If you are like me, and have grown up hard in that church game, something happens to you. Something happens when you’ve grown up hearing bible stories. When you’ve grown up going to church every Sunday. When you’ve grown up singing Jesus Songs and reading Jesus Books and going to Jesus Camps. The stories lose their wonder. The books lose their depth. The Camps lose their meaning. It becomes routine, and it becomes religion. And it breeds questions. Questions that you fear asking, because “God knows,” and “operates in mysterious ways”. Because you’re busy having it figured out.
You start to wonder how much of this truth you claim to have is really yours- how much of it you own. You start to wonder if yours is true salvation, or if it’s a loosely-fitting hand-me-down faith that you have on. You start to wonder why some of the worst people you know are Christians, and how some of the most love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-and-self-control embodying people do not know Jesus. You start to wonder why there are so many politics in the church, why praise team members can’t wear pants, why church mothers cringe when they hear that a seventeen year old has a boyfriend. You start to wonder why Jesus, in many, looks so unattractive.
You start to wonder. And wander.
You start to wonder, and on some days your wonderings are bottled up and kept simmering- bothering you as you sit in church, struggling to listen to the sermon. Other times, you loosen the cap and they float out aimlessly, levitating in the expanse of confusion and fear.
You wander, and your wanderings take you places where there is comfort. Where you are okay with just being. Where maybe it’s okay not to pray for a little while. Where maybe you feel a lot imperfect, and not so on top of your game as you used to. You wander because frankly, the things inside of you right now have become a little messy, and it’s a mess God can’t live with, but you can deal with, so maybe it’s best to be apart.
There is a story Jesus told. A father and his son. A son who didn’t feel he wanted to be with the father any more. A son who upped and left, taking all his treasures, to live his life, free of his father’s rules, free of his father’s work, free, free, free. A son who later returned, broken, and in need of his father. A weary son at a distance. Broken, and coming home. His father saw him far at a distance and he ran to his son. Threw him a humongous party and everything. As if he had never left. As if he had never upped and left to live his life, free, free, free. As if there was no mess in his heart that was just a bit much for The Father. As if it wasn’t best that they were apart.
I’ve gone through my little droughts. My spells of questions. But one thing I have learnt is this, “What good are questions if they ask for no answers?”
I’ve seen this Jesus that multitudes claim in a very few, but in the few that I’ve seen, His light has shone so bright and lovingly that it leaves me convinced that yes, this is the path for me. And yes, I want to know him for me. That yes, my walk may look different than most. That yes, some rules may be broken. And yes, I, too, am accepted by the God that I worship. So hello brokenness. Hello surrender. Hello questions, walk in and have a seat, and have long back-and-forths with Jesus.
I haven’t blogged about Jesus in a while. My walk with Him has taken some very interesting turns. The bottom line, however, is that more than ever, I am cognizant of how held I am. I cannot come away from this truth that I believe in. I feel so held. As if no matter how far my heart or mind may wander, there in God’s arms, I remain, held, held, held. As if God has me tightly clenched in His fist. To be quite frank, considering the weird aliveness I feel when I am in God, its the perfect place to be stuck.
This is one of my all-time favourite songs;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.