I wrote this last week for a devo on whillschurch.org.
A dear friend gets back from vacation to find out 14 of his friends fired.
A crisis at work threatens to rip the office apart.
A child is caught in a burning building and the firefighters can’t find her.
An explosion goes off at the end of a marathon on Patriot’s day.
A marriage is pushed to the edge of existence.
A family deals with the rebellion of a teen.
A child comes home again to a drunk parent.
A mentor dies.
On top of this, there are still millions of hungry children living in dumps around the world. Thousands of hungry kids sleeping on floors in Topeka.
And my faith seems small.
I seem to have this ongoing dialog with God about how He is “running” things. I realize how complicated a conversation this is. Is He really running things or do we humans bear some culpability in this mess? I know at the outset of this conversation who is going to get the last word – but I seem to have it anyway. “Why” seems to be the predominant question I keep throwing at Him.
Why is it that a woman who has had such a rough life, can’t catch a break?
Why do these things happen?
Why can’t we do something massive about it and just fix it all?
Why can’t peace reign down instead of war?
Here’s the reality of those questions. I’m not really asking for answers for those questions.
And neither are you.
What we want is security. We want the warm blanket of Jesus that everything is going to be okay. We want the feeling of reassurance that God is good and we are okay and it will all be alright in the morning.
We speak these words to others at times. Even when we don’t really believe them.
Upon the death of Brennan Manning last week, I picked back up The Ragamuffin Gospel to peruse my highlights, underlines and scratches. I ended up sitting down and practically rereading it from start to finish. It’s not a safe read.
Brennan has this to say about these shallow reassurances:
What the disciple has not learned is that tangible reassurances, however valuable they may be, cannot create trust, sustain it, or guarantee any certainty of its presence. Jesus calls us to hand over our autonomous self in unshaken confidence. When the craving for reassurances is stifled, trust happens.
Did you catch that? Manning hits at the core of most Christ-followers shallowness. What we want is reassurance, the feeling. Not necessarily Jesus. If there were another option that brought reassurances – we take that one as well. And we do.
When we grow to the point where we don’t need the reassurances – that’s where we really trust Jesus.