Liberty

Lately when I read my Bible, I have been taking notes about God’s voice. Sometimes in the Bible, like in Exodus 19 & 20, God speaks like thunder and then gives the Ten Commandments. Sometimes, like with Elijah in 1 Kings 19, God speaks with a still small voice, not in any of the dramatic ways which one would expect to a famous prophet. In Numbers 22, God spoke to a prophet through a donkey. Sometimes in dreams, and with an angel, as in Matthew 1, with Joseph, Mary’s husband. I could go on, but the point is that God can speak in any way that He wants.

He can pretty much do any thing that He wants, as long as it is something that He wants to do. Job 42 is a good place to read about that. He also doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for anything He does or does not do. That kind of runs counter to a lot of modern American Christianity which spends an awful lot of time explaining God to people.

I don’t do that anymore. When people want to come tell me why they don’t believe in God, and what they expected and what God did or did not do, I just listen and nod. I do that because I do not have the answer for them.

God reveals a lot of things about Himself in the Bible, but not everything. No one knows everything about God because we are finite, and He is infinite.

Sometimes what people really need is just for us to listen and care about them. I believe that in that way, possibly through just someone caring about them and praying for them, they might have their heart softened enough to sense God’s presence in some way because that is what He is like. He cares and He listens. If they do not see me do it, how can they believe me when I tell them that that is what God does?

I have really wanted God to tell me what to do about church, but He has been strangely silent. I wasn’t looking for thunder. I am trying to move away from the guilt and responsibility mode of Christianity without any grace in it. I am not exactly sure what I expected God to do. Place a church flier in my Bible? Send me a text telling me not to feel guilty about leaving my home church? Or my personal favorite, write it in the sky?

I have called a few really dysfunctional places my church home at various times. There is no perfect church, but neither are they all in the same state of health. Plus, different churches seem to fulfill different functions in the community, like different organs in the body of Christ.

Part of me does not want to move on from my current church  because my pastors are excellent. Who says that and leaves a church? Who leaves a church when they agree with its doctrine? Who leaves a church when it has personally benefited them? Who leaves a church and is not offended?

That would be me. I might actually make it to a church tomorrow, or I might feed the ducks.

The truth is that I do not really want God to tell me what to do about church. I don’t think I could handle whatever that edict might be. It sounds like death to have God announce to me where to go to church. I would feel stuck. I would feel forced. I cannot handle whatever the spiritual expectation is that is placed on my life at this time. I feel exhausted inside. The very thought of committing to some church that might turn out to have dead animals buried in the parking lot or whatever thwacky thing they believe that they do not tell you until you get to know them is overwhelming. Obviously, I have been snookered before in church world.

One of my brother in laws told me one time that he thinks God allows us to choose our own church home as a part of our liberty in Christ. I am going to trust that is correct. If I visit someplace and feel like I cannot breathe, I am just going to get up and walk out.

Liberty. Something God allows me to do without manipulation or guilt or duty pushing me to do it.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Liberty”

  1. SprinklerBandits Says:

    It sounds like you’re labeling years of guilt and anxiety with God’s name. He is just as much present with the ducks as in some man-made modern monstrosity of a building designed-by-committee. In fact, I’d venture he might prefer the ducks.

    Feeling burned out and exhausted and needing a break is a pretty normal situation, doubly so if you carry this level of emotional stress with you. Time doesn’t heal, but healing does take time.

  2. thegreatfish Says:

    Yes.

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