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 courage that the deceased person exhibited…and 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 the dying knew it or not, was tenderly near each of them.
On most days, I do 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 in 5 minutes, of course. But, I still believe that God “gets the last word.” And, I suspect (call me a fool or a heretic) that word He gets will be a good one.
No. Most often, what staggers our credulity is His utter lack of good timing. Timing by our watches, anyway. It’s the “when” will He speak such a word?; The “why is it taking Him so long?”; That “when will He show up?” that stymies, frustrates, unnerves all of us.
How does one wait without throwing in the towel? How does one hold on and not be undone by futility or overcome by bitterness? 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. Amazed because you may begin to find such graces everywhere. And in Everyone. The world my start to explode with meaning. You’re developing an instinct beyond the intuitive.
That, to me, is where a life of “faith” is affirmed and in fact “con-firmed.”
Sure, it takes courage to live by such faith. There’s a lot that’ll always seem “up for grabs.” Maybe it takes 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. There are no schools to learn such lessons in. It likely wouldn’t be faith you “bought” if it was avialiable via a Univ. of Phoenix course.
And now, the scary part: It’ll take entrusting ones-self to a Love that knows no bounds in it’s Mercy & Concern for you. It takes getting up (after stumbling and falling) and seeing that your life really is, in so many intangible, wordless ways, a wonderful Gift, a wonderful Life. But of course, that Love may ask you to begin to give your heart more & more to it’s vision and it’s way of seeing things; It’s way of loving.
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 down his/her throat, it might mean taking a different tact when it comes to declaring “for or agin” Life’s understandability.
Call it a quest, a holy inquiry. Call it an interrogation.
It might mean demanding proof, or convincing, or insight or grace from God 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 worn credal recitation, or some other spiritual brownie-point-earning endeavor to “re-assure ourselves” that we’re “OK.”
Call it “skipping the formalities.”
“Ante-up. What’s this all about?”
But here’s the catch:
If He does respond, if He does reveal Himself then (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. Sometimes ears need wildernesses to retreat to hear such Love’s deeper & healing declarations…
And let’s face it: Tidy doctrines & formulas are so much easier (and “safer,” too.)
I suspect God is both “big enough” to handle our deepest questions and equally passionate enough to give us (His beloved) an adequate reply.
“Faith” will never be struck from the inquiry, from the interrogation. To do so would be like covering your ears and expecting to still hear Him answer. Faith is like your relay tower to apprehend His side of the dialogue. Yes, the dialogue will be honored and that, out of love. You’ll see, hear, apprehend His “Is-ness” in the world, including your world.
But take note, beloved seeker: His replies may not be the answer that “wins” the whole shooting match. No. It may look more look like one silver bullet, held by the faith He gives you…to get you through one more day. You’ll “know” where it came from and who gave it to you.
But maybe that’ll just be enough.
It’ll be enough, because you took Him to task once, to be able to take Him at His word a million times over…