Several posts back I asked What Can I Do For You regarding questions you might have about my journey back to faith. I should not have been surprised at how insightful those questions were. I have answered one and thought I’d take on another.
The following questions come from and are posted with permission of my friend, Sam Seamans in Mountain Home, AR…
I would like to know what the things were that you were sure about prior to 10/11 that are now not so clear. What is it that you now have real doubts about, especially in regards to assurance, including salvation, and many other “standards” that used to be clear that have now faded to gray. How are you dealing with them? How has it changed how you relate to others concerning your Christian faith? Also, do you sometimes wonder what life would look like if you couldn’t “persevere” and lost your way. Do you still fear that? Has your idea of God gotten a little more generous or “wider” perhaps? Have you ever looked up and said, “Are you there?” Tough and deep questions I know, but you asked….;-)
I am not sure where to begin, Sam. It feels like you are trying to get me to write a book. Send $100 to my I-need-some-money fund and we will be good to go… (You know us ex-preachers, if we can take money from the brethren, we can take money from anyone!) Smile! I am just kidding!
On to the questions…
In some regards, my former theology is all messed up.
We may differ on things both of us can prove with scripture. We can look at the same passage and have widely divergent views regarding the context and meaning.
In the past, I loved nothing more than a great cup of coffee and a good scholarly discussion. But some of the things I used to think important have paled in comparison to the “weightier matters.” And it scares me because I am sure it will cause others to relate to me differently and I to them. Just this week, a friend relayed how sad some local folks are because in their words, I have “lost my way.”
There is some arrogance in that thought, but no more than the arrogance I used to wield like a sword. I can remember talking to some who had been Christians most of their lives. As life drew to an end, they wondered and worried about their salvation. Often it was more about what they did or didn’t do and less about a radical trust in God.
In my arrogance, I can clearly remember thinking how sad it was to live as a Christian and have no hope at the end.
God help me, but I can now relate. My life is so different especially where faith has shifted, warped,and changed. I don’t have the time or inclination for debates, discussions, and judgments. You can judge me now for being in a different place if you like, but I suspect you wouldn’t want to join me on the wrestling mat with God.
Here’s my truth. Assurance of salvation? I am often terrified that there isn’t enough grace in the universe to help my gimpy legs of faith limp across the finish line. But at the same time, I have hope for a God big enough to take me home–in spite of my failures, my changed thinking, and inability to see things as I once saw them.
Here’s an even bigger truth. While I wouldn’t wish my tragedy and heartache on any one, I do wish those whose lives have been far more idyllic could be more patient, compassionate, and understanding with those whose faith may very well involve a life-long struggle.
In the back and forth of questioning and strife, faith is refined and limps are accepted.
I haven’t lost my way, it’s just really hard to run…
How is your limp?