Faith and Fear Hold Hands

I went to a prayer meeting yesterday. First time I’ve been to one of those in a long time. Also read the Timothy’s. First time I’ve picked up a Bible too (okay, well it was my phone).

The skepticism continues. As the prayer leader described the demon of pleasure, I rolled my eyes. Apparently that demon looks like a man with a goat head.

When I read Paul’s extortion to Timothy, I see sexism and slavery propagation.

It’s like the questions that have been asked can’t go back in the box. Like toothpaste. Once it’s out, it’s not going back in.

And yet, in spite of the questions, critiques, and frustrations, I see evidence like God is there. It’s as though I’m close on His trail.

A broken twig. Tracks in the mud. Warm embers from a fire.

The first sign was my most recent blog post and other moments like it. Moments where I feel so weak and unsure, and yet it affects people. I’m broken and bleeding, but somehow it brings a level of healing to those around me.

The second was the demonic-goat-headed man. Yes, I’m unsure of all that. You start talking about this spirit or that demon and I just back away slowly. Those circles have produced more abuse to me than “deliverance”. But as the man spoke of pleasure, how he spoke of God being the author of pleasure, and that pleasure is not found outside of God, but in Him, I weakened.

How long have I believed pleasure is for moments in the dark, hidden away? How long have I believed that God was trying to rob me of pleasure, rather than authoring it in my life?

The imitation continues—He offers abundant life. He’s not trying to rob me. He’s trying to awaken me.

But slumber has become a comfort, and dreams seem more real. I doubt.

The arms of a lover offered so much. Pleasure. Purpose. Passion. And all the other alliterations that start with “p” including Penis.

How would God come through to provide those longings? Why does God not feel enough? Why isn’t God here in flesh and bone holding me? That would be enough. But He’s not. And the body he’s left behind can kinda be a dick at times. We flee intimacy. We hide our dark side. We bicker against one another, claiming we have the correct truth. And in the midst of pain, we demand holiness from a people that are tired and weary and broken.

How is this burden lighter? Where is the power that was promised?

And yet the broken twigs, the muddied tracks, and the cooling embers.

How do we reconcile these things? How do hope and doubt exist in cohabitation? How do faith and cynicism shake hands?

In broken flesh. A broken flesh God hopes to bring hope through. Stumbling in the dark as we may be, He whispers, “I’ve got ya. Keep coming. I’m not scared by your frustration and pain. I see it. Just come a step more. Come a bit closer. That’s it. You’re almost there.”

The hard part is that those words and that existence are our lot. When we arrive, we’ll be dead in the mud. But maybe in that space, freed from fear and doubt, there will be a smile that says, “You dared to keep hope burning, though cynicism rained upon you. You dared to hold onto faith, though pain grappled you.”

He doesn’t smile when the lights turn on and fear dissipates. That takes no courage. That takes no faith. He smiles when we dare to take one more step in the midst darkness, reaching out with trembling hands and bloodied knees.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela

In the desert, comes this song, “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, your God will come and make a highway in the wilderness. Life will break forth from the hot desert sand, and I will bring you home.” – Isaiah 35 with creative license

To those who doubt and wonder what the fuck is this all for? I get it. I’m right there with you. But let’s dare to hope.

Thanks for reading.

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