This Stuff is Real

I’m not a theologian. But I am a Christ-follower. Long before I chose Him 29 years ago, Jesus chose me. I was 4 when I decided to follow Jesus. It wasn’t a complicated decision. I hadn’t been into drugs or come from an abusive home or anything like that. My storyline of following Jesus had a pretty steady baseline until I was 19 years old. It wasn’t a flatline like you’d see on a heart monitor of a dying person. But it was a steady line with very few spikes or drops. As an adult, though, my line has shown much more variety. The lines of my story have had many spikes and drops… not necessarily reflecting running from God or denying Him, but symbolizing the ups and downs that have caused my faith to stretch and my critical thinking skills to work out my salvation with fear and trembling as Philippians 2:12 teaches believers. In my maturing process, I’ve asked myself questions because I value connecting dots with what I’m living and what I’m believing. Do you do that? Do you gasp as you breathlessly wonder from time to time, “Is this stuff real? Do I really want to follow Him even through the hard things? Do I really want to spend the little time on earth I have doing this?”

These questions aren’t necessarily doubts, they’re reality checks. Since a believer walks by faith and not by sight, these sorts of questions are important to remind us that this stuff isn’t just an ethereal idea…it’s real. As we ponder these things, examine the world’s history and headlines, look at our own stories, and then go back to scripture, we find that the dots are connected. Walking by faith isn’t a fantasy. Walking by what we can’t see actually leads us to see more.

If we were to take everything our irises, pupils, corneas, and all those parts of the eye can process, we would only see the surface. But there’s so much more. We are souls who live in bodies…souls created by God. The physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional all function to point us to the God whose image in which we were created.

I hear stories of war and I wonder why we can’t just live in peace. I ask the questions of why people want to fight more than they want peace and then I see it… they aren’t just wrestling for their own agendas, they are wrestling against God. It’s the same story, repeated through generations and generations of fractions running from God and fractions running toward God. Sides in wars aren’t even clear cut as Team God and Team Satan. It’s all broken because man is broken, though some victories are closer to God’s ideals of justice than others.

I see people desperately shouting about their rights to be recognized by whatever they feel they are identified as…and then I see it…they are desperately searching for a new identity. Aren’t we all? None of us want to keep the void feeling in the pit of our hearts. We want to be filled. Some fill that void with preferences and notions that do not speak to the image of God they were created in. And still, some come to the end of their run and recognize that the new identity they are longing for can only truly be fulfilled by Christ.

I watch generations drawing final breaths, people who have always been parts of the background of my own story that in just one more generation will not be remembered unless I tell their stories. And then I pause… I’m just one generation away from the oldest generation in my family. One day, that will be me. What do I want to leave behind? What lies ahead for me after I draw my final breath?

Friend, just because we cannot see the wrestling in our hearts and world doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

The thoughts that go through your mind cannot be read on a scan, but you can witness brain activity. The stuff of God is real. Your questions are there because He is the answer. We aren’t the writer, so we can’t understand all of it. But we are characters in His story and we can understand that He is authoring a story that will be read from cover to cover one day. A story can’t exist unless there is an author.

Don’t be afraid of your questions. When your inquiries arise, run to the pages of truth that the Author of history and your story penned for your comfort and His glory. The battle between the wholeness of Heaven and the brokenness of sin’s bondage is real. You and your storyline are real. Your questions are real. God and His storyline is real. This stuff is real. And there is real comfort and peace to be found when you seek and find God’s narrative above every other voice.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33, ESV

 

September 19, 2017