Posted in Christian Life & Theology

Anticipating the Promise

In years past, Christmas brought about many feelings including love, excitement, and wonder but a stronger one in particular: anticipation. The giddiness of hoping that what was beneath the green and red wrapping paper was, in fact, a beloved book I’d been begging for months instead of clothes which, while a necessity, were not high on my list of childhood priorities.

Over time, as the years passed, Christmas became less and less about what I could receive and instead became centered on what I could give to others. Scripture tells us that “it is better to give than to receive” and I felt that to be truer in my adult years than in times prior. A pair of earrings for my mother, clothes for my stepdad; these acts of giving made me feel more connected to God than anything else.

This year feels different though. 2020 has brought with it a deadly virus, job loss, death, and much division and uncertainty. In these times, it is all too easy for depression and despair to hold us captive, but let us not forget that God stepped down into this dark, dismal world and gave us the greatest gift ever: Himself wrapped in human flesh.

He did not come with chariots or horns, nor in a time of peace. He came in a little town of Bethlehem when the world silently held its bated breath, anxious for salvation and a deliverer. As they held fast to the promise they were given by the prophets, so we too must remember what God has promised, especially now. Amidst the fear and pain that 2020 has brought about so far, let us continue to anticipate the promise of an ever-faithful God to bring hope through the fears and years to come.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology, Stuff No One Talks About

Prone to Wander

As the sacred hymn goes, “…Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…”

Can you still “rescue me from danger” God? I’ll be honest: I don’t really know what to say to You. Part of me wants to leave, to go find an alternate route to freedom, to acceptance, to salvation, but according to Your Word, there is no other way. “No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus declares.

Why is that so limiting all of a sudden? Why is that good news not good enough anymore? What happened to my faith? My passion and desire? Were the burning embers of the fit pit just for that moon-stricken night in November? Was I lying to myself? Did I rush the process, not give myself enough time to doubt, question, search for answers, find truth?

It is surprising to me—and maybe it shouldn’t be—that since my return to Christ, I have had far more questions and struggles than answers or reprieve from my intellectual and emotional demons/vices. I keep yearning for the days and results of blind faith, but those days are long behind me. Even I could not—cannot—deny that You have given me a gift—a measure of intelligence. Please, Lord, don’t misunderstand me: I’m grateful, for it allows me to engage others, and You, in a certain way and on a certain level but it seems like the older I get, and the more stressful and complicated life gets, this gift is becoming—at least in my eyes—more of a curse than a blessing. I have already had a tumultuous time accepting, actively receiving, and giving out unto others your grace. And my level of intellect did not—and does not—help my current situation.

I want to leave You.

That’s a scary place to be.

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…” And what is it that keeps me from taking that frightful step back out into the spiritual wasteland of abhorrent nothingness? “Even while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.”

So why then, knowing that, do I still long to leave Your presence? That’s the question, isn’t it?

I don’t have an answer for that. I want You but simultaneously, I’m terried of You.

That’s even scarier than just wanting to leave.

God, please help.

Help my unbelief.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Alone by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology

Jesus and His Trauma

“Let this cup pass from me… nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” The immortal becomes mortal. The beloved Son of the Creator is clothed in human flesh that is torn, bleeding, sweating, and hurting as it is nailed to a wooden cross. His friends have abandoned him, hidden away, scared for their lives and only concerned for their own safety.

Lonely, dehydrated Son of man bearing the weight of every wrong since time began. A crowd of angry people cheering for his death. Mocking him as the crown of thorns presses deeper into his skull, eyes struggling to blink away the blood that falls.

A plea of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Mind-boggling, considering the situation.

An excruciating pull of the body upwards to take a labored breath. Blistered, bloody feet pushing into rusty nails. A sharp, quick intake of oxygen. A bruised body slumps back down, if only to relieve some pressure for just a millisecond.

A seemingly severed connection. A man crying out to his God, his Judge. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Lost love. Abandoned. An innocent lamb slain for the sin sacrifice.

Death. Silence in Heaven. Chaos on Earth. A torn temple veil. Last words. “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

Posted in Christian Life & Theology, Stuff No One Talks About

Living in Tension

Disclaimer: This post is going to be all over the place.

Living in tension is a weird place to be. I’ve been thinking about and evaluating my friendships a lot over the past month, but especially this week. A few days ago, I had a falling out with an old college friend over Facebook Messenger. I’ll spare you the details but he decided to terminate our friendship which, if I’m being honest, was a good thing, as we had grown apart and were only engaging in surface-level small talk. Still, when it happened, it stung a little.

Morning Wake-Up Call

I woke up the next morning thinking about it, the cauldron of friendship, once bubbling, that, now, has nothing but mold at the bottom, too hardened over the years to scrape off. Stuck. Stagnant. Silent.

It made me think about my relationship with Yeshua and how, for a while now, I haven’t been as good of a friend as I could be to Him. Case in point, I’ve been isolating myself by ignoring God and trying to bear everything on my own strength. I’ve treated God like a genie and in that, without even realizing it, I slipped into the mindset that says “If I do the good Christian things I know to do then God will reward me with good things. If I don’t do those things—regardless of my motives—then He won’t bless me.” The inverse of that is this: If bad things happen, if I plummet in my health or job, then I must not have faith or God isn’t blessing me and He is displeased with me in some way. Navigating through this tension is hard. I’m questioning myself: Are my motives for doing or not doing something coming from a place of genuine love and adoration for Yeshua or fear of punishment or guilt from the keen awareness of past/current sin patterns? How much of this is because of my sinful nature rearing its ugly head, Satan messing with me, Yahweh testing me, or an automatic trauma reaction that I need to learn how to replace with a healthy medium?

The Pain of Living in Tension

Living in tension is not for the faint of heart nor for those with a weak will.

With the cultural rise of doing everything we can to be comfortable and avoid pain at all costs, in addition to acting as if we are gods and control everything, including the culture that consistently lies to and ensnares us, it’s almost too easy to believe the masses and think that Yahweh is not good or kind or cares. This life is a daily act of balancing on a tightrope with starving lions growling beneath you, waiting for footslips or tired limbs to just collaspe in the tension of following Christ (not just being a believer) and giving in to agnosticism or worse, cultural Christianity. God is still behind and before me, holding me up in His arms and guiding me forward so I don’t fall to my death but it is not easy. Some days, I want to give up. Most days, the pangs of loneliness are too much. The “freedom” my college best friend has in her Christian-deconverted, newfound-Wiccan rituals seems enticing, not because of the specific pagan beliefs but because she’s found a pseudo-home to rest from her religious trauma that doesn’t require sacrifice or obedience to anyone but herself. Rereading that last sentence makes me super aware of my selfishness and sinful nature.

As I said in my post, If I Were to Leave Christianity, This Would Be Why, my main reason for leaving the safe haven of my God would be because of my own selfishness and desire to be God. My heart is saddened by this realization. I pray God have mercy on my soul. At the same time, I want to be honest with you, dear readers. God is worthy of praise and adoration and absolute surrender. Not because He has a giant ego that must be satisfied 24/7, but because He loves you and me. Who else would willingly die for you? I mean, your parents love you and they would die for you but they’re not God. They can’t take away the sting and shame of sin. They’re not omnipresent. They can’t hold you when you’re up with anxiety at 3a.m. Only Yahweh can. And even in knowing that, and believing it with complete confidence, my heart still wants to wander sometimes. The tension continues. May God have mercy on us all and shower us with His lovingkindness as we navigate through it.