Hi there. I’ve not written to you much. We normally do this verbally. But anyway, I have some thoughts to share with you.
I know I’ve not been the perfect disciple. My whole life I’ve attended church, so much so I don’t know a life without it. But both of us know I’m nowhere near perfect. You see my bad habits, the bitter, under-my-breath prayers cursing you, even saying I hate you.
Sometimes I wonder how authentic my faith in you is. I wonder how much I believe in you because simply I’m afraid of the alternative – rather than simply because you’re true.
You see, I can’t bear the thought of a world without you. This place is so dark and messed up. I live in a system which lives to make money, to sell products I don’t need. And I am so much as part of this, almost to the degree where there is no difference.
Is this the radical faith you spoke about?
Is this the counter-cultural life you call me to?
It certainly doesn’t seem like it.
But a world without you? You not being real? I can’t imagine.
What would it be like?
There would still be religion. Because we need a final word to hold on to. We need some answers to the questions life throws at us. We need a system and structure for organising our lives around. However manipulative, damaging and controlling it can be.
However, there wouldn’t be any hope.
Not real, authentic hope anyhow. I mean we’d have leaders and false religions offering a false hope as they do now, but no hope which ever delivers.
And what about suffering? Who would everyone blame for it? We’d have to confront the scary reality of our culpability for this dark, broken world. Ironically, we’d realise just how much we needed you. If only we would open our eyes and sweep aside all our false ideas about you – and leave us with the awesome, scandalous reality of who you really are. But then of course we’d be left with the scary truth…
…none of us knows you fully. (you can tweet that here)
I think deep down we all know this. And it terrifies us. Which is why many hide behind religion, or reject you altogether.
But with no religious, legalistic, God to hide behind, we are stripped naked. If we’re confronted with the truth of who you are, if you appear to us and speak to us,
we are laid bare. Stripped naked. And there’s nowhere to hide from the truth of who we are.
(As if there ever was)
I know the reality. You are everywhere, in all things. All we need to do is be moving slowly enough, have our eyes open, pay attention
and be willing to listen.
I know I’m probably more afraid to hear the encouragements you have to for me than the negative truths. I don’t like hearing how valuable and loved I am, or how respected I am by others. I don’t want to hear you say you like me, not just love me.
I’d rather hear a list of my mistakes, my bad decisions, and the areas I need to change. They fit much more with my own view of myself.
But of course, you won’t let this happen. Because no matter how much I try to put myself down and let my insecurities win, you will still keep on telling me you love me, saying I’m worth everything to you, and using my gifts in ways I never foresaw or intended.
And the problem for my insecurities, is you won’t give up no matter how much I push you away. You will keep on calling the truth of myself out of my heart. You’ll keep on reminding me I’m worth everything.
You’ll never let me go.
So I’m going to say thank you now. Whilst I’m in a place where I recoginise this.
Thank you for never giving up on me. For ignoring my feeble attempts to block your voice and push you away.
Thank you for being mysterious. It’s such a relief to be unable to know everything about you…and not need to know.
Thank you for letting me doubt. Because it’s often in these doubts I end up going deeper with you.
And above all, thank you for being real. For not just being an idea in a book. Or an experience in a church. Thanks for entering into real relationship with me, even though I can’t fathom why at times.
No matter what I say sometimes,
my life can’t go on without you.
So thank you.
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