Thinking that some magical sky fairy will take care of your problems is a problem in itself.
The words appeared in my Twitter feed today in response to a recent article I posted there. I have seen them before, or at least similar words.
The young lady who wrote them doesn’t believe in God. She is not alone in her unbelief.
I want to strike back. Ugly words come in response to her mocking ones. I can’t help it. They rise without permission—a natural reaction from a human standpoint.
Immediately, I realize I will never say them. It is not who I am—or, more to the point—not the person He is making me. But, I want to examine her motivation, to wonder publicly why someone who claims there is no God would be so vigilant to mock those who believe in Him. Perhaps, I should write about that.
But I wonder. I wonder.
What if this is not about her? Do I really believe in some sky fairy? Is that what God is to me?
Click your heels together three times and repeat the words, there’s no place like home.
Is that all this is? Is it all humbug? Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
My mind races as I review the evidence. I want desperately to be able to speak intelligent and convincing words. I know I’m supposed to be ready to give an answer—to explain the hope I have deep inside.(1 Peter 3:15)
But then, I remember that I can’t convince anyone; it’s not my job. I will give the answer. That is my job.
The convincing? That’s way above my pay grade. (John 16:8)
So? Is it real? Do I live as if it is?
A few weeks ago, I came back from my childhood home with treasures. They are items which have little value to any other human being on this planet, but which are priceless to me. My memories are tied up in many of them.
Last Sunday, three generations of my family gathered, as we do each week, to sit around the dining room table and make new memories. I thought perhaps it was time to inject an old one into the conversation.
As I prepared the table earlier, I cleaned and filled a glass and aluminum container with little white granules. Then I set the old salt shaker down in the center of the table to await the arrival of our guests.
Five generations. Five generations of my family have used that salt shaker now. I flavored mashed potatoes and vegetables from that shaker at my grandmother’s table when I was not even as old as my youngest grandchild is now.
Five generations. Lovely folk I have personally interacted with. Members of each of those generations have asked their questions and made their decisions to follow the same God. I’m sure there were others before them. I trust there will be more to follow.
I can’t help it. My brain just works that way. The mental picture was more real to me than the actual photo.
The Teacher made it clear that His followers were exactly that. Salt. And light. Salt to help preserve the world. Light to show them the way. (Matthew 5:13-16)
We must keep our lives fresh and relevant. We can’t hide the light that shines from within us, or fade into the background.
Funny. The instructions I remember better right now have to do with the words we say. Let speech be flavored with grace, as though seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6)
The other instructions have to do with how we act. In the middle of a world bent on evil and twisted living, we need to shine like stars beaming out of the blackness of the universe. (Philippians 2:15)
It’s real. The God I follow is not fake, not made up. Of that, I am convinced.
I’ve asked the questions. Again. And again. I’ve asked the questions and had them answered. Like those before me and those who are coming after me, I believe because I’ve seen the evidence in walking, talking witnesses. Folks who are salt and light.
I will follow in their footsteps, because others are following in mine.
And others are watching from a distance.
They are watching. And mocking.
And perhaps, asking their own questions.
I hope it’s not too much to ask if they can be preserved long enough to see the light shining in their own darkness.
I want to be salt. And light.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
(Colossians 4:5-6 ~ NASB)
Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.
(Karl Barth ~ Swiss theologian ~ 1886-1968)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.