Once upon a time I was young and restless. My father, who'd hung the moon and kept the stars in place in the Spring and Summer of my life, seemed to become a stodgy old man by Fall, and lose all his charm by the Winter of my adolescence. The father I obeyed without question became an adversary. Church lost its attraction to me because I saw a deacon sneaking a smoke outside the church one Sunday. That confused me. I'd been taught that the body of a Christian was the temple of God and what we put into our bodies honored or dishonored the Father in heaven. The word hypocrite took on new meaning for me as a vulnerable sixteen-year-old. I wondered how many other things Christians who taught me did in secret. The Sunday School teachers I'd listened to, and trusted, for 16 years no longer seemed "cool".
I went my own way for several years after that. I can't say that my faith in God went up in smoke from witnessing a puffing Christian. I can only say it gave me excuse to disregard what I'd been taught by those I thought knew everything. I thought my father was invincible--that even though he did not attend church, it was because he was busy being a fireman and community servant. It couldn't mean he was not a Christian. After all, he made sure we kids went to church every single Sunday morning. He gave me a white Bible on my tenth birthday. Yet, somewhere between 10 and 16, I realized the grapes that were fermenting in our garage were not a tangy form of Welch's juice. My restlessness took on a life of its own.
Today I am old. Settled. Reborn.
Today I know how foolish one can be in life when they judge God based on the merits of others. I see how God's Word stands in the face of witless thinking. I see how faith withstands the tests of time and circumstance and failure. I know that God's grace works continually in the life of a child-like trust in "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him will have everlasting life." John 3:16. [emphasis mine]
While I watch the demise of some institutions of faith, I cannot help but wonder what the Lord sees and wonder if He looks down from heaven and smells the fragrance of His people's prayers or the stench of their disobedience. I wonder why so few realize The Most High God inhabits the praises of His people. I wonder if others who stand in solidarity with settled rest beneath the blanket of Christ's redeeming blood alone feel as disheartened as I do when they look at the horizons of the setting sun. When they see the young and restless attempt to undo that which their fathers before them stood in the gap to build? do others see the strongholds crumbling in the tension of unsettled hearts? do others understand how jumping up and down on bridges built to share the love of Christ can weaken its support and cause catastrophic consequence to those children walking toward safety on the other side? I wonder. I really wonder. (to be continued...) selahV