Tuesday, August 23, 2016

There is something peculiar and ironic about becoming and being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, one who acknowledges God's love for all of us. On the one hand, one's experience is often of warm fellowship, communion, and deep comfort that you are claimed and belong and are secure in God's mercy and deliverance. On the other hand, however, what happens if one persists in being a disciple, is that eventually one is metaphorically set out in the middle of a desert with a tiny canteen and a granola bar and a scrap of paper with the words "trust me" written on it in God's hand writing. After a time of wandering in different directions, the canteen is dry, the granola bar long gone, and the words on the scrap of paper fade or you lose the scrap altogether. The next part of the story isn't particularly pretty. There are a lot of puddles of scummy water you use to fill your canteen and all you find to eat is discarded chicken bones with most of the meat already gnawed off, first by people, then by whatever rodents might be fortunate to find them. Of course, the desert isn't really a desert, but a nice home in the suburbs, and the scummy puddles and gnawed chicken bones may actually be icy alcoholic beverages served poolside or ultra-purified artesian spring water, and six course meals by candlelight. That's because the challenge of trusting God absolutely can be a terribly difficult one to discern and recognize.  We are much more likely to come to trust when we have no alternatives or options. Though this option is effective and often necessary, it is not easy to be stripped of all alternative safety nets--especially because we have so many that we can't even inventory. The truth is, when we have whatever we may feel we need to feel secure (job, income, friends, family, money, insurance, health, the fellowship of the faith community, and a host of other good things), then articulating trust is as easy as ignoring the fact that we aren't really trusting.
Of course, one of the subtle lessons is that God's love and grace are not dependent on my ability to trust. What I have discovered, however, is that the more I trust (code for releasing my false securities), the richer my experience of God's grace becomes and the less insecure I feel.

© 2016 Stephen Carl

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