Saturday, March 01, 2008
Love and Fear
Perfect love is supposed to cast out fear. I can believe that but the gap between belief and practice is wide.
What is belief, anyway? Is it reasonable to think that belief in Jesus can really make a difference in a person's life? I think so; look at all the artifacts of belief: dogs cowering under a friendly pat because of what they've been taught, people staying in abusive relationships because they believe that's all they're good for.
I grew up in a system that rewarded action regardless of belief, so I learned to run over whatever I believed so as to produce the actions expected. This is not what God wants. He wants my active, open-eyed, aware participation in the process of living with Him. There is a difference between mechanical action and action from belief. I think love is one of the latter.
How do I get there? It starts with the assumption that God is real, alive, and wants to work in me. That he wants my company. This is hard for me to believe because it's such a nice fantasy. How could it be real? As soon as I get close I'm sure he will drop me, run off and laugh at my naivete, or just get bored with how long it takes. Nothing he has done has supported this belief of mine. It's all history.
History can't be overrun by assumed belief. It also won't go away, and it's no good just being resigned to fate. I run away and hide from God in the deepest places I know and expect him to reach in there and haul me out into His light. That's the way our world and our churches would do it. We're all about force and producing activity.
God knows it doesn't work. Force of any kind is the psychic equivalent of rape and always produces bad results. The signs of a forced soul are clear to see, at least for the sensitive. What He does instead is take every invitation as if offered honestly and then wait.
I have to walk to Him. I have to choose to walk to Him. By light, by scent, by feeling the path is clearly indicated. I know the way to go: toward God. It's no good turning the castle over to him; he wants more than the stone shell. He wants my fragile fragmented soul, not to laugh nor to enlist but to heal.
I'm still afraid. Extrapolating, I can see what might come of this. Where might a healed soul end up? Outside the obscure, that's for sure. Do I want that?
Well, how much do I trust God? Do I really believe that He cares about me as myself more than as a subunit in some holy machinery? Do I believe that He knows me? Loves me? Ideally, love would want the best for another person, but is that my best or His best? Perhaps the two tracks are the same. Maybe I'm being attracted to something I truly want.
Yes, I've been stuck in this for some time. This post is similar to others I've made. Similar, not identical. Am I really getting someplace? I think so but it's like walking to the Rocky Mountains: from one day to the next there seems to be no movement. For someone who grew up with cars and airplanes the progress of spiritual development seems glacial. Truth takes time to grow under God's light and then he has to encourage me to to walk away from what's familiar to what's new... based only on what I believe about God Himself. Belief seems weak when compared to history.
It is not belief in the power of belief. Yes, belief has power but it's not the belief that works. It's
God doing the work and helping me work. My belief is in a person, not myself nor a principle. God holds my fragility against a hostile world that cares not for understanding. His love was first, then healing and belief waltzing in time with God's heart.