Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dear Jess,

(if you're new here, you can start at the beginning of the conversation with Jess, HERE.)

It's been awhile since I've written any kind of response to your thoughts or mine. So I have to apologize in advance if this is too much at once. I've been thinking a lot about what to say and I've had a hard time knowing what to write because there are some things that we haven't gotten into yet, and without those things it's hard to know where to go next. I want to know what you think about these things. So...HOLD ON, here we go: :)

I've just started this book called "Walking with God" by John Eldredge. It will most likely take me about a year to read it, but I'm going to try. I love this writer. I love the way he thinks and how he expresses himself. The first pages got me thinking about our conversation.

Christian or not, we've all got this longing. It's what brought you to the point of asking, "But HOW do you know God? How do you believe?" And it's what keeps me asking, "Am I finding Him, am I doing this right?"

If He were not there, our Creator and source, I highly doubt we'd be so concerned. Sure, we'd be bombarded with people's opinions of a Higher Power, religious ideals and theological guesses. But both you and I know that those things are not what pull at the deepest parts of us.

He does.

I believe that He made us to be in relationship with Him. One that runs much deeper than Sunday mornings, being good and doing right, and checking off some list of tasks that need to be done in order to be considered religious.

Sometimes I feel like you and I are actually more on the same page than you would ever think. Because even though I am a Christian and I do believe, I'm still struggling to make a connection in a way that means I'm truly in relationship with God. And a lot of that has to do with me. It's not about Him being distant and abstract, it's about me not knowing exactly how to walk with Him the way He made me to walk with Him, and not thinking that I'm good enough.

I came flawed in the first place. And then I made mistakes and believed a lot of lies that have kept me feeling "not good enough" for that walk with God. I know this so fully about myself. It is one of the things that keeps me aware that there really are forces of good and evil.

I believe that the evil in this world also has a source. And that mean dude will do everything he can to keep us from the relationship with God we're longing for. (Yes, I just said "mean dude," because it sounds less crazy religious than satan) It's what every good movie and book is based on. Artists and writers are drawn to writing and expressing stories of good overcoming evil because it exists. And we're drawn to reading and watching these stories because we too know that we're fighting against something dark. We're fighting it because we're inherently good, made in God's image.

Now I'm not saying this so you picture a big red man with horns on his head and a long tail, peeking around the corner, waiting to pounce on you. I don't think we have to look at it like that. I think if we've lived very long we're pretty aware of a whole lot of evil in the world, a lot of hard things that don't come from a loving God.

Sometimes I think it's pretty frustrating that God would have us here dealing with any kind of evil at all. And other times I understand that there is a much greater depth of love and understanding that come through trials. I don't think God looks at us like a bunch of guinea pigs, watching and waiting to see what we'll do with our latest test.

I do believe that we've made a choice. It started with Adam and Eve in the garden, the day they went against what God asked and chose themselves over God. That's what we still have a tendency to do. God allowed all of that because He would much rather have us choose Him, than to be forced into relationship with Him. I think about my kids a lot when I try to work through that. Do I want them to love me because they know me and find me lovable and worthy of their love? Or do I want to control them into loving me? Even though it's risky, I'd have to say I want them to choose me. I want a genuine love. And so does He.

Okay, that's probably about enough for today. I've most likely sounded like a zealot of some sort, but I just wanted to put some of the basics behind my beliefs out there. I may not have done a very good job, but I hope I made some semblance of sense. Take your time and let me know what you think.

Thank you again for putting up with my scattered thoughts and ideas,

(If you're new here and would like to start at the beginning of this conversation, click HERE.)


MidnightCafe said...

I like what you said about how we want our kids to love us because they have a choice, and they aren't forced to love us. I totally agree with that analogy. God made us able to choose, and that makes all the difference.

MidnightCafe said...
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