My relationship with God has rarely been a smooth one. It’s kind of like those families where there’s one person who doesn’t act like they value the family as much as everyone else, but constantly speaks as if they’re the only one in the family who really cares. If the accounts I read of God are accurate, the strain is one-directional, from me toward God. And if the accounts I read are accurate, it should be the other way around, from God towards me, what with the original sin thing and all. But in Christian doctrine there’s also this grace and forgiveness thing, so that no matter what I do, I can somehow remain in good standing with God. Apparently God refuses to get in on the feud I’ve got going with him.
And yet today my anger toward God has softened. (Check out yesterday’s sermon for some of the back-scoop on my anger.) There’s something about standing in front of a hundred people and talking about it that takes the edge off. Not that that was therapy time for me, just that it normalizes it a little bit. There’s not so much the sense that I’m hiding anything — doubting on the sly. The question is whether Wildwind is a faith community that has any room for doubters, especially when the head doubter is the pastor.
I’m reading Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, by Philip Yancey lately. (I don’t know if there has ever been a ceremony to formally acknowledge this, but Yancey is the crown-prince of evangelical doubters. And my favorite writer.) The following is not Yancey’s original work, but a snippet in the book from a letter sent by one of his readers.
“So many times when I pray I feel like I’m either shaking my fists in God’s face (defiance) or pounding them on his chest (grief). Would that I could just place them on his knees, and have him hold my hands in his.”
Would that I could…
I hold out hope that with one last round of questions, the struggle will be over.