Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shaken Faith

When life events so congregate as to call into question much of what one has come to assume about God, faith is shaken by the tectonic shift of misleading paradigms. What one believes God is like, and thus his manner of intersecting with human affairs, collides with the harsh reality of disappointing pain. Former ways of assuming that he led people along life's path can appear quite untrustworthy. The standard platitudes are insulting, and a bonfire is the only appropriate home for various trite bumper-sticker sayings purchased from a local Christian bookstore. They were created to offer a form of comfort, but in the end only comfort those who do not need comforting. Faith has been shaken, and all the "houses of cards" are revealed by the flattened debris spread round about.

However, faith is not flattened by the shaking.

Instead, only that which can be flattened by the shaking, is in fact flattened. In other words, faith is reduced down to that which cannot be shaken. Faith is legitimately reduced, by the disappointments of life, to that which cannot be affected by the disappointments of life at all. Such faith weathers the storms, endures the hardships, stomachs the bitter, survives the dangerous, gazes on the unsightly, gulps the unsavory, resists the threatening, detects the deceiving and soothes the anxious.

It's medicine to the sick in spirit.
It's first aid to the wounded.
It's fuel to the empty.
It's nourishment to the famished.
It's refreshment to the thirsty.
It's shelter to the exposed.
It's covering to the naked.
It's refuge to the harassed.
It's reward to the destitute.
It's attachment to the disconnected.
It's life to the lifeless.
It's sight to the blind.
It's sound to the deaf.
It's flight to the feeble.
It's comfort to the confounded.
It's reconciliation to the rejected;
and it's serendipitous to the disappointed.

It straightens the crooked.
It smooths out the rough.
It makes sense of the senseless.
It grooms up the grungy.
It enlightens the darkened.
It points out the elusive;
and unravels the enigmatic.

What faith can boast such things? What might such faith confess?
Such faith maintains humility about what it cannot answer,
but it remains confident about what it can.

But at this point in life, the faith that I find cannot be shaken by gross disappointment can only confess that which has always been confessed of Christians everywhere.

Therefore, when asked what I believe, I presently can only answer:

I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary:
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
From where he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost:
The holy Catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints:
The Forgiveness of sins:
The Resurrection of the body:
And the Life everlasting. Amen.

-The Apostles' Creed

1 comment:

your proud wife said...

This brings strengthening, stable, meaningful comfort to me. I love you and am more thankful for you and proud of you now, then ever before. You are truly a man of faith!