Friday, November 23, 2007

believe

Sometimes I wonder if this is all a practical joke. Or simply a fairy tale. If we invented God - a god - just so life would make more sense. Funny, it really doesn't mean things make much more sense most of the time. So that theory isn't quite reliable.

But still, sometimes I wonder.

As Conor and I drove home from our Thanksgiving dinner, I found myself at a crossroads. Sellers was merrily chatting in the backseat, and it just hit me: I'm either going to believe this stuff or I'm not. God, either You exist and I can't figure You out and I'm really, really mad - or this is totally a hoax. Can you seriously tell someone they don't exist? What's the point of saying it at all?

I know I'm not alone. I'm one of a million people out there - and that's just this second - who are suffering. Angry. Hurting. Shattered. Heartbroken. Confused.

There are millions - millions - of people in India who spend each day defined by a caste system that their government long ago declared unjust and antiquated. These people - men, women, children - are called Dalits. Untouchables. Literally. Their children are unable to dip water from the local wells because their sweet, innocent hands are considered unclean. And yet, as I type, more and more of these precious people are hearing about Jesus and deciding to follow Him. Why do they believe? Why do they sing His praises, even as they suffer?

It's hard to wrestle with God. Somehow it feels wrong. I find I get quite hung up on "wrong" and "right." And really, that's what makes me angry. As long as it's all about the rules, life's just going to be one long irritation. There has to be more.

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I want to follow that Jesus. The One who says to me, "Just as you are... come to Me. I know how to handle it. Bring Me everything." Maybe it's not so much about 'rules'. Maybe it's about the best plan - the Way to get the most out of life.

In John 8, Jesus is teaching in the Temple and a group of religious men bring before Him a woman who has been caught having an affair. As the Message says, "They stood her in plain sight of everyone." Imagine this girl. Her embarassment, her anguish, her shame. The leaders who drag her to stand before the crowd suggest to Jesus that Moses' law - the rules - call for her to be stoned. Stoning might have been something this woman had seen before. Bloody. Merciless. Brutal. I can see her eyes filled with fear, blinking back the tears, cast downward. As Jesus listens, He does something peculiar. He kneels down and writes in the sand. For a while. The Bible says that the leaders "kept badgering Him." Maybe He looked up at her downcast eyes before He stood and said, "The sinless one among you, go first. Throw the stone." And with that, He goes back to the dirt. Perhaps it took some time, some grumbling, some irritable huffs of indignation, but eventually, they leave her. Every one of them. The oldest ones go first. And then it's just the girl. And Jesus. Sweet Jesus. How must she have felt? How in love was she then? "Woman, does no one condemn you?" He hadn't looked up. He wasn't watching. She was no spectacle to Him. "No one, Master." "Neither do I. Go on your way. From now on, don't sin." Imagine her heart thumping, her eyes brightening, her tears welling up - but this time, for victory, for life. "Master." She is His. He is hers. She knew the 'rules'. But now, now she knows the Savior - she knows that she is accepted and loved. Now she calls Him "Master." Now, she chooses life. And we, like her, can choose it, too - because no matter how we stumble, we will continue to find life in His eyes.

This is Jesus. This is why I love Him. Because I know I am loved. And because of that love, that love that is deeper and higher and wider than any other love I will ever find, I want to be different. I want to believe. I want to rest, despite my unrest. I want to surrender, despite my need for control. I want to honor Him, despite my desire to please myself. I want to be and do everything I can't be or do on my own. This is the Jesus I want to follow. This is the Jesus I want to show people.

And this is the Jesus that the millions who suffer on this planet choose, time and time again. The Jesus who gives us strength to walk through seasons of life that call for our total destruction. The Jesus who equips us to love those who reject and abuse us. The Jesus who sees potential and ability in our weaknesses. The Jesus who invites the questions, the anger, the frustration, the tears, the sorrow, the heartache. "Come to Me..."

And so I come. I am a seeker of hope. I thirst for joy and happiness and laughter and peace and something - something that feels like lightness and promise. And if what I have believed of this Man does not help me to piece together the broken parts of my story - well, then, there is more to believe.


post signature

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you.

Jason and Laura McBride said...

I read every post. I pray for you. I mourn for you. Most likely I will never meet you, on this earth, but you have touched my life. You have written wisdom and truth and life on this blog.

My struggles are so much less and yet I've asked many of the same questions. Thank you for being honest and sharing the realness of what you're walking thru.

I am so so sorry for your loss. I pray that God continually holds you and carries you and lives in you- even when you feel like you can't breathe, even when you don't know all the answers.

I am just so touched by your writing. Thank you for sharing your story with us- God is using you in more ways than you'll ever know.

Blessings and peace to you,
Laura
www.mcbridefamilyblog.blogspot.com

juliekeefe said...

Yes. How amazing that My Jesus is also Your Jesus. That My Jesus will be the same for you as He has for me...that My Jesus has comforted you as He has me...that My Jesus makes us sisters. I am praying for you, Boothe..though we have never met, I am deeply touched by your every word and am believing for your victory in Him. I will be kissing my little ones for you tonight.

LiteraryGirl said...

I have been wrestling with questions like these for years, which knocked me off of my "stable Christian walk".

I love reading Philip Yancey. I would recommend Disappointment with God and Reaching for the Invisible God. Both are great when it comes to the subject of doubt. Yancey is soooo honest and real. No, it doesn't solve all the questions, but it did help me.

Emily said...

Keep on believin', sweet one. Jesus will not disappoint. :)

Rebecca said...

We love you, Boothe. It was nice to "see" you.

Jenny said...

Beloved, I was wondering how you would cope with having to be thankful this year. Or to find something to be thankful about. You have been on my heart all week. God still brings you to mind for so many peaople... You are still being surrounded by prayer, and God is petitioned by many on your behalf. You are loved.

Precious one, this song is for you... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axqXMuW8x1U

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Your posts are always a blessing. Your testimony is bringing glory to His name! Jesus promises, "'I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth... I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS: I WILL COME TO YOU... because I live, ye shall live also.'" We continue to lift your family up in prayer.

Anonymous said...

In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestles with God. He physically struggles with God.
First he prays, and he says, "God I am so unworthy of all your goodness. But I am afraid, and I need you, and you promised that I would prosper..."
Then Jacob met God down by the river and wrestled with him all night.
Jacob had a limp because God had touched his hip.
But God had touched him.
He had met God face to face, and God had blessed him.
He had physically interacted with God and walked away with a limp.

Some people try to lead these lives free of desperation and free of struggle. They can walk nice and tall and talk well,
But it's those that walk with a limp, that struggle, that are afraid, they're the ones that get down in the dirt, they're the ones that meet God.

the brown's said...

Amen!

Laurie said...

Sweet Boothe,

This is such a sweet message of HOPE.
Your hope in the Lord is so alive and bringing you through this season. "You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." We can only know the truth by questioning Him and seeking Him with all of our heart. There are no "rules" with Him, just love. He desires to give you rest. You can trust Him completely. He is HOPE in all things. Prayers continue for you and your family in my home as I think of you and Copeland daily.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Brent High said...

Wow! I needed this today. Thank you for continuing to share with us. I have a feeling an even bigger platform to share is coming your way very soon.

Anonymous said...

You are awesome, Boothe. Thanks for being real in your blog. May blessings drench you continually!

Leah said...

I love to read your blog. I may have said it before, but if not, I've certainly thought it: You have a knack for writing the things that so many people in suffering situations feel. I don't have the ability to write like you, but you capture my thoughts.

I pray for you and your family. We do find plenty of reasons to be Thankful- my first is that Jesus loves me. God bless you throughout the holidays.

Leah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Boothe, I am not where you are in life. I am not struggling with the path I am on. That is not to say I never have, but I am not right now. I am happily coasting. Happily coasting can be a dangerously lukewarm place to be! Thank you for reminding me that life is often not coasting. There is a lot of questioning. A lot of figuring out. It is in those times that we learn about ourselves and our God that we choose to love and be loved by. I love the picture you painted of the woman and the desperate love she had for Jesus. I want that desperate love for Him, but instead I choose to coast. THIS TIME, I want to learn those wonderful lessons now, while I don't necessarily need them so desperately, so I will be ready when I do.
I pray for you today that you feel a peace. Not that Sunday School peace we often talk about, but a true, deep peace where for one simple day there is no questioning or wrestling, but being enveloped by His strength. I pray that it is a peace that as you look in a mirror, you don't see yourself, or any pain or emotion, only a sense that you are completely and utterly taken care of.

cara said...

literally a few days ago i broke down in tears wondering if this whole God thing was some horribly complex joke people had somehow come to believe.

but like you, i realized there are really only 2 options--either A) He does exist, this is legit, and i just don't get it, or B) He doesn't exist--period.

i have to believe that it's option A. unfortunately, it merely seems like a matter of choice right now in the midst of grieving the loss of my daddy.

in deuteronomy the israelites are commanded to "choose life." maybe that's just it, huh? and even if it is only a matter of choice, by choosing life, we're choosing Jesus--the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

needless to say, when i read your post today i felt like i was reading my own thought process. so thanks.

i have to believe that somewhere down the road all of this choosing and wrestling will lead to healing.

