Thursday, March 27, 2014

Journeying and Journaling

Ok, it's been almost 2 weeks. I can process a little more.

"Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods." - C.S. Lewis.

Well DANG. I always took faith for granted. Never even thought of it as something that might be a struggle one day. I think it's one of those things you can get lazy with, and then once it weakens (from lack of attention), you get all bent out of shape thinking, "What the heck God? Where'd my faith go?"

Oh. It decreased every time I chose to run to others instead of to you, it inched away every time I chose a tv show over reading your word. It died every time I just wanted things to happen without the effort and groaning that your word says WILL be there.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13

In simple terms, it's saying, "Hello, hi, you've read scripture haven't you? Great. Then WHY are you surprised and shocked when you suffer? We've told you it will happen! #pleaselisten". Or something like that.

You can find further affirmation for this lesson here:

"And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering." Romans 8:17

I wish I could tell you why God set it up this way. Why there has to be suffering in this lifetime. But that IS the way God has things set up. And we can trust that it is ultimately for his glory and for the most good. When my life is going great, and I don't see suffering around me, there is really no reason for me to long to be in Heaven. We are such a people, that we need the sufferings of this world to help continually point us back to Jesus. I wish that there was another way. But, in my experience, suffering is the only thing that makes me bank everything on Jesus and the hope of future glorification (being unified as a body with Christ in a new perfect Kingdom with perfect bodies).

I am finally being encouraged by my own suffering and pain. My doubts and struggles with belief are not because I may not be a Christian...they are BECAUSE I am a Christian. Only Christians struggle with sin (in my case, that would be disbelief, lack of trust, and guilt). If I didn't have the spirit of God inside me, why would I care about my lack of faith? Why would it bother me so much if I didn't read the bible or worship God? It wouldn't affect me at all.

So the fact that I am struggling IS a sign of belief. I cannot tell you what an encouragement and relief that it is to know. I am 100% experiencing the act of "working out your salvation with fear and trembling" that is talked about in Philippians 2.

I'm not getting further from God, even though it feels like that sometimes. I am working out my salvation, my faith, so that when I come out of this, it will be 10 times stronger.

I want to record this moment as a very gradual step, but a step none the less, towards strengthening my faith and coming out of this cloud of doubt. What I learned last night (in my Women's Development Program) was real and was revealed by the Holy Spirit, not just my mind or others words.

I didn't feel this amazing moment of God speaking clearly to me, I didn't see a vision and have hope, my fears have not gone away. But I have grabbed onto a tiny thread of hope and I'm counting it as a win.

- Bethany

I had a really good morning. Levi and I went to brunch and processed some thoughts of what we have read together. More mornings like this, please.

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