this 'by faith' business...

Liquid Courage.

What a ingenious description for alcohol!  

And it seems to me people are looking for courage to face the day.  I am.

There is so little encouragement to sustain the output.
There is so little courage in the tank on any given Monday morning to get to Friday.

Meager fumes can only last so long.

I don't drink alcohol...but I know what drives a person to the bottle.  The insatiable longing for courage, even if only for a moment--and that just an affectation.  To swell up with robust confidence and charisma.  To grow a pair and move toward your fear.  To hear God even, deep inside your being, whisper "Peace be still".  That is the calming voice I don't feel I've been hearing lately...not as I desire...not as I need.

I haven't slept well for five days now.  My soul is tired.  My body beleaguered.  My eyes swollen and my neck muscles cramped with stress.  I need a massage.  I need a full body massage.  I need a full being massage.  Inside and Out.  Upside and Down.

I don't know if you ever feel this, but there are days when I can't even begin to imagine how I'm going to be able to stay awake during the day, let alone make a meaningful contribution to life.  Even as a pastor, I wrestle with futility.  I grope with tiring arms for something to grab that won't move on me.  Something or someone in whom there is no shadow of turning.

And then I realize that I'm wanting God, for he alone fits that bill.  But he is invisible and inaudible and intangible, dwelling outside my senses, outside the physical, the palpable.  And that makes it hard, because I really want to hug him today.  I need to be hugged by him.  And I don't want to just pray into thin air knowing, by faith, that he's listening and absorbing my heart, I want to meet him at the local coffee shop for a living conversation--you know, the kind of conversation where the other person actually talks back and maybe, just maybe, asks you questions about your life and listens intently to your answers.

I want God to be realized...I tire of the conceptualized God, the "by-faith" God.  But that's really the only kind of God available, so it seems.  The God who speaks with nudges and helpful hints along the way.  The kind of God that grunts, but not with breath being forced over moist vocal chords.  Not with a tongue and mouth, but with spirit and silence and written narratives passed down as oracles from ages past, this book called the Bible written by many, but with the stylus of one.  Sometimes the Word suffices.  It satisfies my need for something to grab ahold of and something that grabs ahold of me.  But then sometimes--like this morning--I yearn for more than that.  More than just faith and feelings.  Something more like a hug.

Maybe this is why Paul said, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Some days I can't wait to get this over with...this life of faith business.  I want to see God.  To know him even as I am known.  Then I will be like him, for I shall see him as he is.  This is the promise of the Word.  And with Paul...I long for his "appearing".  Cause writing now -- right now-- all I'm feeling is His...



Heidi said…
Thank you for your faithful posting. It is encouraging to hear the adventures, thoughts and struggles *gasp* of a man in your position. So many people look up to you and it is easy to put you, as a pastor, on a pedestal. It is good to see your very human side. The side that yearns for a tangible God. I am there too. Thank you for this post. It's hard to be drained and yet, be continually called upon to be salt and light.
I hope you find God in the most tangible ways that move and inspire you to forge ahead.

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