Faith

Symbols of a Dying Faith

Sit with me a bit and mourn, will you? Dying doesn’t come easy.

I’m not, by default, a religious person. In fact, I would go so far to say that I hate meaningless rituals and religious services. They nauseate me. Yet much of my life, this is what I have perceived in the church and many of its followers.

Forgive me for being blunt. It’s one of my best and worst traits.

But just as I was ready to give up on it all – on religion – in my youth… there was Jesus. Out of the box, come as you are, a very real and uncontainable, Jesus.

Then there was church. Church felt shallow. Never quite fed the soul. Never quite understood what everyone was meeting for. To worship? Hmmm. If one hour a week does that. To fellowship? I guess. But why then, does everyone take off in such a hurry once the sermon is over? To feel righteous? Does a meeting take away sin?

But then, there was Jesus. Magnificent, wonderful Jesus. I met him, you know. Really met him. Not a voice in my head. Not words on a page. Real Jesus. I met him.

He was there that night, under the stars. He saw what those men did to me, though the alcohol made me forget.

He was there when I whispered the three words that would change my life: Jesus help me.

He was there as my son lay dying. Swollen. Glazed over eyes. Mouth as dry as the desert. He simply touched him and the doctors could not explain how the sick baby boy was restored. But I knew. Because I had already met the Healer.

He was there as the very people who brought me to him slandered me and rejected me, over and over without reason. He sat with me, not above me watching, but with me. Emmanuel, God with us, sat in the dust with me.

He’s been there as I’ve become invisible to everyone around me. Forgotten in the busyness of life. Every morning he was there. Speaking to me: “You are not alone.”

He was there when I lost my mind, over and over. When the panic took over and all reason was lost. Sheer panic and terror overtook me. Unexplainable. Yet, He was there all along, a constant peace: “Its okay. I’ve got this.”

But Jesus, where are you now?

The verse of the day doesn’t cut it. A short prayer before bed. Rhymes chanted before each meal. These aren’t you. These are symbols. Symbols of a dying faith.

Where are your people? They seem to have gone into hiding. I miss being with them.

Where are you? I’m searching everywhere, but you’re nowhere to be found.

Yet, because I’ve met you, I will not doubt. I will not be shaken. Those who haven’t, well, I can see why they leave the faith.

But as for me, I will remember you and wait.

15 thoughts on “Symbols of a Dying Faith

  1. Thank you Heather for sharing your heart!

    As Believers we are not a people that have no hope. We are more than conquerors and no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

    I love your last line. “Yet, because I’ve met you, I will not doubt. I will not be shaken. Those who haven’t, well, I can see why they leave the faith.” When you’ve met God you can be confident in this one things, you shall see the glory of the Lord!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow. That’s some amazing powerful stuff. As someone who feels abandoned by the church and by so-called Christian friends, this hit home. I gave not gone through the horrors you did but I’ve gone through a few other things and yes, he was there and so I too wait and know He is there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather, I appreciate your raw, honest thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

    I do wonder, sometimes, how Jesus can feel tangibly real in one season and so distant in another. And then I remember that he’s just as close as he was before; I’m merely experiencing an opportunity to grow in the belief that he is faithfully close even when I can’t seem to find him.

    Bless you this Christmas season. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve often wondered that myself. It seems like such a mystery to me at times. Often though, it’s when I get too busy that God feels far away. It’s when I slow down and take time to listen that I realize he’s been there all along. Merry Christmas Sara!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Recently I was struggling to feel God’s closeness, even became upset with Him because the Bible verses just didn’t comfort me at that point. As you said, I do know Jesus because He was there even if my ritualistic method wasn’t turning out. He’s always there. Thanks for your honest expression. It felt relatable.

    Like

  5. Thank you little sister for sharing. I rejoice your son is okay. The church is a group of imperfect people who experience forgiveness from Jesus but fail at times. Unfortunately, you experienced the failing of others little sister. I rejoice that you still seek Jesus and his love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your writing is very authentic. I agree, it is often difficult to see God in the midst of religion. But I think that’s always been the case. Even Jesus was killed by religious leaders, and the church or Corinth was seriously jacked up. Many New Testament letters address issues within the first century church. And in the Old Testament, even those who had such tangible interactions with God fell short in their faith and obedience. But there will always be a remnant. God’s Kingdom will always forcefully advance because He is God and He will be glorified. We can draw inspiration from that even when people and institutions fall short of our expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

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