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Monday, April 4, 2016

Way



John 14:1, 4, "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in me...  You know the way to the place where I am going" (NIV).

The other day, I tossed John 14:1 to a friend who is going through an incredibly difficult time.  This verse has been a source of comfort to me on many occasions.  It still is, but this morning there is a caveat.  The way to the place where Jesus is going?  It's suffering.  And suddenly I'm wondering if I chose the wrong verse.

Please don't misunderstand.  If you read this in context you'll see that Jesus is the way.  Jesus is sending the Holy Spirit to be with us as we follow the way.  There is hope and healing and covenant, and things are going to work out OK.  But Jesus' way is not easy.  It's just not.

Throughout the biblical narrative, faith and fear are juxtaposed. There are some passages that are even confusing at times.  As an example, while reading about the parting of the red sea, we learn that the Israelites put their faith in God because of their fear of God.  I'm just going to say it.  I don't "get" that.  It doesn't make sense.

Over and over again, Scripture instructs us not to fear.  I read somewhere that there are 365 references that say "fear not" or "do not be afraid" or something of the sort.  I have not verified this.  The skeptical side of me thinks it might just be a clever evangelical catchphrase to encourage people to be fearless every day of the year.  Either way, we do know there are many places where we are encouraged to fear not, to fear less, etc.          

Let me be abundantly clear and very real.  For someone who struggles with anxiety, this is no easy task.  There is almost something comforting about knowing that faith and fear can coexist, at least sometimes, because life is scary, and in all of my many imperfections; I would like to believe that faith and I can coexist.  Yeah, that thought was pretty real.  Excellent.  Just what I was going for...

There is a part of me that wants to tie this up neatly, but as I sit here looking for the last line that packs a significant punch to end this post, I can't find it.  I think this might be because life is messy.  It's OK.  We still know the way.  So breathe in... and breathe out... and then do it again...
 
L.

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