Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Essay #11

Everything inside me wants to flee and leave this destructive world in the past. I have a faith in something I cannot see, but I am overwhelmed by the journey of life: the consequences and happenstance of it all. I struggle with the ironies found in the with and the without, freedom and captivity, self-worth and God's worth, lies and truth, fastidiousness and relief of all responsibility, ugliness and beauty, joy and desperation, goals and apathy, my hurt and the hurt of countless others around me, reckless thoughts and precise intuition, peace and chaos, loyalty and shame, obedience and simplicity…

But how can I wallow in such utter seclusion when I look above the horizon of my navel and see the plain unhindered reality of this world. I look at the history of people who lived by faith no matter what. A faith that overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, received God's promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched flames of fire, escaped death by sword. In all of these circumstances WEAKNESS was turned to STRENGTH.

Then I see others who trusted in God, but were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and receive their supposed "freedom". These people placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Hungry, oppressed, mistreated, they wandered over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

And, all of these people received God's approval because of their faith. But you know what? None of them received all that God promised. What's up with that?

Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we can't even see.

I pray that you would also have a real faith.

Running with an endurance that doesn't come from my will,