Monday, August 6, 2012

Infinite Embrace

My old pastor once told me that he was blown away at the strength of my faith given that he never saw any of my prayers answered. It was really more of a rhetorical statement that hung in the space between our ongoing conversation. But do not for a moment think of me as some paragon of faith or someone touched by the Apostle Paul's spirit with utterances like, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. In fact, more often that not my faith is paper thin. Often I find that I am a fair-weather Christian, tending to grumble and complain about everyone and everything in my weakness and frustration. I know that I should just shut up and give praise, but me-centered prayers and petitions and mewling seem to mark me.

Recently, I found myself in a season marked by stormy seas. I just could not find even a short period of calm when my mind could settle. The few things that I cherish most in my life seemed to be slipping away from me. It was absolutely demoralizing and stole every shred of my will to go on. I had more than lingering thoughts of just chucking everything. I got to the point where I just cursed God and His silly games and infuriating subtlety. I can deal with yes to my prayers. I can handle no. But prolonged silence always takes me down the road toward doubt. Just beyond doubt is agnosticism. From there it is just a few steps toward walking away from my faith entirely. I hate writing these statements because they reveal me for the coward and self-centered being that I truly am.

I don't know where this voyage is heading, but today the seas are a bit calmer than they were yesterday. Some conversations were had that were necessary and healing. A few locked doors, perhaps, were re-opened. I thank God for his unending patience with me as I try to find my way and I thank God for His infinite embrace.