Sunday, November 16, 2008

When the World Presses In

It's so hard to be a person of faith in this world sometimes, particularly when the people you love most cock a skeptical eyebrow at your faith or look askance at your invitation for them to join you at church for Christmas. Sometime those looks or the perceived thoughts and feelings behind the looks can really get you down -- at least they get me down. It isn't easy to swim upstream against the current.

And then I read this verse: "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first" - John 15:18 (NLT) (Jesus speaking to his disciples in the gospel of John).

I figure that if the world hated Jesus, who am I to think the world should love me? So I made that my Bible verse of the week, the one I would commit to memory and recall throughout my day. This verse will, I know, stick with me much longer than a week. It will be my touchstone for those moments in which I feel the world is coming down on me, when I feel alone in my faith and in my walk with God. It will remind me that Jesus faced the same challenges we all face because he was fully human in addition to being fully God.

Recently I read the book "The Shack" (Wm. Young) which presented the Holy Trinity in a unique and awe-inspiring way. I don't want to give anything away, but let me say that it was one of the most comforting books I've ever read. If you find yourself feeling distant from God or if you're feeling that if there was a God, He wouldn't let these bad things happen in the world, read this book. If you need a little boost to your faith, read this book. And if you're at the end of your rope, read this book.

The verse and the book have done more to bring God's love, faithfulness, and steadfastness home to me than anything I've encountered in a long time. My closer walk with God continues. He is more real to me than anything in this world, and I love Him.

Peace - D