Why I Didn’t Write the Bible

I’m not much a fan of Paul.

I know, I know. It’s almost heretical to confess it freely. It’s not that I don’t like him. It’s not that I don’t think he’s a great teacher of our faith. It’s not that I don’t appreciate his sensitivity to the Spirit of God. It’s just…I’m not a fan. I read his letters, and I think, “Come on, Paul. Come down to my level.”

It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that I take great comfort in reading Peter’s epistles.

Nonetheless, I had an inner-argument this morning. It was between the Me who doesn’t care much for Paul, and the Me who knows Paul is right (I suppose this could be more accurately described as the natural self and the spiritual self — which makes Paul right, all over again).

It went something like this:

the Paul-is-right Me: Sarah, just stand.
the other Me: Quiet, you.
the Paul-is-right Me: Sarah…just stand.
the other Me: If I had written that passage, I’d have written something better. Like…and having done all, Crochet.
the Paul-is-right Me: Not crochet. Stand.
the other Me: Or…work on your novel.
the Paul-is-right Me: No. Stand.
the other Me: Or play my guitar.
the Paul-is-right Me: Or stand?
the other Me: Make lasagna?
the Paul-is-right Me: Having done all, stand.
the other me: Didn’t I tell you to be quiet?
the Paul-is-right Me: Just stand, Sarah.

It’s not that I want Paul to be wrong. It’s not even that I disagree with him. It’s more that I try to distract myself from the difficulty of life by doing things. While doing things can be acts of faith, acts of worship, acts of love, they can also be distractions and acts of disbelief. And don’t get me wrong — distractions can be okay sometimes. The problem is that if you seek distractions when things are difficult, you not only shield your gaze from the struggle, but also from the Solution.

Several months ago, my mom told me something that I found very profound. She said that we tend to relearn the same lessons again and again. It’s not always that we forget the lesson; it’s not always that we have failed and need to be corrected; it’s that we need the reminder of where our Help comes from. We need the reminder that nothing and no one in this life is stable or faithful; only God Almighty is faithful. Only He can be fully trusted. Only He can provide our needs. Only He can make us whole. Only He can grant us peace.

That’s where I am this morning: Relearning the lesson. Having done all, to stand. I don’t have to figure everything out. I don’t have to make a meal and write a new song about it. I don’t have to crochet a new afghan or save the whales. I just have to stand. I just have to plant my feet firmly on the Rock that will not move.

And be thankful…that I didn’t write the Bible.

Stand firm, then.

What is Man?

There is a place between the intellect and the heart–a fence, as it were, that divides the greener sides of faith and truth. There are those who would have us believe that our feelings justify our faith, that if something feels right then it must be right; and there are those who would have us test everything, defend everything, rationalize everything we claim as true. I think maybe both have valid points (and I’ve certainly claimed both at different times in my life). But I think there’s a compromise between the two.

I think there must be. If something could only be called “true” if we were able to absolutely prove it beyond question, then we would never believe anything. And conversely, if something could be called “true” by the mere emotion we feel, we would believe anything. The two must balance each other.

But there’s something more. There is something deeper than our brains and our hearts. I’m not sure what it is–kidneys, perhaps?

Last night, after a long and difficult day, I stood on the back deck, breathing deep of the cool Autumn air and gazing upon the starry host that God has given us. Sometimes when I’m silent, I think I can hear them declaring God’s glory. And it reminds me how small I am. How insignificant. Just a speck of dust in this great existence God has called into being.

And it humbles me. It brings low the importance of both my intellect and my emotions. It brings low my pride in thinking that I might claim to “know” anything about the Keeper of the Worlds. What can man truly know? What can man truly comprehend of a God who is altogether separate from everything else we can know?

And in spite of our tiny-ness, our inability to rightly comprehend Him or serve Him, He has given the full measure of His love for us. Not only has He loved us, but He has loved us with an everlasting love, and set us just a little lower than the heavenly beings. He has crowned us with glory and honor.

What is man that He is mindful of us?

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

Psalm 8:3-5, ESV

Perhaps we try too hard to justify what God speaks to our souls. Perhaps the question is not whether we can prove a thing, or whether it feels right; rather, perhaps the question is whether we can recognize the stillness of God’s voice as He speaks to us through shooting stars and Saturn and the Milky Way. And when He does–will we accept it, deep within us, where neither knowledge nor emotion are valid proofs?