Jennie Brewer said...

Boothe,

I am married to Will and Sara Brewer's nephew, and I have been following your blog and praying for your family for months. For some reason, my computer freezes up when I try to leave a message, but today it let me right in. I just wanted to say "thank you" to you. Thank you for being so honest with your feelings, yet so focused on the gospel. Your entries always point me to the Father, and during my own time of suffering over the last few months, your words have been such a blessing. I first read your blog to know how I could be lifting you and your family up, and while that is still why I read, I am blessed by the gift God has given you for writing. Thank you for sharing, and I will continue in praying for your family.

Devin said...

Thank you for sharing your struggles. I'm sure everyone can relate; I certainly can.

Hannah E. said...

That is just beautiful, compelling truth.

Anonymous said...

Your words are amazing and touch me. And though we may have gone through different events, I feel as if God has given you these words to share with people like me. I needed to hear it, to see it, and to believe it now. I continue to pray for you and your family. God has His hand on you, never to leave your side. Keep believing in Him and your faith.

-km

Anonymous said...

Boothe, In my darkest hours these verses have comforted me....because GOD IS.

"Hear my cry, O God;
Listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth
I call to You,
I call as my heart goes faint;
Lead me to the rock
That is higher than I
For You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against my foe.
I long to dwell in Your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter
of Your wings."
Psalm 61:1-4

Love,
Karen in TN

The Allen Clan said...

you are finally backkkkkkkkk..ohhhhhhh how i have missed you!

Anonymous said...

As the writer of our story, Jesus will continue to break pieces away and find ways to mend them back together, and along the way, we are surprised how the pieces not only fit together, but in turn, create a beautiful mosaic of our life story. Yours in beautiful, even if the pieces are still shattered.
~A friend and sister in Christ.

jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jen said...

I have been reading your blog and have identified with many of your feelings of grieve. I lost my mom 8 months ago. It has been helpful to read your honest thoughts, but my heart breaks for the loss of your beautiful daughter.

I too have struggled to be thankful this Thanksgiving season. Our pastor explained it as a season of sacrifice. Being thankful is not something that comes easy.

Please listen to this sermon...

http://www.wvbconline.org/sermons/112507am2.mp3

Steph said...

I am still praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you analyze His words. You brought forth those words, and MADE me see what it was. And I thank you for that. Gives/sheds new light for me in my bible readings.

Angel
http://journals.aol.com/cvgflydis/angels-thoughts/

The Wade's said...

I have heard the saying, "I would rather live my whole life trusting in God, and die only to find out that I was wrong, than live my whole life not believing in God, and die, and find out that God was real..."

You have touched me so much with your story, and your faith is so strong, even in the midst of your darkest days. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

It's been 4 months now since I lost my baby to Trisomy 18.

This site has some short videos clips to watch about others pondering life's hardest questions. They have a whole list of questions and answers - maybe one of them will speak to you.

Whitney
mormon.org

Amy said...

Your words blessed me today. I sent them to a friend who was just with her sister-in-law this weekend when she lost her 10 year battle with cancer. I know your words will comfort her. Thank you for sharing them.

Amy said...

It's me again. It's so weird how God works. I went to one of my favorite blogs after visiting yours, and there was this post that just make me think of you. This lady lost her girl in a horrible accident. I'm so not trying to compare pain, but I just thought her words might speak to you. http://jodyferlaak.blogspot.com/
is the link, and the post is from November 8th-Understanding God's Ways. I'm praying for you just as she prayed for that family...

{Karla} said...

sometimes I close my eyes and just beg the Lord to return NOW! so that all of the suffering will end.

But until then, I cling to His words of Hope.

Blessings,
Karla

Anonymous said...

http://www.especiallyheather.com/

Emily said...

Thinking of you today....

JMom said...

Still praying for you. (My neighbor met you & prayed with you at the mall in Nashville the day before Copeland's funeral, then came for the service.)
Anyway, I check on you frequently and pray for you and you heal. Thanks for sharing your heart on the journey. It is no doubt ministering to countless people.

