Recently I’ve had a front row seat to watching two people who are close to me wrestle with Christianity. They are both very similar in their personalities and neither of them is willing to grant God the control He desires in their lives. I stand back in amazement at both of them. I just can’t understand where they are. I really try to be there for them and answer their questions, but I am really having trouble relating.
I really don’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t a Christian. I DO remember well times in my life when I tried to be in control, but I was a Christian, just a “Backslidin’ Baptist” as we’re called. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, I’ve chosen many wrong paths and I done many things I am not very proud of, but through all of those God has been with me. He carried me sometimes, held me sometimes, walked beside me sometimes and just generally was there for me always. To say He has protected me is understatement, He has blessed me way beyond what I deserve and continues to do so daily.
One of the people I’m watching thinks that being a Christian and having faith means all doubts are erased. You never doubt again. I know that isn’t true, I’ve seen all kinds of mature Christians doubt. One of Jesus’ own disciples doubted his resurrection, and that earned him the moniker ‘Doubting Thomas’. Abraham doubted, Noah doubted, Moses doubted, Jonah doubted and yet they all play important roles in our faith. They are all held up as examples of good and faithful servants.
The other believes she is not good enough to be loved, by anyone especially God. That one is easy for me, none of us are. That’s what makes Jesus’ death on the cross so spectacular. Christians are not perfect, we are just forgiven. When God looks at us he looks through the lens of Jesus. And as Christians we reflect Him not ourselves. He sees the Perfect and Holy One, not our sinful selves.
I get frustrated as I watch them both struggle through their lives trying to be all things to everyone and never relying on the One through which all things are possible. They both need to be all to everyone because then they believe they are in control of their lives, but they really aren’t, it’s an illusion – or delusion as the case may be. They believe giving up control is perhaps the worst thing they could ever do.
They think becoming a Christian means something it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean missing your old life, leaving your old friends and becoming someone different than who you are. It means living with a peace that surpasses all understanding. It means giving your troubles, burdens and heaviness to God. But it also means giving Him the credit for your successes, your joys and your wins. It means following Him, allowing Him to drive and leaning on Him before you have tried everything else.
Prayer is not a 9-1-1 call, it’s not a last ditch effort, it’s not even a Plan B. It’s Plan A and there is no Plan B. It’s trusting Him to give you what you need. It’s trusting Him to be in control. This isn’t necessarily easy for me, but I’m getting better with it (most days). I just wish I could get them to understand you’re not a Christian because you’ve become a saint, you’re a Christian because you’re a sinner.