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For Those That Are Sure

Last night was a long one.

The kids slept well.  Drew was still in the bed beside me.  But I tossed and turned myself into complete exhaustion.  My mind wouldn’t shut down, it took me on a ride that I was begging to get off of.  My thoughts swirled as I attempted to just let them go.  (Or walk them to the door laughing- as Sister Marci taught us.)

But, they only left when I finally fell into a fitful sleep.

So as I work around my house this morning, I have one question running through my mind.  It’s for those who are sure.  Sure of their faith, sure of their beliefs.   Just sure.

How do you know you have the answers?  What makes you so sure?

I can only come up with more questions.  Where there used to be a world of black and white, I am engulfed in gray.  All those things I knew without a doubt, well, now I doubt.  I remember as a kid being so grateful.  I remember thinking, WOW, what a priviledged life I lead.   Not for what I owned or for what was given, but for all the answers.  I was born into a family whose faith was sure, my God and how I knew Him was the right one.  How I understood Him made perfect sense.  How sad I was for those who didn’t have all the answers like me.  How could I get them to understand?copernicus-universe

Then, life happened.   I wouldn’t consider myself a sheltered child.  My parents were careful with what I watched, listened to and who I spent time with.   But they also allowed me to see a world around me that wasn’t mine.  It was a world with broken families, a world of poverty, a world that felt so imbalanced.  I was quickly aware of the divisions we lived with.  Divisions across racial, economic, political, and religious boundaries.  And as I allowed myself into that world as an adult, the answers I once had dissolved.  It was not like starting from nothing.  It was like sitting with a puzzle in hand, and I no longer knew what the picture looked like.  Where was I to go from here?

Last night as I tossed in bed, those doubts filled my mind.  The knot in my chest, the questions that are unanswered, they haunted me.  And I wonder now, how can anyone be sure?

So I ask those of faith, How do you know you have the answers?  How do you experience the presence of God?

I am very aware of a need for truth and a longing for understanding.  I cannot walk away, I am drawn in by my Creator.  But what that Creator looks and feels like, that is foreign.   I have pieces, but not the whole picture.

I am no longer afraid to say I don’t have the answers.  Admitting that has brought freedom.  But along with that freedom is a quest for truth.  I have listened to the arguments and know there are so many, so sure.  But so many, so sure of SUCH different things.   This is where I let go.  My faith is not one of arguments to be won.  My faith is not one of answers that come in black and white.  My faith is not a platform to stand on, refusing to step down.

My faith is a quest for God.  It’s a quest for truth.  And while the Bible can confuse, I am sure of one thing, yes, of this I am sure.  It’s those verses found in I Corinthians 13.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.   And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dawn Lemieux Lenartson (Pam's cousin) #

    You write beautifully. i have never had the certainty that you once had, so my heart and life have always had the questions you ask. I wish I could tell you that age, experience and loss will provide answers, but this has not been true for me. At 67 yrs., I still search and struggle and hope.

    January 14, 2013
    • mullenlisa #

      Dawn, Thanks for commenting here! I always appreciate feedback. I do believe that the struggle is life long, with few certain answers. But, I am grateful to have found a community along the way that loves and encourages me. Seems like in the end, maybe that’s what it’s all about.

      January 14, 2013
  2. Krista #

    Lisa, it always difficult to be vulnerable so thank you for once again doing so. I think that when you take such a risk of vulnerability you free others from hiding places and maybe even ironically be a vessel of the hope of God to them. Besides, it also seems that it is only when we voice our doubts that we can also be open to hearing God’s response without skepticism and fear.

    My Bible Study this year is doing an in-depth study of Genesis. While there are many things from Abram’s story (talk about doubts) that this made me think of, this week’s lesson as it reviewed Hagar made a statement that I felt very led to post as a response…not as a black and white answer…to your honest sharing (thank you).

    “God comes to us not only when we are where we should be as Christians, but He also seeks us when we are lost, distraught, rejected, and without hope. He meets us in the place to which our sin (as well as the sin of others) has brought us.” (Bible Study Fellowship notes, Lesson 16). Later it says “The Lord required Hagar’s open confession of her present state (Genesis 16:8).”

    It gave me immediate comfort for my struggles, as well as something to continue to reflect upon. He meets us. He asks us. He wants our present state.

    Blessings as you, and I, and all fellow Believers on this journey, seek God with the honesty of our present state. For that is what faith is all about, knowing that He will meet us there, listen to and hear us, and if we then listen back, He will bless us.

    January 14, 2013
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Krista. I appreciate your encouragement. I do believe He meets us where we are at. I can’t help but feel that I am right where I am supposed to be, for now.

      January 14, 2013
  3. Kate Den Bleyker #

    I have always felt Him. i do not know why I am so lucky. My childhood was not sheltered (my dad died just before my seventh birthday), but neither was it without laughter and joy. I have felt love and loss. So how can I explain what I know? The best way I can describe feeling God is that I have felt Him the strongest when I have been alone, closed my eyes and reached out for Him. it’s almost like a hand in my core reaches out for Him. I know my sense of God is also better when I talk to him daily, througout the day. Luckily, God does not need us to text or email, we just have to start talking! . Still, there have been times in my life when I have forgotten to do this, and while my sense of him still never wavered, my closeness to Him did.

    When I have had one to one discussions with people who doubt, I also tell them that it helps me when I think of people like Gandhi and Harriet Tubman and so many who were brave and fought the darkness of WWII. Reading their stories, I say, is more evidence. Only something like a glorious and eternal God could create such heroes.

    I wish I could explain how I know better than this, but if it helps others to know that there are some of us who have many doubts in this world, but His presence isn’t one of those doubts, then know that is true.

    January 17, 2013
    • I’m so glad you share that Kate. I don’t think I knew all that about you and I appreciate your honesty.

      One thing I have realized is that I have always believed in God. But what God “looked” like to me as a child is not how He looks now. There is some fear in letting that go, but also some wonderful things as well. One way I experience God is through friendship and the gift of being loved. Thanks for being such a loyal friend!

      January 17, 2013

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