I’ve seen a lethargic infant girl held in the skeleton arms of her mother. I’ve heard eyewitnesses tell stories of how religious warfare destroyed their life and nation. I’ve prayed with a leper whose healing has never come. I’ve been rebutted by eloquent atheist apologists spewing razor-sharp logic and philosophy. And I none of this made me doubt the historicity, truth and power of the Christian faith.
The infant languishes in poverty because of injustice and the bible assures us there will always be injustice. We’re given a role in combatting it, comforting those trampled by it, but are warned of it’s pervasiveness. My faith is not shaken by injustices but arms me against it.
Nations and innocents are ravaged by warfare because of pride, pragmatism and a lack of creativity. The bible tells us that peace is something made, imaginatively and diligently hammered out on the anvil. Few do this work. Most choose instead to put self-interest and immediate need ahead of the ultimate: faithful imitation of God. “Love your enemy…be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” My faith is not shaken by violence but outlaws it and provides a supernatural alternative.
The suffering of the sick is bruising from the Fall. We pray with the sick, live with the sick, serve the sick and sometimes they are healed in an instant, healed by medicine, healed in time…and sometimes not at all. Together sickness and the rarity of healing make the revelations of God known as miracles possible. If every prayer was answered, every affliction cured, they would not be called “miracles” but “ordinaries” and we would neither notice them nor credit them to God. My faith is not shaken by sickness but essential to face it.
Atheist evangelists are just fully-clothed Adams and Eves unable to believe in a God whose parameters they disdain and character they distrust – as if a Creator’s existence hinges upon creation’s approval. A God I don’t like or understand at times is no less God. Their reasoning is unreasonable and as old as the bible they try their damnedest to disprove. My faith is not shaken by atheism that serves God’s purpose by proving God’s thoughts are not my thoughts.
But today my faith is shaken.
Two friends are in conflict. One will leave the church they both attend.
Two people unable or unwilling to admit fault, to confess wrong, to beg forgiveness and to give it, to move forward leaving the offenses in the forgotten past.
Two people the bible says are possessed by Jesus himself, their hearts supposedly tilled by the Holy Spirit to yield love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Two people who stood in the water and pledged their allegiance to Jesus as Lord over their sin and death…their thoughts and feelings and relationships and hurt. They both went under, dying to self-interest self-preservation self-satisfaction, and came out of the water to live a new kind of life.
I’ve seen this too many times. I’ve done this too many times. I’m angry at us. My faith is shaken.
Is it a lie that we Christians are aliens in this world, living and thinking and loving differently? Is it a lie that we’re even able to deny ourselves and follow Jesus to the peace-talk table? Is it a lie that I can love you more than myself? Is it a lie that I can be wronged and still stay, still hope, still work for reconciliation?
Is it really true that Christianity is authentic and Christ is powerful? Two friends are answering that question right now the I and way too many Christians in the churches I’ve called family over the years have: With a resounding “no.”
“No, God can’t make this right.”
Well, if God can’t then Christianity is a lie and Christ is impotent.
I believe. Help my unbelief. I’m shaken.