Friday, July 29, 2011

Myopic Faith

I'm trying to determine how much to tell, how much to expose. I don't want to give too much.

In my childhood, my life had periods of uncertainty. It also had periods of deep chaos and pain. I never gave much thought to my future. It wasn't a conscious choice; I just didn't. God seemed close to me then. Even though my idea of who he was lacked truth and substance. I thought of him as someone who loved me but who was disappointed and annoyed with me most of the time. I carried a burden with me always.

God showed me his glory in the form of the gospel when I was in my early twenties. I vividly remember the freedom that came when I was told that God is not disappointed with me. He doesn't cry a sad tear when I am selfish. He doesn't roll his eyes at me when I sin or act foolish. He, because of Christ's atoning work on the cross, is enamored with me. He delights in me. My spiritual shoulders sagged with relief when that burden was lifted.

It was then that I began to have hope. I began to think of the future; make plans. I wanted to tell others this grace, this relief. I began to see the burden in the lives around me and looked for every opportunity to tell them. I wanted to serve God.

And serve him, I did. He called me to teach women's classes; something I had NO interest in doing. No way. He called me to help in women's ministy. It was wonderful. He then called me to be the head of women's minstry. That too was a delight. I had a clear vision and a mission/purpose statement written out to keep me from trying to take over. That is my inclination after all. Then God called Chris to seminary and us to church planting. I was amazed that God could use either one of us. It seemed blissfully amazing.

Somewhere along the way, as the British say, it all went pear shaped. The wheels of my faith began to wobble. Without even realizing I was doing it, I compensated for the wobble with hard work and a good attitude. But little did I know that something was wrong. I couldn't feel it yet; wasn't aware of the impending consequences.

Just as the human body can take abuse for so long, so can the spiritual man. It can run on memories and past experiences for a while. But as I tried harder, my joy was quietly seeping out of me a slow enough rate that I didn't notice it until it was completely depleted. And I was depressed.

My plans do not work. No matter how good they are, how easy they are, how well thought out. If God is not in them, if he is not blessing them, they will fail. And fail they do.

I've come to realize that my hope has been in the future God planned, not in God Himself. So he took away that hope. Smashed it to pieces. Now, when I think of the future, I see nothing but cloudy, murky nothingness. It exhausts me to contemplate it.

My faith is now myopic. I can see God and nothing else. He is nose-to-nose with me; His breath on my face. If I try to look around him, despair overtakes me and I feel fear. But as long as I am looking at Him, contemplating Him, breathing Him in, then I am okay.

There's a Mo Leverett song that I love. I think it's the modern day equivalent of It Is Well With My Soul. It's title is It's Alright. When everything falls apart, when my hope in me is shaken, when I feel like a failure... it's alright. "If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is with us, then we are not alone."

It's Alright. Myopic Faith ain't all that bad...