Belief & Doubt

God’s Arm Seems Longer Somehow

Holy Week, for many of us, is a particular time of reflection. Isaiah 59 is not traditionally a Lenten, Holy Week or Easter passage. But it has, in the past few years, been the touchstone to which I return to as I contemplate the state of my own heart in light of the Cross. This post, first scratched out in the early morning light of near-Easter 2009 and run here every year since, marks the place where God said, “Here and no further,” turning me back from a dark descent in His firm but tender insistence the Covenant has no loophole, that He did not end that blackest of Fridays having spent all of Jesus’ blood and now drowning in buyer’s remorse.

I read this again this morning and while I know the fierce intensity that first pushed these words out, today that doubt does not feel so close at hand. His arm seems longer, somehow, than it has in years.

Just how long is Your arm, Father? How long is long enough for me?

The question formed as I knelt beside a queen bed in a hotel squeezed between Iowa cornfields. I rose early and lingered there before joining the growing crowd of family in the breakfast nook downstairs. I flipped through thin pages looking for Isaiah 59, wanting just one thing. I felt hungrier for the sustaining words of this one short verse than for an AmericInn breakfast no matter what the ads say. (more…)


Whatever Idiotic Way We Can

I always thought I came to Jesus on May 11.

It was Mother’s Day 1975. I was eleven.

That’s what the baptismal certificate says, anyway.

The Saturday night before, I called my parents into my bedroom. They sat on either side and my scrawny legs hung off the side of my twin bed with the wadded up blankets because I didn’t then, and do not now, find much use in straightening sheets that would just mess up again. I told them I knew it was time. I cried.

I’d seen it done. You were supposed to cry.

(more…)


But Does He Have the Ganas?

But Is He Willing?
Mark 1:40-45

But Is He Willing?

Around the table, fingers flipped through thin white pages and skimmed headings and margin notes for a clue as to the whereabouts of a story that may, or may not exist.

My class of good sports let doubt fall to my favor, not quite ready to confirm or deny whether I’d made the story up. I couldn’t even confirm or deny, truth be told.

We had to move on before we answered it. So the assignment for our next meeting? Browse the Gospels to see if, in fact, Jesus did have this conversation I had imagined.

:: (more…)


Sifted as Wheat

Sifted as Wheat
Luke 22Sifted as Wheat

Satan asked to sift them as wheat.

I eavesdropped on the cosmic conversation between the Lover and the enemy of my soul, and my knees didn’t feel like they were made to hold up a whole body any more. Good that they were already on the floor.

I read the text again and wondered, How often?

How commonplace is it for the evil one to strut into the Throne Room and demand to shovel the Father’s beloved into a sieve to be shaken up and banged around and knocked right through the screen?

How often does it happen, this discussion?

(more…)


Shortening God’s Arm

Shortening God's Arm

Shortening God's Arm

Indulge me another repost? I’m regrouping a bit. Some of these from the archives have much more to say than I do at the moment.

::

Just how long is Your arm, Father? How long is long enough for me?

The question formed as I knelt beside a queen bed in a hotel squeezed between Iowa cornfields. I rose early and lingered there before joining the growing crowd of family in the breakfast nook downstairs. I flipped through thin pages looking for Isaiah 59, wanting just one thing. I felt hungrier for the sustaining words of this one short verse than for an AmericInn breakfast no matter what the ads say. (more…)