One friend and then four more told me this week they hope for me what I hope for myself, and that is to be picked, chosen, and loved. More than one friend and a few more have said the word deserve and when they do the blackest parts of me come to my mind’s eye and I disbelieve everything they say from then on. A lie may be small (Did God really say?) but its infractions are limitless.
Today I am driving home from class, the sunrise to my back and a row of 100 cars stopping and going, stopping and going in front of me. I am thinking of Job’s friends. Their comfort to his plight was how any of us would respond—with good wishes and you deserves and reminders of good deeds checked off: So why is God not near then? Did He really say?
We speak statements veiled in questions, buffered by doubting inflections so our collective unbelief sounds less wrought with sin than it is.
To ask if God really said what He did indeed say is virtually the same as if to say He did not really say.
In class this morning we read a passage from Genesis that a man read over me a decade ago. He put his hand on my head and promised that if I would do as this man of old did, I would taste of the same richness of relationship in life he did. I set my feet there and I have not moved.
If you were to make a list of my good deeds you could check them off, each one. If you were to cup a portion of the love I have given, you could fill a lot of hearts. I say that because I have so many convinced that I deserve God to come through, make good on what was seemingly promised.
And yet He does not.
And He might not. Not in the way I think He should.
We read about how Abraham died before he saw what was promised and I wanted to shake my fist at God for one moment. How could you promise him and then not deliver!? How could you hold that promise far off like a carrot in front of the face of a working mule? All this, for this? For nothing?
It is no secret that I am doubting Thomas. I know Thomas more than I know any other disciple. I need to thrust my hands into my Lord’s side, my fingers into his hollowed out hands. I need Him to walk through walls and I’m not ashamed of that.
Faith needs people who will ask and not stop asking.
But today I am seeing my doubt for what it is. My asks should not be statements punctuated with question marks.
They should bring me further into the light, not the darkness.
Further into His character, not my own.
Further into joy, not sorrow.
Further into what He did say, and not what I think He might have said.