A Meditation on Job

Yup, that’s right. I’m writing about suffering. Again. But with tomorrow being Palm Sunday and Easter right around the corner, it seems appropriate this time.

I’ve been meditating on the Book of Job lately. I mean, really turning it over in my head. We all know the story: Job was a really righteous man. To prove the depth of his devotion, God allowed Satan to destroy everything Job owned. Job continued to worship and, in the end, God blessed him with twice as much as he had before.

It’s a wonderful story, according to my faith tradition. Yeah, Job suffered. A lot. He lost everything. It was terrible. But then he got it all back in a double portion! Just for being faithful! Yay! Let’s celebrate God’s goodness!

Simple, right?

I wish. Continue reading

Advertisements

When you’re right where He wants you

Image from letthepreistsarise.com

When I was about 19 years old, God gave me a vision for a speaking and teaching ministry. I won’t go into the details of the vision here, but suffice to say it’s significant enough to get me choked up whenever I do share it. I knew at the time that said ministry would be a ways down the road for me, so I wasn’t anxious about it. I had a lot of growing still to do, and I was willing to wait for God’s timing.

In the past decade or so, God has given me small opportunities to share sermons and devotionals with groups of people. These special moments have stirred my soul and made me hungry for the bigger vision on the horizon. Still, it has felt like a distant thing…something much further than arm’s length away…

Until recently. Continue reading

Forgetting What is Behind

Greetings, gentle readers. I hope this Lenten season finds you well.

I’m sure from the title, you have surmised what this post will address. After all, about 90% of my posts since November have had to do with my struggles with an old pain. And there seems to be no end to those insufferable (I mean, er…inspirational) Internet memes in my Facebook feed that constantly admonish me to just “forget it and let it all go.”

Well, you’d be wrong. 🙂

I was doing research for another topic the other day and stumbled across Philippians 3, where the Apostle Paul speaks about “forgetting what is behind.” And after reading what he wrote, I wondered for a second if he had utterly lost his mind and I had signed up for the wrong religion: Continue reading

Into the Deep Waters

Image from Woman of Color

I want to start by saying something that I would like every one to notice carefully. It is this. If this chapter means nothing to you, if it seems to be trying to answer questions you never asked, drop it at once. […] There are certain things in Christianity that can be understood from the outside, before you have become a Christian. But there are a great many things that cannot be understood until after you have gone a certain distance along the Christian road. […] They are directions for dealing with particular crossroads and obstacles on the journey and they do not make sense until a man has reached those places. […] There will come a day, perhaps years later, when you suddenly see what it meant.  –C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Today, I want to talk about a box and a boat and a journey toward the greatest romance of our lives. I want to talk about beaches and oceans and a place known as the deep waters. Continue reading

How the Bible contradicts itself and why it’s not a problem.

The graph of biblical contradictions

Growing up under fundamentalism, I spent a lot of time defending the Bible. After all, I loved the Bible–Old and New Testament. Still do. It has been my life manual, my source of wisdom, and (most recently) a divine source of comfort. Nothing else quite sets my heart at peace like reading and meditating upon the scriptures.

Unfortunately, I was taught to read the scriptures only one way–according to the narrow doctrine of my church. In that view, the Bible had only one message, and that message was crystal clear to everyone who wasn’t blinded, in some way, by the world and its sinful liberalism. According to my church, the Bible contained absolutely nothing contradictory; it all lined up perfectly from beginning to end and could be explained in absolute terms.

So imagine my shock when people outside my faith tradition began pointing out ideas and messages in the Bible that actually were contradictory. Imagine further my surprise when I began discovering some of these conflicts on my own. For instance: Continue reading