Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Faith When the GPS Breaks

This is the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac as it really happened, starring comedian Jonathan Katz as God. See full story below.

By faith, Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  -Hebrews 11:8

Every once in a while I spend my morning with the old devotional classic, Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman.  With the exception of the poems there, which are often a throwback to the cheesy sentimentality of a different age, I often find its reflections both an encouraging and realistic account of the Christian life.  Which, as the book admits, is often one of walking “in the dark” and muddling our way through the wilderness, so to speak- not knowing where you’re going but trusting that God is your trustworthy companion.

Today’s reflection is a reminder of this. So much of life is spent in this existential space of “not knowing where we’re going.”  Even if in one arena of our life we may have it together or know our destination, there’s usually at any given time a whole other realm in which we feel paralyzed by indecision or confusion, or unable to see the way forward.

Any manner of things can conspire to ruin our vision, but usually it involves pain and suffering of some sort.  When we’re discouraged, afraid, lonely or depressed or in a place of temptation or great stress, our own hearts can, as 1 John instructs, “condemn” us.  They can blind us to the reality of a God who is with us and holds out God’s very best for us.

And maybe it is precisely in these spaces that God seeks to give us faith.  Not faith in our ultimate destination, but faith in God’s very Self to carry us through when we can’t see where we’re going.  In this sense, the more “lost” we may feel, the better: it means that we have more opportunities to find our home in the One who travels with us; to wake up to and become conscious of the love of One who is closer than our breath.  When we’re lost like this, it matters less where we’re going than who we’re traveling with, and that we’re willing to keep putting one foot in front of the other regardless of how lost we may feel.

I take heart in the reminder that Abraham, the so-called “father of faith” in the Judeo-Christian tradition, hadn’t a clue where he was going, either.  He got so lost in places that he even outsourced his wife not just once but twice to powerful men; took a mistress whom he then literally dumped; and managed to sire a son of his own in his geriatric years, only to then almost kill him.  How’s that for dysfunctional?

In all of that, Hebrews tells us that Abraham managed to keep believing that God was with him and carrying him through.  That, I think, is the qualitative distinction between one who “believes” and one who doesn’t.  Most of us regardless of our creed will lose our way, often more than once in this life.  When we keep believing in these hard places that God is with us- despite our mess-ups, blindness and blunders- we make a pretty radical claim about the nature of reality.  Because a God who is “with us” is also, implicitly, calling us to God’s very Self and the inherent richness and purpose of a life in Him.

YouTube Preview Image

 



Previous Posts

The Neuroscience of Temptation
It's been too long. I hope you're enjoying God and life. That next book I'm working on is now evolving into a book about addiction and mental illness—and how churches can and must learn to love and wel

posted 1:52:23am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Brokenness—as Creative Tension?
This morning a meditation from Paula Ripple's Growing Strong at Broken Places sparks some thoughts about embracing brokenness as the very site where God seeks to form us, like a master po

posted 10:13:15am Oct. 03, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—The Worship Service To End All Worship Services
It's been a while since we've had a mental health break. As a little bit of comic relief at the start of another work week, this clip from a worship service somewhere in America comes from saint and sinner Paul. The comments from readers are just about as funny as the weird break dancing routine in

posted 2:12:30am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Christian Purity: Is God's Mission Possible When Purity Rules?
I had a really weird, somewhat distressing interaction this week, and it is still on my mind days later. It's one of those uncomfortable encounters that you would like to press the "replay" butt

posted 1:40:13pm Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Jesus and the Rich Man: A Sermon on the "Hitler" of Passages.
It's rare that I find myself thinking about Sunday's sermon midweek. This Sunday our pastor Drew Ditzel preached on the familiar story of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10). The rich man, who says he has kept all the commandments perfectly and has lived a righteous life, comes to Jesus asking what mor

posted 10:40:08am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.