From Doubt to Faith, Part 2
In this post, I am providing the prayer-journal entries which lead up to the post « From Doubt to Faith, Part 1. » I would recommend reading that post before reading this one.
(after a very powerful exposition of Ezekiel 7)
Lord God, I can read your Word, I can write in the quiet privacy of my journal – but how can I tell anyone of this? How can I tell the educated, self-made man that a reality which he does no see is the ultimate reality, against which he will be judged?
Lord God, if this is all really true, seal thy words on my heart. Engrave them on my heart as upon a stone with a diamond-tipped pen: « Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand! »
If I really believed that, (believed it as surely as I believed that seat-belts save lives) I could preach it, and many would hear and believe. But how can I go unless I am sent? Here am I – send me!!
Lord, I am wrestling with 1 Timothy 1:5. I believe I have a pure heart and a good conscience – but what is this « sincere » or « unfeigned » faith? Last night my Father in Law (a Baptist Pastor) gave a simple exposition of the gospel call. I pretty much believe that. I mean, that is the simple, clear meaning of Scripture. And I do believe that the bible is Your Holy Book. So yes – the simple, true Gospel must be right (with all of the horrible implications of Hell along with it!)
But I confess to you that my faith is rather cerebral, superficial, hypocritical. I preach the Bible because it would be dishonest to preach anything else in church. But do I believe it? Finally? Unreservedly? Without hesitation or question?
Oh, how I wish I could answer « yes! » to that question!
God, how can it be expected of me to believe fully, simply, completely? I am not a simple man, and you have made me to think, and to question. My schools have honed my critical skills to a fine art, and I have studied many of the major skeptics and critics of Christianity in our day: how can I help but hear their voices in my head when Scriptures are being read?
Is not simple faith simplistic, anemic, shallow, useless, childish?
MY GOD! FAITH IS A GIFT! WHAT EVER COULD I DO TO EAR IT, TO MANUFACTURE IT, TO PERFECT IT?
….please, please, please, would you give to me a faith unfeigned?
Jesus: « Do you love me? »
(with many tears) Me: « Jesus, you know that I love you. »
Jesus: « How can you doubt the existence of one that you love? »
Today’s sermon was on false teaching. It was based upon the women who saw the empty tomb, and « preached » to the disciples that Jesus had been stolen. They saw the facts, but came to a wrong conclusion which lead to false teaching. Then, even when Mary saw Jesus, she did not understand. The pastor (my Father in Law) really emphasized the fact that even though Mary was speaking to Jesus, she spoke not as to the Son of God, but as to a Gardener. She down-graded Jesus to merely another human, just a laborer, just a gardener.
Something about this really stuck.
The Pastor said, « Then Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ One word, that’s all it took! Then real faith set in. She believed. And she responded, ‘Rabbi!’ »
I remember feeling the Spirit so strongly there was almost a light in the room before me.
« Josiah! »
« I hear you, I believe in you! »
« Would you let me be your teacher? »
I have been pondering this question all day. Let Him be my « rabbi »? What an exhilarating thought! ….yet something holds me back.
On the one hand, I wonder « If I were a disciple, with Jesus on earth, what would He have taught me? » Likely confronted my sin, taught me to love, opened my eyes to secrets of the kingdom, introduced me to the Father, commissioned me and sent me with power.
So what of this is available to me, today? All of it. I am even given an extra blessing, because I have « not seen, yet believe (John 20:29). This is all available to me through Scriptures, which were written that I may believe (John 20:31). Although I have not seen Him, I love Him, and rejoice with joy inexpressible (1 Pet. 1:8).
On the other hand, I wonder, « But can I trust Him? » How do I know He will not lead me astray?
[This latter question, which I left hanging in my journal, has gradually faded away as I have been learning to walk with increasing joy and confidence in simple obedience to Jesus these past weeks.]
Yes, Jesus, I wish you to be my teacher. Lead on, Rabbi!