“If you do not stand firm in your faith; you will not stand.” Isaiah 7:9
I had a conversation with a friend recently that has set me a bit on edge. I love my friend dearly; we have been there for each other through thick and thin. I respect her and the devotion she has for God. And because of who she is and who we are as friends, her words have more weight with me and I do not brush them off lightly. So words and thoughts from this latest conversation have been swirling around in my head and not finding a place or a way to rest. I have found conviction in them? I have found a need to look once again look at my faith? Not sure.
Woke very early this morning, 3:30 to be exact, still trying to understand why I am on edge. “OK, girl, it is time to get out your Bible and have some one on one time with the Big Guy.” No clue where to start reading so I just opened it to where I had left my pencil in my Bible from my last reading. I was reading. It was reading like nonsense to me. I was thinking, “what is the message in this? Makes no sense.” Then I came upon the above verse and I stopped reading further. Those words were for me right now, in this moment……but still not understanding.
So I picked up a book that I have been reading on and off for much too long, I don’t know why some things just seem to take me forever! This book is by Nadia Bolz-Weber and is entitled, “Accidental Saints.” Once again started reading where I had left off weeks ago. Nadia is speaking to a stadium packed with teenagers and she feels completely out of her element. The following is a large excerpt from that talk. “Somebody with my past of alcoholism and drug abuse and promiscuity and lying and stealing shouldn’t be allowed to talk to you. But you know what? Somebody with my present, who I am now, shouldn’t be allowed to either. I am a sarcastic, heavily tattooed, angry person who swears like a truck driver! I am a flawed person who really should not be allowed to talk to you. But you know what? That’s the God we are dealing with, people!’
“Let me tell you about this God. God has always used imperfect people, this God is a God who walked among us and who ate with all the wrong people and kissed lepers. I told them that this is a God who rose from the dead and grilled fish on the beach with his friends and then ascended to heaven is especially present to us in the most offensively ordinary things: wheat, wine, words. I told them that this God has never made sense.
“And you don’t need to either, because this God will use you, this God will use all of you, and not just your strengths, but your failures and your failings. Your weakness is fertile ground for a forgiving God to make something new and to make something beautiful,…” (found on page 38)
You see this faith where we so often talk about “following God” is just that. As believers our job is to continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord. No matter where we have been, no matter what we have done, no matter where we are now; we are to grow one on one with the Creator of the universe. He wants that relationship and in that relationship is found the answers to our questions. I love the Bible but the Bible is not the answer…..God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is. We can not, should not live by rules and regulations and I think that way too many of us are trying so hard to get it right, to do the right thing that we get caught up in what we read as the rules for Christian living in the Bible. If we read the big picture instead of Webster’s meaning for the words, we see that all of creation, everything, points us to a relationship with God.
My conversation with my friend disturbed me because I was once again trying to figure out the right and or wrong of my life, instead of standing on my faith and trusting the relationship that the Trinity and I have developed over this past 40 years. Friends are wonderful. It is always great to have support and be able to throw ideas around and receive advice, but I would encourage you and me to never put that before standing on the relationship with Christ. For without that ….”you will not stand.”