Friday, September 21, 2012

Crisis of Faith

Shame on any of us who would dare to speak as though we have God all figured out, or act as though we can anticipate Him. I know I myself have had times where I have walked in this kind of confidence. I think it's large groups of people walking around in exactly this kind of confidence that might be dividing the church.

The Bible says that God's ways are not our ways, and His knowledge is so high that we can never attain it.  And yet how many of us dare to speak for Him?  As if somehow we know exactly what He is thinking, or exactly how He will respond to us, or worse, to someone else.

I come from a somewhat charismatic background, though the "Holy Spirit driven" atmosphere that I started my walk of faith in greatly waned over the years.  God has moved us somewhere now where I see much less of the "charismatic" than what I grew in, and yet, where we are now is solidly and completely scripturally sound. Or at least, I think it is... And yet I know many who are much farther down the "charismatic scale, and they are in (seemingly) good strong churches where God seems to be moving as well. 

Someone grabbed hold of my husband's arm last night and "read" him according to his personal Holy Spirit meter, "You're pretty light," he said, as if he carried some sort of spiritual authority.  The bible says out words are to "build up" and my thought was that his comment was completely contrary to that, so is that the marker of "not of God" that I saw?  He told us story after story before that about a "deliverance ministry" of sorts, casting demons off people. I know that is possible-- Jesus did it, and before He ascended He told the disciples they would do "greater works" than He with the help of the Holy Spirit. So is it possible for those things to happen?  Yes. But through out our whole conversation the word that I heard most out of his mouth, was "I"... I, I, I....

Finally I said, "you know it's not you, right?"  He said, "The Bible says I will have power."  I said, "The Bible says apart from Christ you can do NOTHING."  People thinking that God using them makes them special, it's dangerous ground.  If they begin to believe the power is their own? To prophesy, to heal, even to minister... I don't want that from any MAN (or woman) I want it only from the Lord.  And yes God uses broken (sinful, prideful, WRONG) vessels, but there has to be room for Him to pour through, and that's not possible when someone is full of SELF.

I have times in my life where I know God has spoken to me-- promises made, directions given, encouragement bestowed-- and I think of the scripture that says "Wisdom is justified by her children."  A secular equivalent might be "The proof is in the pudding."  I can tell you that God promised me a daughter long before she came, but if she never came, then he didn't promise. But if I can point to her and show you she's here, can I claim I truly heard Him, or would you call it a coincidence.

"The Church."  Jesus wasn't referring to a small group of people who met in a single building, but that's how we have redefined it. "My church..." and we are speaking of the small congregation of people coming together under one roof.  But Jesus was talking about all who followed Him.  Even pastors can become guilty of felling competitive instead of camaraderie.  They won't partner or interact with another body outside their denomination or even outside their walls for fear of losing some tithing congregant to another "church."  (They're not all like that, but some are.)

There is such a wide berth of belief and practice-- The extreme charismatic of a proclaimed "flow" all the way to the driest most ritualistic of beliefs.  The gift of tongues- some believe, some do not.  They either exist or they don't. Prophesy? Some walk around spouting it at will, can they actually do that? (Since it has to be of God to be real, and not of themselves) to those who believe the "time of prophecy" was only in the early days of the church. But why would God do that?  Would He do that?

I am asking.  I am asking for wisdom.  The Bible says if I lack wisdom I should ask of God because He GIVES it liberally and without finding fault.  What does that look like?  How do I know it's him.  Oh yes, wisdom is justified by her children.  But how do I know when I am listening?  Does He speak?  The Bible says He is the Good Shepherd and His sheep know his voice.  He must have a voice.

This I know: Christ and Him crucified. My "crisis" of faith is not in my salvation.  I have absolutely no doubt who Jesus was, or what He did, and what it means for me.  But I feel like, in this moment, it's the only thing I am absolutely positive and certain of.  That and the times in the past that He has given me wisdom and direction, and it has already proven true.  Though some might call it coincidence.

That basis of faith is so simple, but nothing else about following Christ is uncomplicated. If I am this overwhelmed and caught in the cross hairs of the diversified practices and beliefs of "churches" then how much more confusing must it be for the unbeliever?

I feel like my foundation is being shaken.  I feel like I really don't know anything.  And the many or any who might want to come along and "tell me" what they know to try to bring me the clarity they feel so confident they have, and are so certain they can offer me... I want to say, "Show me where the Word of God says that." I have had seasons where I felt like I knew where God wanted me, or I at least I knew I was on the right track.  Right now I have no sense of that at all.

Am I at the right church?  I feel like if I told them some of my story they would think me crazy, dangerous even.  But when I think of them I think of their love.  The Bible says that His people will be known by their love.  That's good.  But is that God reminding me of that scripture?  Is He "speaking" to me?   I don't have a sense of belonging there, and yet, it is a good place to be.

I look at my life and I feel like poor decisions up to this point have stuck me in a very precarious position, and I can look back and see things I wish I would have done differently.  But if I had taken some other path, the good things in my life would be different too, right?  So can it have been a mistake?  I don't know.  I DON'T KNOW!!!

Love and worship... love and worship... it's the last thing I THINK I felt confident I heard from the Lord.  It comes back to that.  But did I hear Him? Can I?  I don't know, because right now, He seems quiet. But did He ever speak.  The proof has been in the pudding at times, but in one "church" may would see it, and others might question my sanity... I feel a little crazy, I might side with those.

Christ and Him crucified.  It's like looking into a huge mosaic of broken pieces of misguided, well-intended, confused and confident people, beliefs and practices, and all I can make out of the picture is a cross in the middle.  The Cross of Christ, it is the only anchor to which I feel I can hold to with confidence.

Lord speak, Your servant is listening desperately. But will You?  Do You?  I do not know.  And yet you have... or was it coincidence?

For I determined to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

No comments: