Saturday, March 09, 2013

Schizophrenic Christianity

The call came as I was driving home. The wife claimed she was getting a restraining order. Per the message I had two hours to go home, pack and leave the premises. This I did and immediately set out in search of a hotel. I spent the next four weeks sleeping in hotels. I slept in five or six hotels during that time. I hated asking if they had long-term rates, was ashamed to admit I was living out of a car trunk and a suitcase. I couldn’t go home and I had no idea where I was going to live. This was the beginning of the end of my marriage. I knew that God was in control. I didn’t know what that looked like or what the outcome would be.

I suspect that to many my Christianity looks schizophrenic. In the midst of difficult circumstances I believe with Spurgeon that I have, “present things working together for (my) good, and future things to unravel (my) happier portion.” How can I say that God ‘orders troubles and pain’ when the circumstance appears dark and desperate? It may seem Pollyanna to believe that ‘all things work together for good,’ and that I get Heaven in the end. I hold to that hope yet pray for God to change the circumstance.

Here’s the greater divide. I pray to God to change our circumstance and end the prayer in Jesus’ name. Yet God didn’t change His circumstance. I believe that through His brutal death, burial and in His resurrection we have access. I pray for God to take away the painful thing ending the prayer, “Thy will be done.”

I type this at a desk in the house I began renting at the end of those four weeks. In the kitchen my wife of two bliss filled years is grinding coffee for tomorrows breakfast. The story has a happy ending but there was no knowing that mid-plot. At that point the only choice was to hold tightly to Him who ‘did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.’ In the words of Jesus, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Call it paradox, call it schizophrenic, call it foolish but in the end, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

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