Tag Archives: God

Defending God (#22)

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I was having a conversation with someone the other day pertaining to politics and the role of religion in shaping one’s political opinion. I wondered aloud whether our differing theological views could contribute to any strife we might have in future, to which he replied “I don’t think so – I haven’t really seen it (Christianity) manifest in you”. Hearing that was like a slap to my face, after all the worst thing you could hear as a Christian is that you aren’t very Christ-like.

It took me a few minutes to process what he had meant by that, and I realised that to me, the manifestation of Christianity is love and patience and altruism learnt from being unconditionally loved by God. But what he had meant by that statement was that I was open-minded, tolerant of views different to my own and capable of reasonable debate. And it really saddened me to see what he thought Christianity was. Ignoring the sign-touting, hate-spewing extremists that plague every religion (after all, assholes will always exist regardless of what group you belong to), I think that there is a general defensiveness to modern day Christians. I think it is a brilliant thing that there is greater discussion, awareness and acceptance of more left-wing or radical ideas, even if I do not agree with them all. But I can see how this may feel threatening to the church. However, I don’t think being defensive will help anyone better understand Christ.

I don’t think it is our right to be offended when people reject Jesus. I often remind myself that a Muslim or a Hindu may believe in their faith as deeply as I do in mine. So who am I to tell them that they are wrong? I certainly wouldn’t appreciate them telling me what to believe in. I think it is important to bring people to Christ, but I think it is most important to do that through our actions; by quietly loving people, and being forgiving and gracious. I have a long way to go to become the kind of person I would like to be. But frankly, I think God doesn’t need defending to other people, I believe that the bible is the truth – my truth – and that God is perfect, and in His perfection, there is no need to defend or explain His word. We do not need to defend God against people, but we should represent him to people. Defensiveness stems from fear, not faith, and as Christians I think the only defensive front we need to take is to defend ourselves to God: to be able to justify our decisions and actions, and how we treat others and deal with situations in our lifetime. As John 3:17 says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is Absurd (Fickle Friday #46)

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I am always careful with the promises I make because I believe that they should always be kept. I find it difficult to trust people who make wild promises without a second’s thought or consideration- I am always suspicious of the likelihood of it being carried through.

I think that God is absolutely absurd. He makes the wildest most insane promises.

And he makes good on them all.

In every instance of my life, through every hardship and struggle, He has made good on his promises. And I have seen it work so evidently in my life this year. With surrender comes peace and rest.

I admit that I sometimes am of little faith. I am of a rather pessimistic nature and I sometimes innately doubt God’s hand over my life because I want to be emotionally prepared for any disappointment. But again and again He proves his hand sovereign above all. This weekend, after 10 years of praying and doubting, my mother finally accepted Christ. And my heart is brimming with joy that I can not contain.

If God can work miracles when I have so little faith, I can’t imagine what he can do with my faith renewed. I am thankful and I am excited. My God is absurd in mercy and power. What a marvellous thing.

Jol

A Sloppy Wet Kiss

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Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Whenever people ask me how it is that I seem to be doing so okay, I often reply “I’m not quite sure” or “It’s been a long time coming, I was prepared”. But I don’t truly believe that. There is only one reason, and it has nothing to do with my strength or resilience.

 If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.

It seems my afflictions are no match for His affection for me.

I will emerge out of my trials better than okay and stronger than before.
And to Him will all the glory be.

Jol

Canto 54

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Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy’d,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another’s gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last—far off—at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849) – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Reason for God

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I have been to church only once this year, which wouldn’t seem like as big a deal if not for the fact that this hasn’t happened in 10 years. One of my friends recently recommended the book Reason for God by Tim Keller to me, and my reply to her was:

I am not skeptical of my faith, just a bit disconnected from the church recently.

And it makes me wonder if a sentence like that has any logical ground to stand on, and if both halves of the statement could even truly co-exist in the same sentence. But I know I truly am indeed (still) not skeptical of my faith, so why this disconnection; this discomfort for the idea?

It is like looking through a window at a family you you have been a part of for so many years (longer than most of the other kids currently sitting around the table), and then realising that you have only ever felt like you were always in the periphery. But I do long to sit at the table.

I don’t feel liberated from anything. In fact, I’ve been feeling heavy. And that I think, is what your absence from God does to you. I’ve been feeling heavy for way too long, and have no idea how to undo the straps and shake it lose.

What a strange position to be in. How terrible.

Perhaps I will read that book after all.

jol

Kindess

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The first year of vet school has been grueling to say the least- evident by my lack of posts maybe? I hope I pass all of my units, but I am actually fairly confident I’ll need to fly back here in January to take a supp for my anatomy practical exam. Either way, I have been trying to put the worry out of my mind until I have a confirmation, but it is actually an incredibly difficult feat for my nerd-brain. Many things have been going on in my life that I think have been quite share-worthy. I will write only about the most prominent events.

Many of you may have heard about my bicycle stolen from the bike racks at uni- resulting in this very angsty letter.
UntitledI must say, I tried to be as encompassing and forgiving as I could but it is almost impossible to love your bike thief, especially since it was your mode of transport to school, and it just added extra pressure in an already hectic exam period. And it made me weep, both for my loss and for humanity. Regardless of the few (maybe 4?) posters I put up around school and the “STOLEN BIKE” post on the classifieds page, I had been pretty resigned to my fate. I mean, what are the chances, really, of recovering your stolen item. My housemate, however, told me to just pray for it’s restoration. So I did, albeit a  little half-heartedly. A week later, I received an email from this girl, S. It detailed how she unfortunately didn’t have any information regarding my stolen bicycle, but proposed to me an alternative option. You see, she had bought a bicycle- the exact same one I lost, but less new- 7 months ago and had been meaning to fix it up and ride it, but never got around to having the time for it. She read about m plight on the classifieds page and decided she wanted to give it to me. No payment, simply a re-compensation of passing the kind deed forward. And  I guess it made my year, not so much that I got a bike again, but that people like S exist out there, amidst the thieves and cheats. And it made me so hopeful regarding the world, and how it really isn’t that much of a terrible place. And I do miss my bike because a lot of effort from both Li and I went into it, but losing it allowed me to meet just the most wonderful stranger, and that was an incredible blessing.

I guess whilst this semester has been pretty difficult- probably one of the most difficult times of my life, I have just had so many things to be thankful about. There has been an abundance of blessing on me- I applied for a shitty abusive waitress job and didn’t get it after 2 exhausting (practically unpaid) days of trials, but then just a few weeks later, I got a job as a co-ordinator for a youth centre. I literally get paid $20/hour to befriend the kids and study my course notes as they did their homework, and then play the XBox/PS3 with them. God says no sometimes because he has something so much better for you. I am thankful for my group of friends in church and school that I can always rely on, for the people in Singapore I don’t speak to for ages but are always, always there when big issues hit, and for my classmates. My class is truly incredible. I used to think vet school was a dog eat dog world, and in some aspects it is, but I am so thankful that my class has an “All-in-this-together” spirit *Cue High School Musical*. I mean, we have a facebook page where everyone helps each other out as best they can, from past exams to collaborating on practice question and answers to even haring notes and everything that may help us all graduate. And it is so different from Singapore, it surprised me so much- that these are some of the smartest kids in WA and they want to share all that they have. I suppose it made me just feel like adding into it as much as I could too.

Kindness spreads. We tend to forget that, especially in the worst of times. But kindness, like a healthy bacteria, has the power to conquer the most vicious days. I hope we never forget to be kind.

Jol