the waves are crashing into the shore as i write this. sherlock, my dog, is laying on the bed, his face halfway in the warmth of the sun, watching the various kinds of birds taunt him as they sore through the wind. the sun feels nice, it’s been a chilly couple of days.
we’ve gone on another small road trip to the southern east coast of the united states. a welcome relief from the sub-zero temperatures in minnesota. even with the past two days in chilly charleston, south carolina we’re still better off here than back home.
we’ve stopped at some hot spots along the way. we saw the arch in st. louis missouri, graceland in memphis, tenneessee, disney world in orlando, florida, and the little white house in key west, florida.
however, my favorite part thus far was stopping into a place i called home for a very brief period in my life. a place i hated while i lived there, yet have longed for ever since leaving; naples, florida.
my spirit settled instantly as my feet touched the sand of the naples beach. looking outwards, there is nothing but ocean. to me, it’s an image of freedom.
there are no barriers, no fences to unlock, or chains to hold you back. it’s a place where i can send all my prayers, my hopes, my visions, and my desires out and watch the wind and ocean carry them away, closer to the heavens.
i sat here and i spoke to God. remembering the gifts he has given me, and praising Him. throughout this trip the enemy has attempted to get me doubt God. he has posed questions such as; how can God bless you whilst maintaining His stance on freedom and not intervening in the lives of others? and if he blesses you, does that mean he is choosing to not bless others? with blessings, do the punishments come too? how do you justify your faith in a God powerful enough to end world hunger yet stubborn enough to not?
i don’t have answers to these questions. i mean, certainly i could come up with retorts, but for the time being, i’ve brushed him off. choosing instead to focus on the blessings at hand. but i’d be lying if i said these questions don’t tug at my faith.
being down south, in what was basically the slave trading capital of the united states, my mind has been enamored with trying to understand how so many could see humans as worthless. or rather worthy of being owned, i should say.
and despite their being owned, many found a christian faith and worshipped the Lord without reading a single word of the bible. even though this religion was forced upon them and used as a justification for their enslavement, many still chose to see God for who He was rather than who man made Him out to be.
i think that’s the key part to hold onto in my faith. i don’t worship the God man creates, but i worship the God who created me.
so often i see “men” worshipping the God they want Him to be rather than the God He is. i see it in the way we talk to each other, the way we pray for each other, the way we argue with each other, the way we fight with each other.
we each take a different piece of scripture and cling onto that piece as if it is that piece that describes God in His entirety. we latch on, and we become determined to prove God’s character using this piece of scripture as the back bone of everything.
and what’s interesting is in the end, we always blame satan. we claim that each person, but us of course, is afflicted by the lies of satan and if they’d only accept what we’re saying, then they’d be free of the lies. then they’d receive salvation.
this breaks my heart, and i’m positive it breaks the heart of the God we all claim to love, honor and believe in.
can you honestly tell yourself that you believe when Jesus comes back he won’t treat you just like he treated the pharisees? are we foolish enough to make the same mistakes as our ancestors? to build of life based on rules and laws and regulations and expect that those things are leading us to God?
i love this time of the season, meaning the political season. i discover a lot about my facebook friends, and family members. there are so many different candidates to vote for, each with their own opinions about how to best run the united states. each candidate has so many supporters. and what’s interesting is the main candidates are all claiming to be christian.
i’m not attempting to say they aren’t, but it’s interesting that each candidate, while claiming to hold onto the same values, and have the same understanding of the bible as us and each other, also has vastly different opinions about how to practice their faith.
so who’s right?
which supporter has the correct faith walk? which candidate has the best interpretation of who God is, and how He would like our country to be run?
not to turn this into a political post, but as i wrote that, this came to mind,
“whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.” mathew 25:40
but even this post can have different interpretations. some would say setting laws and boundaries teaches who God is, while others would say this traps people. do we lift people up by challenging them, or do we lift people up by giving them a helping hand?
all this brings me back to that time on the beach. as i sit and look out into the world before me, a place with no boundaries, no restrictions and watch as the sun paints a picture for us, i’m lost, yet i’m found.
i’m in a place of peace in the midst of unanswered questions. because even though i know i don’t have all the answers, and even though i know my faith is my own, i know that it isn’t my faith in God that gets me through, but rather his faithfulness to me that will bring me through.
i don’t have to have all the answers to all the questions the enemy asks, nor the answers to all the questions from the unbelievers i run across in my journey on this world. my fellow friends and i may not agree on every aspect of the word. but none of this changes who God is.
and that’s what the enemy is trying to get me to do when he asks these questions. just like when he asked eve about the apple. it was less about the answer, and more about the result. eve questioned God’s character, rather than the snakes.
so today, as we make our way back up to minnesota, i choose to focus not on finding the answers, but on discovering more of who God is in the midst of the unanswered questions. and as long as i remain in peace, i’d say i’m doing a pretty good job.
don’t take the bait from the snake anymore. how is God’s character showing up in your life?