Confessions from a broken and stitched faith
“Faith is an issue precisely for those who have heard God’s call to new life and intend to embrace that call.”- Walter Brueggemann
Walter, you have hit the proverbially nail on the head. For those of us who believe and have faith in God the struggle is very real between the old life and the new life. We struggle to believe that new life has come to us when in our lives we see evidence to the contrary. We struggle with sin and grace. We struggle and battle with being made new and letting Jesus do his work in our lives; at times it is less like loving Jesus and more like trying to figure out what the heck is going on. We want everything Jesus offers, but then when he sends the Holy Spirit as promised, we don’t want it anymore because it frightens us to truly let go of our sins, our doubts, and our fears. The space between letting go and embracing seems to far a distance to leap.
The older I get, the more I realize that so many times in my faith I run in worn cirlcles. We all have chains that we try so hard to put down and never pick up again. We all have choices that haunt us. A wise friend told me that when God forgives us our sins, they no longer define us but become part of our testimony. There are a lot of days I struggle to believe that to be an absolute truth. I often wonder why it is so difficult to live in freedom and grace. In all honestly, it is easier to believe this is true for other people than it is for myself…and perhaps that is true for you as well. We feel the longer we hold on to the things that bind us that somehow we will have the power to change them and remove our doubts about the love that God has for us. If I have truly learned anything it is that we are more willing to believe in God’s unconditional love for others than we are to believe it for ourselves. But I have learned something else as well. It is in the most broken places of our lives, the places we try so desperately to hide from others, that the mercy of God truly shines. Whatever I am struggling with to let go of or the longer I try to convice myself of judgment, the more I am projecting onto God’s character that in the end, God is not loving. That in the end God did not create us to love us and patiently sculpt us into holy masterpieces, but for something else. And in the end, no matter how far down I get Jesus has a way of finding me. Jesus just won’t leave me alone to myself- he is the friend who knocks on the door of my heart and speaks to me. He is the guy who picks up the phone at 1 a.m. when I get sleep and listens to me talk. He is the guy who finds that song that reminds me of who God truly is- a loving and patient Father, who may at times discipline me and correct me, but never forsake me. He is the guy that guides me to the Scripture, to remind me that God is the same- yesterday, today and forever.
“but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.- 2 Corinthians 12:9
No matter how many times we break or run in the same worn circles, weakened by doubt and fear- God is there. Jesus is there. The Holy Spirit still flows. And what is broken will be stitched back together by the hands of God. What is broken and forgiven will become our bold testimony of the strength of God to show up in the darkness, in the pain, in the anxiety, in the fear. What is broken in us will be filled with the power of Christ that comes to dwell in us. And so, each day we stand between the letting go and the embracing, poised to take the leap.