Life is a little bit like the stairs up to my apartment.
I walk up two stairs and come to a big window, where I can see half the sun over the roof of the building next doors. Then I walk up a couple more stairs, and by the next window, the sun is shining golden in my face. I feel it in my back as I continue walking. But it’s darker on the next platform, always a little bit darker on the platforms by the doors until I turn around again and take the stairs up to the next window. And finally by my door, I open it and walk through the corridor. And suddenly I’m in the living room. And suddenly I can sit still for a bit in the sunshine.
That’s what it’s like to deal with things. They get better, but then it gets a bit darker again. We see more light, but then we keep going upwards and it feels like we’re moving away from the sun. But we’re just moving higher, and as time goes on we’ll end up in a place where we can see it better than ever before.
(But even then, being healed does not mean always seeing the sun. It just means dwelling in that high place and knowing that we all have our own ways of moving through light and darkness.)
Faith is sassy. It wears a smile. It’s similar to confidence, except that it’s not confidence in your own characteristics and abilities, but in Gods. It’s similar but with another source. A better source, an unending one. And faith does not contain fear, it’s not passivity in fear of disappointing God, it leads to activity together with Him and for Him, in confidence in who He is and confidence in who He has created us to be in His kingdom. It’s walking and acting and creating, it’s choices and future and an ability to dig into whatever we’re feeling today, because we have an unquenchable hope for the future.
To do lists and planning are also times to:
1. sit down and
2. give things to God and
3. honour Him by awareness.
I read somewhere recently:
“Christ didn’t die for your dreams, he died for your sins.”
And it’s so true. Let’s precede this with saying that of course God has a calling for your life, and of course he has amazing things he wants to lead you into, and dreams he has put into your heart. But he did not die for you to finally be able to get on that airplane and live that lifestyle you’ve always wanted to. He did not die for you to finally have that new job opportunity, savings account or success. Christ died for your sins. He died for you to be a new creation, pure and blameless, whether you’re in a minimum wage job or have an office with a skyline view. The main thing he died to bring you into is himself. Away from damnation and into eternity. That’s what we have waiting for us, that’s the life we have, changed and free, at a fancy restaurant patio or out on the streets.
And here’s the thing, I stood close to it, leaning on the window pane. But I wanted to sit down. If I turned around there was the square of light, reflected on the sloped ceiling next to our kitchen table. And so I straightened up, and the sun was not on me anymore, and it was dark. But then I went and sat down on a kitchen chair and there it was again, bright and golden, filling up my whole field of vision even when I closed my eyes. And it was so stupid, I thought, to think that the sun would be less bright here. Maybe the sun is so bright in itself that it will still be quite bright, even if you move ten meters further away. And I think I do that all the time with God, feel like I’m moving further away, but truth is that I just need to sit down in the light and it won’t matter that much whether I’m ten meters further away or closer. Maybe I just need to stop worrying about the darkness and come to the light in the first place.
Maybe I don’t have to believe that God will give me material things just because I wish for material things, but maybe I do have to believe that he will give me spiritual things, joy, peace and understanding, when I seek his face.
Sometimes we make God into what we are. But sometimes, possibly more unaware, we make God into what we’re not. He’s my flaws, areas I lack in, often: logic and reason. I see myself as the romantic one in this relationship. The emotional one. I turn to him with thoughts and ideas, problems and decision. Rarely heart. Rarely in my moods and to hang out a second. Idea: if you have something you need to pray about, pray about it. But if the time you’ll take for that is in a few days, there’s nothing stopping you from hanging out with God now. Just to chill. Just to be with him.
Prayer is not an argument against God, but a battle by His side.
Our minds need to shift. To conquer anxiety and defeat depression: we need to add faith to our hope. (Some of us are good at hope, because we have had no other choice.) It means in every defeat you’ll stand back up again.
But faith means living in the victory – when you’ve decided what you believe; about God, about yourself, about situations – it’s the active choice to stick with that in any given moment. So much will depend on what you dare to believe.
(From a weekend away with my church. We do this every autumn, go somewhere and fill the days with get-to-know-each-other-games and bible studies. When I was a kid it was the biggest event of the year, sharing a room with friends and staying up til midnight. It’s different now, not bad though. This year I had deep conversations with the adults. I’m in between categories.)
Anyway, thought of the week:
Maybe your weakness is revealed not so you can finally get out of it, but so that you can be in it. Stay in the place of desperation. Find yourself in humility.