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A Flicker of Doubt or a Bonfire of Faith?

I had a little epiphany moment and I wanted to share it today.  It is about faith and service. 

 

First, I want to testify that God is really smart, super smart, like smarter than a Gazillion Einstein’s put together.  He has deep, mesh reasons for why He commands us to do as He commands us to do.  Mesh is a term which loosely means that one action can have multiple impacts and outcomes.  We humans are very limited in our ability to live in the mesh that God so deeply operates within.  When God moves, His one action can serve hundreds of thousands of millions of purposes that impact, in one act, hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of lives.

I’ve known this about God and it is a source of ‘proof’ in His Word’s truth.

Today, I encountered God’s mesh face to face.  It came in the form of a flicker of doubt born from an intellectual ‘discovery’ dealing with historical ‘accuracies’ in the Word of God.  Before I get to this, I want to set this up with some truths from scriptures that I would find myself living out in my ‘flicker of doubt’.

The first truth is this- To know God, you must live in God-

John 15:4-6  Be in me at all times as I am in you. As the branch is not able to give fruit of itself, if it is not still on the vine, so you are not able to do so if you are not in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches: he who is in me at all times as I am in him, gives much fruit, because without me you are able to do nothing.  If a man does not keep himself in me, he becomes dead and is cut off like a dry branch; such branches are taken up and put in the fire and burned.

The second truth is this- To love God, you must be like children, not wise men who seek truth through intellectual gain-

Matthew 11:25  ¶At that time Jesus made answer and said, I give praise to you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have kept these things secret from the wise and the men of learning, and have made them clear to little children.

The third truth is this- The kingdom of God is our service to His way, to His truth

Matthew 4:8-10  Again, the Evil One took him up to a very high mountain, and let him see all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them;  And he said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will go down on your face and give me worship.  Then said Jesus to him, Away, Satan: for it is in the Writings, Give worship to the Lord your God and be his servant only.

I would see the mesh of the Lord today in my flicker of doubt.

I came upon an historical ‘revelation’ that revealed to me an inaccuracy in the gospels themselves (don’t get too upset with me just yet, God’s truth emerges- trust me).  I don’t want to go over exactly what that historical inaccuracy way, because I don’t want this to become a debate about the inaccuracy, which, you will see, will become completely irrelevant.

What kept me from Christ through my twenties and early thirties was my lack of seeing Christ through wisdom, through intellect.  He was not in the pages of Satre or one of my personal philosophical heroes, Kant (see “Critique of Pure Reason”).  I was one of those ‘wise men’ who, because I sought God in intellectual discovery, could not find him at all.

This is not an argument against the intellect, only against the intellect as being the path to knowing Christ.

As I made my historical discovery, I experienced something of my old self, the wise man immersed in the existential dross of my intellectual church, doubting God because some historical ‘fact’ was not lining up with scripture.  I could have easily, at this point, turned from God and dismissed Him because I found some part of scripture that was false.  If one part is false, then whose to say, what as truth, to paraphrase Pontius Pilate- “what is truth”.

But something was different this time.  I was NOT my old self.  I am being made new in Christ, and in that renewal, I know Christ in ways no intellectual discovery could ever describe- love.

I thought, immediately, of my relationship with Christ, my many encounters with the Holy Spirit, my witnessing of the power of God in my life, the power of God in the lives of the people around me, sometimes through my own service to God (the privilege of being His vessel when He needs no vessel but allows us the intimacy with Him to see His work emerge through our fallible, broken selves).  That doubt, which, if I only knew Christ intellectually, would have grown to something awful, possibly taking me away from my faith.

But it didn’t- it never stood a chance against the avalanche of Christ’s love in me.  I, by God’s mercy and grace, did not move as the Israelites did, to build a golden calf the minute Moses turned his back and wandered back into their own mind’s creations.

I prayed to God to forgive me for ever doubting Him, given what He has done for me, and I put my faith in Him, telling Him, in prayer, in conversation- I know you and I know your love.  I know what seems like red is really white, what seems like left is really right- I have faith that, in heaven, I will see, I will understand what I cannot see or understand today.

And I went forward, in faith, secure in God’s love.

I kept pursuing this historical inaccuracy, not for my peace of mind, but to see if there was some defense of this inaccuracy, for I knew the Atheists and other non-believers would use this inaccuracy to try to lead others from Christ.  If there was a defense, I wanted to know it.  If there wasn’t, I would be prepared to offer the testimony I have already given you above.

As it so happens, there turned out to be a defense of this ‘inaccuracy’, a defense that only emerged recently.  I thought about the men and women of faith who must have walked through the challenges by the intelligencia who, again and again, think they have canceled God with ‘fact’ only to have that fact overturned by newly discovered evidence that, again and again, backs up the truth of the Lord.

I was so happy to not have discovered the historical ‘inaccuracy’ was not, in the end, an inaccuracy at all before I turned decisively back to the Lord, in faith.  I know that had I not discovered the ‘defense’ of this ‘inaccuracy’, my faith would be secure, for I know Christ in my love from Him, my love for Him, and in the Christ-centered love I have built with people around me.

This takes me back to the beginning of this entry, the mesh of the Lord.  Why does God call us to love him, to love others, to serve and submit to Him?  He knows how our minds work.  We constantly seek to make our selves and our own worlds.  If we are not making His world, we can only see this world.  If we only see this world, we cannot see His truth. 

Children know their parents as truth by how their parents love them and how they love their parents.

I want to end in the truths-

The first truth is this- To know God, you must live in God- If I was not living God, if I was showing up for church on Sunday morning but not living out God on Monday night, I would not be girded in my faith against the ‘truth’ of this world that seeks to undo His name.

The second truth is this- To love God, you must be like children, not wise men who seek truth through intellectual gain- Children believe what people tell them at face value.  We shouldn’t be that way with people all the time, but we should be this way with God- if He says it, and if you live it out, you will experience His truth in the witness of your life.

The third truth is this- The kingdom of God is our service to His way, to His truth- Build up your faith in living Christ.  There is no other way.  When James tells us to be in joy for hardships, he understands, through the Holy Spirit, that we see God most when we carry through with His truth, His teachings, even when they defy human logic, human suffering.  And when we do, we see His truth in the peace and rest we are afforded in His love, even when wars are exploding around us.

I thank God today for the pain and suffering I have experienced and lived through in His love, for this is where I have most seen God.  No one, no archeologist, not even the great Wikipedia, can challenge this love that brings me out of the darkness and into the light.

The flicker of doubt becomes a bonfire of Faith

 

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