you will know the truth, and it will set you free". That is not my experience right now, but my faith says it will be and I should still seek. I don't know if your doubt hinders your relationship with God, I would think that pretending you don't doubt and not being honest with God about it would be a far greater hindrance. I wonder how I'm supposed to know His terms as well, but I do believe that He wants me to know them even worse than I want to, and so I try to have faith that if I'm genuine and honest He will reveal, and, I just struggle and grope, but now it's honest and done with other people. Thanks for your post.