Thursday, September 1, 2005

Mystery

Faith is a mystery. In the tradition I grew up in, faith is often regarded as a very reasonable thing. Truth was declared foundational and absolute. It was reduced to fact. I'm tired of that, but it's not that I don't believe in truth. I believe in it, in Truth more than ever. But Truth is mysterious. It's mystical. It's deep and poetic and confusing and wonderful. It is not what I expected. God is leading me somewhere where I don't know what's going on and have to rely on Him, and that's scary and exciting.

More and more I think of Jacob wrestling with God. Wrestling with him. I don't think he was fighting against God, I think he was just grappling, trying to figure stuff out. And I don't want to stop wrestling. I think when you've stopped that, when you think you've arrived, your faith is dead.

I hope I can trust God enough to admit that I understand little, and I don't usually act on what I do understand. I hope I remember to be satisfied getting my head into the heavens, and don't try to get the heavens into my head. I'm confused and uneasy, but then I think I was meant to be.

I think God keeps us just enough in the dark that we'll keep looking for his light.

7 comments:

James said...

What is truth?

Anonymous said...

so, when you stop wrestling with God, when you stop trying to figure stuff out, then you're faith is dead. What if you stop trying to figure out the why and how of things simply because you know you're simply not capable of understanding the reasons why God does what he does. I tend to think that that is an expression of faith itself, simply trusting him, without constantly wrestling to get an answer out of him, since "beating things out" of him doesn't really work...

Travis Greene said...

anonymous has a good point. I guess what I mean by wrestling with God is to not think you have all the answers. Not to think I've figured it out. Not to think there are no difficult questions, because there are. And I agree that faith is trusting God even when we don't know the answers, but as I see it, the Bible is still honest about our desire to ask. The book of Job grapples with difficult questions, such as why bad things happen to good people. But what's interesting is that although God's answer to Job is basically what anonymous said, that man can't understand the reasons things happen, God still rewards Job for asking. It's the three friends, who tell Job not to question God who get punished. At least that's how I read it. And when Jacob wrestles with the angel, God seems kind of impressed. I guess my point is that when I say wrestling, I don't mean rebelling against God, I mean striving to understand Him, maybe even sparring with Him. I don't think that's a bad thing. You are of course free to think I'm a heretic.

Anonymous said...

on the contrary, i believe i have become the heretic, you are just the nonconformist

Travis Greene said...

James asked what truth is, and that's a difficult question. I think truth is maybe the story God is telling, that He wants us to be a part of. If you read the Bible like a flipbook, really fast, just to get the major themes, I think you'd find these three: Creation, Fall, and Redemption. Those are kind of heavy theological words, but basically, God makes the world, something goes wrong, God fixes the world. We're in the middle of part three. Everything that's wrong with the world, everything injustice and system that we hate, God hates more, and He's bringing all creation into what Jesus called the Kingdom of God. I like to call it the Revolution of God, since he's calling us away from selfishness toward altruism, away from cruelty toward generosity, away from hate toward love. Read what Jesus says (go to www.biblegateway.com and check out Matthew 5, to start) and basically he's saying that God's gonna flip the scrip, that everything wrong will be made right. And more than that, He wants to use us to make things right. And I realize this is getting really long, so let me just repeat that I think truth is a story God is telling us, and involving us in. It's a story that I think explains an awful lot, makes our lives better (both those who listen to it and those who don't), and will give us hope in this life and in whatever comes next.

Friar Tuck said...

I think the last sentence on this post is utterly brilliant!

Travis Greene said...

Gracias.