Different kind of writing.
Perhaps, there are no guarantees and no predictable outcomes in this life, even if you “do it by the book.” Good people with good hearts too often “leave the party too early.” I’ve ceased to try and understand it. To do so would simply mark you, in a matter of speaking, as “one of Job’s friends.”
Too many of my friends & acquaintances have died. I’ve refused to ask myself “where they were with the Lord when the died” anymore. Such questions strike me as arrogant, insulting to the struggle that the person just underwent…and perhaps irrelevant. Sure, I believe that a person can have a greater or lesser apprehension of God’s “nearness. But if God is Love, then the point is simply that the Lord, whether they knew it or not, was tenderly near each of them.
I do deeply believe that “it all means something.” That it’s all going somewhere. God seems to have built that dynamic of hope & expectation into the tapestry of things. There’s gracious plenty in the world that’ll rub that affirmation raw, of course. But, I still believe that God “gets the last word.” And (call me a fool) that that word will be a good one. It’s the “when” will He speak that word, the “why is it taking Him so long,” that “when will He show up,” that stymies, frustrates, unnerves all of us.
Perhaps, the “trick,” in the here and now, is to affirm whatever little shred of grace you see in your life & in the lives of others. Began to sense it, look for it, and (when it’s finally seen) be quiet before such revelations…Indeed, be amazed. Because you may begin to find such graces everywhere. And in Everyone. The world my start to explode with meaning.
That, to me, is where faith is affirmed and in fact “con-firmed.”
Sure, it takes courage. Maybe a dogged stupidity as well.
It’ll be a courage of strange origins. You, more than likely, won’t know where it comes from till much later. It surfaces through many conduits. It takes falling down and despairing of ones-self. And (the scary part) it’ll take entrusting ones-self to a Love that knows no bounds in it’s Mercy & Concern. It takes getting up (after stumbling and falling) and seeing that it really is, in so many intangible, wordless ways, a wonderful Gift, a wonderful Life.
I’ll go out on a limb here:
If you happen to be an “Ex-Church-Person-in-Recovery,” a someone who had “religion” rammed own his/her throat, it might mean taking a different tact.
Call it a quest, a holy inquiry. Call it an interrogation.
It might mean demanding proof, or convincing, or insight or grace that all of this hallowed/crazy/broken thing we call “LIfe” actually means anything at all. It might sound more like: “Lord, give me one good reason why I shouldn’t quit on this today,” and less like some credal recitation, or some other spiritual brownie-point-earning endeavor to “re-assure ourselves” that we’re ok.
Call it “skipping the formalities.”
But here’s the catch:
If He does respond, if He does reveal Himself (to quote the old Robert Johnson song) “you gotta move.”
We so often act as if the Holy Spirit doesn’t exist. We try (often vainly) to arrive at some apprehension of God, of His will, of His goodness by the “mind,” while leaving the elements of “dialogue” out of the equation. And by dialogue, I mean simply that you talk to Him & He talks to you, listens to you, answers you, weeps with you and rejoices with you. Approaching Him only with the mind starts to feel…well, a little over-rated. He’s been known to whisper some amazing poetry into some folks’ ears.
I suspect God is both “big enough” to handle our deepest questions and equally passionate enough to give us (His beloved) an adequate reply. But hear this. Faith will never be struck from the equation. His reply may not be an answer that “wins” the whole shooting match. No. It may look more look like the one silver bullet of faith…to get you by one more day.