There’s been a heap of talk and volumes written and conferences and sermons and arguments and ultimatums about what we believe and why we believe it.
And I’m right there in the thick of it.
I have so many questions about so many things I took for granted, so many things that some church big shot said long ago, so many things I believe but don’t really understand why. I’ve never felt such a weight of uncertainty.
But there is always that one question – or variations on the theme. The one Believers, us Jesus followers, kind of avoid. The one that stirs up mumbles and excuses and quick exits.
What about all those people who were never told the story of Jesus? Ever?
Who don’t put up a nativity scene or sing “Silent Night”?
Who worship fire, a goat, or carved sticks of wood because, according to the words most holy to them, that’s The Way?
Who are we to say?
We asked ourselves and our mentors and pastors and teachers. Many times. And the answers get pretty wild.
But to this day, no answer makes sense to me. No one has convinced me that God’s justice carries more weight than His mercy, love, and compassion.
Not that theological questions or answers need my approval. Or even my understanding.
But I keep getting drawn into those conversations… and there are some pretty strong words out there. Like Here’s the answer. I’m right. Case closed.
I’ve grown so weary of the arguments, the shaming, the shunning. I’m tired of being challenged to pick a side when in the company of debaters or stake a claim when I so clearly have not yet unearthed the answer for myself, despite years of digging in the confusion.
So, what IS the answer?
I DON’T KNOW.
And I don’t need to know. Maybe I’d like to know – maybe not. Maybe the case is closed, and I’ll understand better by and by. Maybe we are all wrong in every way.
For now, though, I’m not going to keep asking because I don’t need to know. And I don’t need to answer on God’s behalf or defend Him. And I will not declare absolutes about questions that drain every bit of mystery from His majesty.
What I do believe is this:
Jesus was who He said He was – the Son of God,
I am a precious and flawed human He loves.
At this holy time of year, my hope is that I will reveal those simple beliefs to the world —
by celebrating His long-ago birth, by recognizing what He sacrificed when He came to Earth, and by sharing the love He shows to me, with great joy and abandon, with everyone I meet.
And my hope is that you, too, not only this season but forever, sense His love and find joy in believing.
Until next Monday, I pray for you the blessing of belief and …
Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash