Lately you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been lagging seriously behind on my original “weekly” commitment to blogging. The reason is: it’s hard! When I wrote secular pieces, I could shoot off any opinion I felt like: What president should you vote for? What’s the weirdest flavor of jelly? (After looking at the Smuckers website, it’s a tie between Guava and Mint Apple.) No matter what I wrote, I knew it was honest, because I was only claiming to state the current opinion that I personally had on that subject.
Fast forward to when I started doing writings about Jesus, and it got harder. First of all, I have to ask myself: does this agree not only with my own opinion but with God’s opinion? I often include scriptural references for anyone who wants to look further into a subject, but the references are as much for me as for my readers. It takes a lot of fact-checking to make sure that nothing I’m saying comes from a misremembered scripture, or something I assumed was in the Bible but wasn’t, or something I’ve thought of that’s just flat out wrong. In the book of Genesis, Satan tricks Eve into sinning by subtly misquoting God to Eve (Gen 3:1-5). This led to doubts about the real intent of God, even though the source of doubt was something that God didn’t even say. This is still the most common way that Satan hooks me, and it’s probably one of the most common ways He hooks other people, too. Let’s imagine we see a TV show where something terrible happens to a character. In the show, that character prays, but his prayers aren’t answered. It’s subtle, but after we watch the show, our faith is a little weakened. But why? Because God failed to answer the imaginary prayer of an imaginary person in an imaginary universe? Did God ever claim that was His job? Think through it, and you can probably think of a hundred places in books, movies, or Facebook memes, where Jesus or Christians or Christianity are presented as a failure, a weakness, a thing to be hated.
Before I get too dark, though, take heart. Jesus has faced this kind of opposition from the very beginning (John 1:10, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, Isaiah 53:3). He has placed Himself from the very beginning in a place where He knew He would be ridiculed and shamed (Psalm 22:6-8) and exposed to violence (Psalm 22). As His followers, we should expect no less (John 15:18-20). Only, let us tend to the precious fire inside ourselves, shielding it from the often raging winds of the outside world.
After all, it’s worth it.
In the coming weeks, I hope to come up with a fitting ending to the “God with a Regular Day Job” Series. It’s been something I’ve wanted to write about for years, but I underestimated seriously what a can of worms it would open for me. I’m leading up to the crucifixion and there are so many things in my mind now that I’ve never realized or ever thought about. It’s deeply shaken my faith, but in a good way, forcing me to go back to the very beginning and check my opinions, always checking, “did God actually say that?“