hope and fear pt.3

August 15, 2011

See parts 1 & 2 here.

So it’s one thing when it has to do with the fears of a two-year old but what about us seasoned veterans of life?  We’ve been able to deal with childhood fears in healthy ways and vanquish the thought of the boogeyman in the dark closet…right?  Is it possible to live a “fearless” life?  If not, what do we do with those fears as adults that life reveals to us along our journey?

This weekend I had a very honest conversation with a good friend whom I’ve known for many years about these and other questions.  Our stories parallel in many respects as we think very similarly and would fall pretty much in the same theological fight clubs.  We both have young children and wives that still put up with us.  But the conversation was about how do we hope and trust in this God when it seems the most intimate and personal prayers and petitions we bring are met with silence?  When your marriage doesn’t seem “fixable” or your physical and/or mental health is deteriorating?  All illusions of control begin to slip away and that sinking feeling of despair and impending doom take root.  What then?

We covered all the “right” Christian responses:  “He causes all things to work together for good” etc.  Then you recognize that you can give verbal homage to these and other lofty verses while your heart is far removed from feeling their beauty.  The thing I really love about the Bible is how brutally honest it is and one thing that frustrates me about some churches is how little attention is given to said honesty.

Do a quick study of the book of Lamentations.  Not exactly “Your Best Life Now” kind of material but authentic human response and deep soul wrestling with historical events (for the historical narrative see the last few chapters of 2 Kings).  The poems of Lamentations suggests to me that God is not delighted in our Christian platitudes about sufferings but rather our honest and raw feelings towards them and towards Him.  Something tells me He’s big enough to handle them.

The other glaring point in our conversation was that…we were having a conversation!  The gift of a trusted friend with whom you can open up and bring your struggles into the light is a gift of eternal significance.  More on that later…

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