I remember moments of ceaseless activity, at other times waning. Morning Bible reading and prayer, church services and Bible studies, leading and attending this and that group. Was the fire true? Now it seems like struck matches that never stayed alight; flint without enough energy for the weak kindling. My activities and readings and prayers and goodness were short-lived sparks that never made fire. Forced attempts at being good and spiritual—and “right.” Now I let the ashes scatter; I follow wherever the wind takes them.
I am not strong enough to battle the past. The seeds were planted so deeply throughout so many years and I struggle to uproot them. There is the fear of being misguided or deceived or wrong; the fear that we are not doing enough, that we are not enough; the fear that we are walking away from the uncomfortable truth for some comfortable lie; the fear of eternal hell. What do we keep, and what do we leave behind? We are walking away but can’t stop looking back. It can be paralyzing. Will we turn into that pillar of salt for looking back at what we thought was the truth? Or for looking forward at what might not be the truth?
I remember all the talk of deception. We can’t trust our hearts because our hearts (sometimes or often) deceive us. So to follow our hearts is to open ourselves up to the possibility of deception.
But the talk was so full of contradictions, either ignored or fancifully explained away. God being a good, loving God who keeps hold of us, who won’t leave or forsake us, no matter what, is also a God who can leave us quite easily, it would seem.
So I ask: which God is it? One who releases us to hell (now or then) at our first denial (Judas), or who forgives and brings us back when we deny him (Peter)? I know, Judas took his own life, but it was a prophesied fate—he was trapped. Peter was not destined to fall. So why did one perish, and why was one saved?
I’ll keep asking: which God is it? The one who knows our hearts despite all appearances, or who only judges us by our fruits? The one who kills his own son to appease his own wrath or the one who is himself killed in the deepest, most intimate and sacrificial act of love?
We must all keep asking.
(This is not an attempt to answer, only to encourage the question.)