I’m a word person. Always have been. I like words and their origins and definitions. I like to use the most accurate and descriptive word possible when I’m talking or writing and regularly stop mid-sentence if I can’t come up with it off the top of my head. I’m sure my love of words is deeply connected to my love (er, obsession?) with books and reading, but I think there’s definitely an additional element of my personality that is drawn to words, to word pictures, and to the articulate use of words.
Probably the most influential quote I have read in the past six months came from Frederick Buechner, from a sermon entitled “Follow Me” found in his book The Magnificent Defeat. Buechner says:
“Faith is the word that describes the direction our feet start moving when we find that we are loved.”
That sentence messed me up when I read it for the first time six months ago. It has messed me up every time I have read it and thought about it and meditated on it since then (and this has occurred rather often). It still messes me up today, although maybe now for slightly different reasons.
If I’m being very honest, I’m having a bit of a crisis of faith right now. I am wary to admit it (and am tempted to just delete that last sentence…but I won’t). I had a long and rather unexpected conversation with my friend John today about some of the things I’m struggling with. One of the bits of wisdom he shared with me (and there were many) was how easily we forget that God desires to have a relationship with us. God doesn’t want us to have a system of beliefs or a moral code, he wants a relationship.
And relationships are messy. Just because we know a lot about a person doesn’t mean we know them. The knowledge of the intimate details of someone’s life doesn’t mean you have relational intimacy with that person. Love and trust can only come from the intimate knowledge of a person. John reminded me that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He didn’t say, “I hold the truth,” he said, “I AM the truth.” And that we can’t know truth unless we know him–really, truly know him.
I’m struggling with truth right now. For reasons rather beyond my understanding, so much of what I believed in the past about God just isn’t enough anymore. I’m not sure why I believed much of it in the first place and I’m not sure if I believe it still. I am struggling with my faith…and if I really boil it down, I think it all comes back to the Buechner quote–I don’t know that I’m loved. I know about the love of God–I can tell the stories and share the verses and even tell about specific instances in the past where I felt the love of God. I understand it cognitively, but I don’t know it right now experientially (through intimate relationship). And really, can we ever know that we are loved without intimate relationship?
So I find I’m not moving anywhere. I’m struggling with my faith. I feel broken and confused and more than a little frustrated.
And there is no resolution, either to the concept in my life right now, or to this blog post. It’s just where I’m at right now, and I’m trying to be a bit more honest about it.