I've heard a lot of different views lately, different perspectives, different theories, different quotes. And it makes me wonder, do any of us REALLY understand God?? Life?? Jesus?? the purpose of it all?? I am an observer, a listener, when it comes to theories and debates and intellectual arguments. I rarely partake in those discussions because I'm pretty sure I'll get trapped by someone else's "superior" logic. However, what I hear is that each individual thinks he/she is right. Each individual "has it all figured out." Whether it has to do with God specifically, politics (there seems to be less and less separation these days between God, religion, and politics.....I'm not sure that that's what God intendend, but it is what it is), the meaning of life, interpreting various theories of thought. To be honest, sometimes it all sounds right to me and sometimes it all sounds wrong.
Tonight I lay in bed truly humbled. I honestly DO NOT have it all figured out. I can read my bible for 20 minutes and feel so close to God as though I'm gaining such understanding and then burst into tears 1/2 hour later because something didn't go my way. Is THAT what God intended? I don't know the answers. I truly don't.
Who is right?? How does it work??
Is God really pleased with my life?? What does the word "blessed" truly mean??
If God is "blessing" me does that mean prosperity?? Does "blessed" mean the absence of pain?? Or could it mean that heartache and physical pain still exists yet there will be a stabilizing force filling me with peace in the deepest part of my being during the times that I GO THROUGH the pain??
And what about "God"?? Who is God?? Do all the religions point to the same God, we just have different names?? Or is there a true distinction? Is there really only One God?? What does that mean for everyone's theories?? Do you have to be a super-academic intellectual to grasp it?? To understand?? Where does that leave those who weren't born with the gift of intelligence?? Do they not matter as much to God because He didn't create them with enough mental capacity to "get it"?? I really see flaws in all of those thoughts that are floating around our country, our world. Or are we our own Gods?? Is truth within every man, you just have to find it in yourself, create it, hold on to it, trust yourself and no one else?? But how does that work?? How is Truth still True if everyone is deciding what is True for themselves?? Aren't we all coming up with different theories.....how is ALL of it True?? Don't some of us have to be wrong?? And how does any of it bring comfort to a mother who found out her child is dying, or has a disability, or may be taken away from her at any moment?? Does it really matter what you've decided as your own God if you have no power over pain and death??
So here I am, at night, awake, by myself. All of the theories may be right, all of them may be wrong, maybe parts of every theory are right and parts of every theory are wrong. I do not know. But what I DO believe.....what brings me comfort.....what brings me peace.....what allows me to sleep at night and push hard throughout each day.......
I see a man who came to earth and suffered. He worked with his bare hands. He worked for his food. He chose friends who were workers, some honest, some not. He chose friends who would not bring him a higher status....but probably would lessen his status. He looked into a woman's eyes who everyone else wanted dead because she slept with a married man.....and he protected her from their scorn, from their judgement.....he didn't defend her actions, he defended her as a person. He supplied food for people who didn't have any. He allowed himself to be swarmed by people asking him day after day to help them, to love them, to heal them, to tell them the answers to all of life's hard questions. He allowed himself to go hungry, to go without sleep, to go without a home so that others may have food, rest, and a home. And then he allowed men to spit on him, yell at him, degrade him, mock him, hit him, take his clothes, hammer nails into his flesh, and hang him naked before anyone who chose to watch until he breathed his last breath.....never defending himself, but asking "God" to forgive them.
To me, the life that this man lived took so much more strength and self control and purpose than I can imagine. So much more than I am capable of doing myself. And so when I read about this man, Jesus, I find peace. If He lived like that, then I think I can trust the words that He spoke, the encouragement He gave, the hope He inspired, the actions that He took. And if I trust Him, then I choose Him. I choose Jesus. I choose life. I choose to believe when it doesn't make sense. I choose to love when I feel like hitting. I choose to hold my tongue when everyone else is gossiping and laughing. I choose to give the belongings that I have to those who need it more than me. And I choose to open myself to be changed by such a man, such a God, as this.
May I truly stand out as He did, standing for love, for encouragement, for support.....may I hold a person's hand who everyone else has abandoned. And may I forgive. May I forgive every day of my life those who directly hurt me, hurt those I love and those I don't, who cast judgement and cast fear. And may I remember that I am not God, I am not Jesus, I won't have it all figured out, even on my deathbed. But I can hope to learn how to love a person who is unloveable, to encourage a person who is discouraged, to bring hope where there is despair.....and maybe, just maybe, I can live this life with peace in my heart, love in my hands, and hope in my face as I look at the gifts and the hardships that lie before me.....the things I know, the things I don't.....Jesus I believe YOU. I believe YOU are who YOU say YOU are. I don't have the answers, but I have YOU to show me. And I believe that YOU will. And THAT brings me comfort and peace.