Here we are again, folks—The Gospel Rants have returned! I’ve had this Rant on the backburner for a long time because there’ve been so many other things to write about, but I think it’s enough of a softball for us to use it to get back in the swing of things. I’m not exactly rewriting the Bible here. I constantly accept your death threats and spam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I must have been the most annoying little brat who ever walked the face of the earth when I was a kid. I bet there were days when all my Mom wanted to do was chuck me from a fourteenth-story window—because I didn’t know how to stop asking why. The whys from me were unending, almost merciless.
I took the little kids’ game to an extreme and, when I was older, it became the undertow of my life. The unanswered ‘why’s of the world were what drove me into depression in high school—why am I going to school? Why is it good to please my parents? Why is it good to succeed? Why is ‘good’ good? Why does anything exist at all, if it’ll all end one day?
I’ve sought answers for these questions my whole life, and although I know the answers are in Christ somewhere, I can’t say I’ve nailed them down one hundred percent. I think it’s more likely that what I write now will change drastically by the time I’m twenty-five, then again at thirty, thirty-five, etcetera. But for now, I’m going to take a stab at answering the big ‘Why’ in as much detail as I can: Why is anything here?
There have been many nights I remember where I laid in bed from sundown to sunup, sleepless, groping for a reason to get up in the morning. Trying to convince myself that my life had purpose. Trying to just figure out what the hell it all meant. Ticking clocks were the worst—there was one in our living room, and on the nights when things were really bad I’d go out there and sit and look at the wall to think. And that cursed little machine would tick my life away, me just sitting and listening and wondering why things had to be this way.
Frankly, many people that I cared about have pushed me away because of my whys, and a few of them have hurt me incredibly. But even those passing pains are bricks in the stone slab of the question—why does it hurt when people leave? Why do I need people around me?
You see now that it’s a fortress I’m trapped within, and not what so many people think—not a shabby little lean-to I can leave whenever I want. I sought God years before I ever knew Him to find how deep my fortress is. To try and get out. And there is a door; I’ve found it, and I cherish it, but it’s difficult to take (as these things must be). The door is understanding, and humility, and love, all wrapped together. I don’t know if there’s another word for those three qualities together other than ‘God’.
And of course, now I’m funneled to where all thoughts on this topic must go: God made us for His glory, that we might enjoy Him, but not that we might have all the answers. The meaning of our life is to walk with Him, as is stated frequently throughout the Bible—this bloke walked with God, that bloke walked with God. And that’s all there is. The humility of our lack of understanding is that this answer, however unsatisfying, is where we must stop—as far as I’m aware, there isn’t anything to be known past it.
What does it mean to walk with God? In the Pentateuch, specifically in Genesis, the phrase ‘walked with God’ occurs frequently, and it seems to carry the connotation of a lack of sin—but I don’t think this is complete. Remember that, at that time, the law had not been given. It could be that these people were following their hearts and being true to their consciences, which allowed them to be pure, or it could be that God had simply chosen them to walk with Him regardless of their sinfulness or purity, as He seems to have done with Jacob.
I think the only answer that I have now to the question of how to walk with God (as a twenty-year-old fool, of course) is what some Christians refer to as ‘practicing the presence of God’—putting yourself in God’s presence and remembering Him throughout your day. Personally, I pray; I know other Christians who worship internally; I know other Christians who memorize Bible verses. Whatever works, I suppose. The reason I suggest these methods and exclude the hypothesis of God’s sovereign election is because, if it’s true and God has simply selected those who will walk with Him, there’s nothing we can do about it, so there’s nothing for us to do.
Walking with God doesn’t make the questions go away, but it gives me something better to do. I’ve found that the more I do it, the easier it is; in addition, it strengthens my prayer life, helps my decision-making and makes my evangelism bolder. I guess I should’ve expected all that, though—God tends to make us a little bigger than we really are.
Lord, thank You for another day! Please grow us in faith and in wisdom, and show us why we were made. I pray that we would seek You more and grow bolder in our faith, that You’d purify us, and that You’d give us love for You. Please make us humble. In Jesus’ name,