I’ve been thinking a lot about faith and what I believe in regards to my relationship with God. Reading Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz really opened my eyes to the many ways that our belief in God can be expressed. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend it.
A few weeks ago my pastor preached from Daniel, using the well-known story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. While I know this story, it really resonated with me that Sunday; and since then, I’ve been telling myself that I want to have faith like the 3 Hebrew boys. Here is (to me) the best part of the story:
…and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
How awesome is that, to not only refuse to worship these idols, but to say in the face of danger that EVEN IF God does not rescue me, I STILL won’t worship you? Man…I am striving to say that to my circumstances. Yes, I do believe that God will bring me out, but EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, I still won’t waver in my faith and worship to him. That is so amazing…
Even as I say all of this, I wonder why it’s so hard for Christians to admit that there are times where we struggle with our faith. The other night while having dinner with some of the other ministerial staff members, I was talking about the students who were killed in Columbine after telling the shooters they believed in Jesus. I said that if they came to me in the same situation, I would LOVE to think that I would admit that I am most definitely a believer; however, I can’t HONESTLY say that I would, especially with a gun in my face, knowing that you’ve just killed a few people moments before.
After I said that, they all looked at me like I was crazy and it was SILENT. I was irked because I felt like I had broken a cardinal commandment of “Thou shalt not admiteth thy struggles with faith”. If you can’t be honest with those in the body of Christ, who can you really be honest with?
And with that…I’m signing off. Wishing you God’s love, peace, and blessings!
August 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm
Erin, find peace in knowing that
1) you were honest and God rewards that and
2) none of us – the ministerial staff included – really knows what we will do until that situation happens
August 27, 2007 at 4:56 pm
I’m with Gene, as far as not knowing what we would do until that situation arises.
I’m just like you, in that I would really like to think I would be bout it, ride or die “the lord is my light, whom shall I fear,” but that’s easier said than done.
The other part about being honest is, from my experience only a small part of churches (my church included) deal in reality. They want to create the perception that, similar to marriage, that everything is perfect. That it’s like a fairy tale.
When really just like a marriage, being a Christian takes work, you have to constantly toil and attempt to improve.
August 27, 2007 at 9:55 pm
I agree with everyone…like I told you earlier, every Peter denied Jesus three times. This man walked and talked to Jesus. Jesus loved this man like a brother, yet he still denied him. None of know what we would do in that situation. Like Rell said, I am still working on my walk, we all are…
August 28, 2007 at 5:20 pm
I mean look at how we respond to the “challenges” we ALREADY deal with. Most of us get nervous when there’s more bills than money or when something else goes wrong. If we can’t handle those things, surely many of us would trip with a gun to our faces.
Rell hit it on the head with religion’s – not to be confused with faith’s – inability to deal with reality sometimes. It’s sad because we all suffer because of it – especially those who are unsaved and deal in reality more than many of us.
August 28, 2007 at 10:46 pm
I really enjoyed the link, especially this info regarding people who’s relationships are “so personal” that they don’t connect with bodies of faith:
“There is no way to test that person’s soul. One is not to separate oneself from the community. We don’t live on tops of mountains or in remote places. Judaism is a religion that demands interaction with people.”
And this regarding superficial, surface level faith:
“Most people accept God as a reality and don’t explore any further than that. As we accept freedom and don’t ask what it means,” he says. “They accept God on a very superficial level and don’t wrestle with what it means to have a personal, intimate relationship with God and what God’s role is in the universe. Is he an intrusive God or is he a nonintrusive God who observes? Is he a God who inspires or a God that physically will step in and make changes? Did he inspire Jonas Salk to come up with a cure for polio, or was it inspiration and not dramatic intrusion?”