So Blessed said...

Bless you, dear one, in whatever you are feeling as you grieve. Thankfully, Our Lord's love and support do not depend on our feelings, only on what we believe and trust to be true. You honor Him in doing that in the midst of your suffering. I pray for you and your family each day.

Mrs. MK said...

I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!!!

This is the cry of our hearts. We believe, but are plagued continually with unbelief-----and only God can reach us there!

Marie Lanathoua said...

Boothe and family, I have a special gift I would like to send you can you please (if you would like) provide me with an address? You can email me at marieg@ucr.edu.

God Bless you, you inspire me.

Marie Lanathoua,
Lake Arrowhead, Ca

Carly McWhirter said...

I know it's been awhile since I've posted, but I check the blog often. We continue to pray for the peace and comfort of His love to surround you all. We love you dearly.

Lori said...

Just as a previous poster said, "Jacob walked with a limp because he had been touched by God". Those of us who have been in the dark valley, walk with a spiritual limp. A reminder that our God is beyond complete comprehension, that His love is larger than our minds can grasp. There is pain and suffering here, but our Jesus walks with us interceding for us and feeling our pain and our hurt. My adivce: put one foot in front of the other, every day hand your pain, your questions to God, over and over. He is working, He is loving you, He is watching, and when it is time, He will show you His glory and you will be amazed.
Skipping with my limp, Lori

stacey O'Hara said...

Praying for you and your sweet family....

Stacey O'Hara

stacey O'Hara said...

Praying for you and your sweet family...

Stacey O'Hara

Matt, Kira & Jackson said...

I realize, as I read your blog, that never in my lifetime have I gone through something so life altering as you have. And, I pray that I never have to. Yet, I find myself doubting my own faith & my God at times for no reason! Thank you for, yet again, another clear reminder of what an amazing and wonderous God we serve who loves us even when we are unloveable & have nothing left to give. I hope as we enter this holiday season, which I'm sure will bring fresh tears to your eyes, you will cling to His promises as you are reminding all of us to do the same. Thank you again!

MightyMom said...

it is after times of greatest struggle that we have greatest growth.

Remember Jacob wrestled with the Lord, was maimed for life from the struggle, but did receive the blessing he requested.

MightyMom said...

one other thought for you.

I would rather live like there is a God and die to find there isn't, than to live as though He doesn't exist, then die to find He does.

God bless you.

Callen Martin said...

this truly ministered to me boothe! love you!

Anonymous said...

Boothe,

I know it's been a while since you wrote this particular blog, but I was waiting for my church to post the sermon done on 11-11-07 online so I could share it with you. This sermon, I thought, was great, and was given by an amazing guest pastor, someone who really reaches the fired up and excited part of my soul. THe basis of the sermon was on love and truth - and how important it is to have both in our lives, in equal amounts.

In the sermon, he talked about the very story you shared about the girl caught in the affair who was to be stoned. How amazing when Jesus said, "The sinless one among you, go first. Throw the stone." What an awesome thing - and nobody there threw a stone.

Anyway, in the sermon, the pastor was saying that he thinks he knows what Jesus was writing. He believes that Jesus was writing the sins of each person demanding this girl to be stoned. He'd write liar, murderer, thief, etc. What a neat interpretation! And while the Bible doesn't say what was being written, it makes you wonder. What an impact whatever He wrote made on those that day. And the forgiveness on the girl, the love He showed her, the compassion and grace - amazing! God is awesome!

If you are interested in the sermon, the link is http://www.oursaviorchurch.org/OSLSermons.htm. Click on the one dated: 11-11-07 Rev. Bill Yonker Keeping Both Oars in the Water 1 John 3:18-20.

I am so blessed through your blogs and enjoy re-reading some of them that have really touched my heart. I may not comment often, but I still keep you and your family in my prayers, and I hope you are doing well - it seems trivial to say that, because I'm sure "doing well" is not an easy thing. All I can do is pray. What greater thing can someone do when you don't personally know them? Prayer is powerful and I will continue to pray.

May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and really celebrate the baby in Bethlehem. Truly, the best gift - best gift - we could ever receive. And to know the best is yet to come - with our Lord!

Blessings to you,
Katie

Valentine said...

Very effective material, thanks so much for this post.
Rostbraten mit Pilzfulle (Beef Roast With Mushroom Stuffi