These days it seems authorial intent is an aside, an afterthought. What really matters is how the piece of music or poetry or prose made us feel and feelings are something we westerners are never short on. And so praise God for twitter and facebook, and someone thank Him for LinkedIn too, because without these outlets of immediacy, how would we ever know how anyone felt about anything?
This morning a short twitter exchange:
Him: Sometimes I need to be reminded of what I sometimes believe.
Me: Almost all the time I need to be reminded of what I almost never believe.
So this has me thinking about doubt this morning.
In my Old Testament class we began our study of Deuteronomy today. It is, in short, the paraphrase of the previous four books of the Bible and, in long, an instructive to remember and rejoice, remember and rejoice.
Forget authorial intent and even my innermost feelings, remembering and rejoicing slip my mind more than anything else.
Remember: what God intends, who He intends it for, and why.
Rejoice: that God has not forgotten me or His promises, or most of all, His faithfulness to His character and word.
The other night a friend challenged me deeply. I sat on my bed Indian style, while her words came across the phone, and eloquence aside, she finished with, “So get up off your ass and do something about this situation…” Lest you think she’s of the coarse, unfeeling sort, she sent me an epistle of love the next day filled with all sorts of right thinking and gospel truth.
Because I forget. I forget what God has done. I forget what He has promised. I forget what He does intend and not just how it all makes me feel.
This morning reading through the first few chapters of Deuteronomy with the rest of my class I’m reminded that there is cancer in that room and death, loneliness and confusion, joblessness and despair. In that room of 38 people who love Jesus deeply, who serve Him radically, who have been tapped on the shoulder by leadership at my church to come out and lead well, in that room of 38 people things do not always go well.
There are some of us asking: will we ever get to see the promised land? Has our sin been too great? Has His anger been too deep? Has our doubt been too strong?
And it’s not because we don’t know the gospel or the grand intent of God’s hand: it is because we do not remember the gospel and sometimes forget the grand intent of God’s hand.
So Deuteronomy is a sweet comfort to me today. Because it is a book about remembering and rejoicing—even if we never see what we think is promised to us. It is a book of history, of Ebenezers set at which to point and say, “Look what God has done thus far.” It is a book about God’s intentions, even when our feelings run rampant over truth.