Monday, August 1, 2011

Questioning God's Reality

For at least a year, I've wanted to write interesting, wacky funny, informative things on my blog.  You can tell by the titles I had fun with my posts. There's just so much to talk about--with 42 years behind me and most of it spent as a freedom-hungry, happy-go-lucky, single-mother-by-choice, let's-have-fun-no-matter-what person. 

I thought motherhood or age or luck can change a person. Somewhat. My boys are all I have and they have changed me in so many ways. Age? Oh, well, booze doesn't work for me anymore these days. A decade ago, I could drink a big bottle of gin plus gin and tonic--believe me, I don't get drunk. I just eat and can drink so much more. I have lost that kind of tolerance. Good riddance. Luck? Money brings comfort and a false sense of security but even before I have truly enjoyed it, it's sets one up to need more.

For years, I've been struggling with my inner agnostic. You know, the kind that speaks to me in the middle of the night and says "This is all there is to it. Deal with it" or one who prays just in case someone listens. 

Re-discovering what I know already
I'm not sure if it all started with Alpha Course, but I can say it was an excellent starting point. A review class or a refresher course of stuff I have known for so many years. But knowing is just knowing; what difference does it make? It was the effort and time spent trying to know or re-think what I know that made the difference. And it takes so much more than listening for anything to make any sense.

Defending what I know
If you only knew the hours I spent on YouTube engaging with non-believers, you would think I was being very silly (regardless of whose side you are). However, I was not there only to defend. I was there to confront myself because most of them were saying what I've always thought (my dirty little secret). That was then that I knew with certainty what I truly believe in.

Asking the same questions again
But God you don't need is elusive and can be just a theory. When you need God most, that's when he seems to be real but absent. Funny how I confront God when I have my most malevolent doubts. But, shouting out the question "Are you even there?" presupposes that God listens. I know I sound like a lover who says "do you even love me," knows that he is loved and waits for "I do."  All the days spent reading the Bible or talking about what I believe in come crashing down with that simple question during the worst days of my life. Again and again. 

Listening to the words of Ravi Zacharias, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Robert Baron, Nicky Gumbel, C.S. Lewis, G.K Chesterton, Fulton Sheen, and my Alpha witnesses and so many others I re-think my question and found the answer. Not from them, but through them who spoke of the Gospel so loudly you have to listen very closely. 

The answer is always in the person of Christ. How can one person's life, passion and death be so important for me? I've read about so many heroes, fiction and non-fiction, so many people dying for others or for a cause. 

What difference does Christ make for me?
A great deal of difference and this is a gross understatement. Life is so marvelously beautiful that any pothole makes it grotesque and ugly sometimes and terribly unbearable. When someone comes along to tell and show me that this is not all there is in life (despite its beauty and its pains), He changes it.

Christ changes everything. Most of all, he answers the question: "God, are you even there?"  

There's an old story somewhere about whispering your little secret to a hollow place on a tree and bury it with mud. I have whispered literally my secret plea to an invisible tree "I see you, I know now you're revealing yourself to me"

God, who doesn't seem to answer our questions or doesn't seem to care, comes alive in Christ---flesh and blood. All the question that I ask or will ever ask, Christ answers. He is as real as I've always wanted God to be. He has known pain, ridicule, humiliation, rejection, life and death...yet He tells us not to be afraid.  There's more to life than this.

Do I really need miracles to know that God exists with certainty? No, I don't. I need answers to my questions (and I have loads of them). After all, we wanted to know why we fall (gravity), we didn't really wish that falling does not happen at all because we do fall.

The Gospel has Christ's answers to all the important questions and presents the promises that God keeps.  God must understand, He should...He does--Christ has proven that with his incarnation, His passion, death and resurrection. Personally, my joy is not only for the fact that He died for my sins. My joy is in knowing in my heart that God exists, and that Christ is God Incarnate...for me, for us.

Knowing this...truly knowing Christ, I can whisper with sincerity all my heartaches and gratitude to my God who listens and who is truly present here and now.

Jesus of the Scars
Edward Shillito (1872-1948)

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

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