Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Loves Like a Hurricane

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

- I John 1:1

I think I've been trying to not write this post for some time. There are so many things I'm trying to sort out with my own faith and I certainly don't want to come across as though I think I have it figured out. I'm trying to really study and sort out what are things that I do or believe that are actually just a tradition that someone made up and what is the truth that I really believe and want to keep.

The reason I've been avoiding this post is because I really, really dislike when people come across as preachy or trying to 'save' someone and I certainly want to avoid that myself. But I think that by not posting this post, I'm not being entirely honest. I strive to be the kind of person who accepts people how they are and where they are. I don't expect people to change for me or to match up with my beliefs. But I need to allow myself that same freedom. I need to accept that my opinions and beliefs are not any less relevant than any other person's and I shouldn't be hesitant to write about them. By avoiding the subject that is taking up most of my thoughts, I am producing some true crap writing.

I rarely know what to say to people. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm pretty awkward. Even in normal, social interactions I usually just listen and say as little as possible so I don't say something stupid. It's like when I open my mouth and say something it is just something odd or crazy and people don't 'get it.' When I'm in a situation that would normally be uncomfortable, like offering comfort or advice, I'm even worse. I simply don't know what to say.

So I've been thinking a lot about what to say to people who have been victims of the terrible result of people ascribing to 'religion' and religious tradition. I've heard and read horror stories that have just infuriated me that anyone would treat someone else so inhumanely under the guise that they are doing God's work. I've had to ask myself if I would still believe in God if that had been my experience all my life.

As I was thinking about this the other day and thinking about all my trust issues, I realized that I don't really trust that God can repair that type of damage. I believe that those people out there with the judgement and the abuse and the lies who are pretending they are obeying God have done far too much damage to a lot of people that it is a hopeless situation. Sad to admit, but I'm just being honest.

I know sometimes 'Christians' meet people who have different beliefs from them and tell these people they should just read the Bible or go to church and they would obviously see how wrong they are. I have to say just reading a book or just going to a building is probably not going to change anyone. And this is something I can't stop thinking about. I have people for whom I pray daily, but I don't say much to them about faith one way or another. I don't think there is much I can say to them that will persuade them either way. But if I don't believe anything I can say will make any difference to them and I doubt that God will get through to them, where does that leave my faith?

I was listening to this song (lyrics below) and I had the thought that it isn't about if they just read the Bible or just went to church or just... anything religious. It really is about if they just realized how much God loves them and how broken his heart is over all the terrible things they have experienced or the things that have gone wrong in their lives. And that he is so proud of them for overcoming adversity and for the things they do that contribute to the world in a positive way. And I was wondering why they would believe that and I really don't know. Maybe they never will. Many people who don't believe in God or who believe in something/one other than God are quite well versed, not only in what they believe, but also in what others believe. It wasn't a choice they made on a whim. They know what they believe and why.

I certainly don't pretend to fully understand the mind of God, but I do know that he loves me. There are many things I am still working to understand about God and who he is and why he doesn't prevent certain things or why some things don't work out. But I know that as a parent there is nothing that would ever make me love my kids any less. Even if they ran away from home and told people they didn't have a mother, I would still love them and still want what is best for them and still rejoice in their successes and morn with them in their sorrows. And I know that is how God is with his children.

I have really hesitated to post this, at risk of seeming like the things or people I dislike/disagree with. But I needed to write this out, to wrestle with it, to try to put it into words that I can go back and mull over and revise if necessary. It's just what is on my mind. I'm not sure of where to go with it from here. I guess I need more time to figure out how this all plays into my faith. I can't make people believe that God loves them, but I can pray for them. And I love them. I wonder if that is enough.

How He Loves - John Mark McMillan

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us.

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