Pointing to the Moon

The questions started with an unthinkable event experienced first-hand by close friends of ours. The questions turned into an avalanche of questions after reading a seemingly innocent chapter, When You Believe In God But Don’t Think He’s Fair, for our Friday night small group.

Is God kind?

Where does God’s Omnipotentcy go in the midst of what seems like a tragedy?

Does He actually love His children like I love mine?

What is salvation, exactly?

What is “right belief”? And is that enough? Or does it not even matter? How wrong can someone be and still be “saved”?

Is God really “for” me?

The list goes on. I wasn’t at a crisis of faith; not really. These seasons of questioning are just that- seasons. I was about due for another one.

For reasons that aren’t in the realm of this post, when something really unfair happens, I pull away from God. I point my finger at him. I emotionally distance myself from Him. I put Him on trial. I feel uncomfortable with it while it’s happening, but my only other choice is to try to squash the questions back inside, lecturing myself with the voices of seasons past who tell me to try harder at believing the “right” thing.

What I’ve been able to articulate after reading Rachel Held Evans’ book, Evolving in Monkey Town, is that perhaps it’s not God who has to be on trial.

When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time (p. 220).

So while some of the questions remain ones that I’m praying about, pondering on, and researching, my faith and worship remain intact. In this comes a real sense of freedom.

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