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Friday, June 11, 2010

The Light in the Darkness – How Reading a Vampire Book Taught Me More about Faith - In Search of the Voice - part 2

(click for previous chapter: In Search of the Voice - part 1)

For those of us who have experienced a spiritual wilderness, we understand Bella’s reaction to having the light removed from her life.

A spiritual wilderness can begin in a number of ways – an acute disappointment, a financial crisis, the loss of a love, the consequences of sin, an illness, a backstabbing, a traumatic event, an unexpected disaster. The desolation and shock these catalysts leave in their wake can eat you alive, drag you down, crush your spirit, cut out your heart. You feel like you’re dying, except you wake up to feel excruciating pain instead. And the bustling, seemingly oblivious and insensitive world expects you to carry on somehow.

In those moments, God seems to be very, very far away. Far away, and completely silent.

Experience shapes belief, whether we like it or not. Our perspective on what happens to us or the people we love plays a gigantic part in how we see life, ourselves, and God. And it absolutely affects the relationship between us and our Perfect Lover.

Beliefs, therefore, drive reactions, especially to tough circumstances.

When something bad happens in our lives, is the first thought – God must not love me?

Yet, we find ourselves in a quandary because He’s told us so many times before that He does, indeed, love us with an unfailing love.

Faith takes a damaging blow. Sometimes a fatal one.

What do we do in such impossible circumstances?

We have to seek His voice. And to hear it, we must have it inside, have absorbed it and know it and be able to recognize it. Like Bella says at the beginning of New Moon, before her wilderness starts: “I didn’t need to look to know who it was; this was a voice I would know anywhere – know, and respond to, whether I was awake or asleep… or even dead, I’d bet… Edward.” (NM, pg.2)

When Bella first hears Edward’s voice, she describes it as a gift, but also as a delusion. She believes the concern in his tone of voice not because she believes it is true, but because she wants to believe it is true. And throughout her wilderness, that alone keeps her going.

God’s Word and His Holy Spirit are our gifts from Him, conduits of His Voice. His promises are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20), but if we do not believe them, they won’t bring us comfort. It’s up to us to believe what He promises. But sometimes our problems weigh so heavy and inflict such pain that belief is difficult to grasp. In that situation, believing God’s promises simply because we want to believe them could carry us through the wilderness and be our only motivation to keep going.

God’s Word is living and breathing (Heb. 4:12), so whether we believe it or not, it is true and works like a sword to battle on our behalf against the enemies that have come against us. Voicing His Word and promises does the work, even if our faith has dwindled to the size of a tiny mustard seed.

When you are in your darkest, most lonely place, God’s Voice is there drawing you through the trouble. Pursue it, and you will again see the light.

Beware, because doubt will accompany you back into the arms of your Perfect Lover, whispering in your ear the fears your wilderness subjected, threatening the faith that already has taken a beating.

It’s like Edward trying to convince Bella that he had always loved her, and that she needed to believe his motivations for leaving her were because of that love. He makes a few good arguments, ones I like to imagine God asking me when I come up against an unmovable mountain:

But I never imagined it would be so easy to do! I thought it would be next to impossible – that you would be so sure of the truth that I would have to lie through my teeth for hours to even plant a seed of doubt in your head… But how could you believe me? After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me?” (NM, Pg.510)

Why can you believe the lie, but not the truth?” (NM, pg. 511)

Bella’s response to that reveals my heart too:

It never made sense for you to love me.” (NM, pg 511)

Look, it doesn’t make sense for God to love us like He does, for Jesus to sacrifice His throne and His life and His dignity to save ours, for our Perfect Lover to pursue us after we’ve spit in His face and told Him we don’t want Him. Sense has nothing to do with it. The fact of the matter is that He does love us, and no matter what happens here in this life, all He asks in return is that we have faith in that love. To believe the truth, not the lie, in all seasons of life. To listen to His voice and trust in His Promises. To know without a shadow of a doubt, whether the phase of life finds us as a full moon, bathed in His light, or as a new moon, in complete darkness, He is still there, and we will come into His full light once again.

You might ask yourself, though, especially in the midst of your starkest wilderness, why, if our Perfect Lover really loves us so much, must we endure the wilderness at all?

My thoughts on that Monday. For now, enjoy your weekend, and as always, thanks for visiting Dry Ground.

(click for next chapter: Flirting with the World - The Other Choice)

(photos by photobucket.com)

1 comments:

lynnrush said...

NICE!!!

"Never made sense for you to love me." I remember that line well!!! And yes, it reveals my heart too.

Nice insight here.