Several years ago, my life group decided to each pick a one word theme for our year instead of a list of New Year's resolutions. Never having been someone to make New Year’s resolutions, I liked the idea of keeping it simple.
I can’t remember what my word was last year. Or the year before. But this year’s word has actually been a concept I’ve returned to repeatedly in the last several months. The word is “unseen” since I wanted to remind myself of the reality of the unseen spiritual world with its counterintuitive principles.
I don't know if “unseen” is the best word for what I'm getting at. My Sunday School teacher uses the phrase “in God’s economy” frequently to refer to this inhuman logic; Jesus seemed to like the description “such is the kingdom of heaven”. Perhaps some would just call it “living by faith”.
As much as I want to rely on reason and facts, I find that God doesn't always work that way.
My church and life group have been going through some of the basics of apologetics over the last several weeks, but repeatedly my life group concludes, “You cannot convince anyone to become a Christian through logic. It takes faith.” We celebrate the craziness of Christianity --that God cannot be tamed or confined to our limited brains.
It reminds one of Jesus telling his disciples that they needed the faith of a child or letting them know that searching for God was the “narrow way” or like “going through the eye of a needle”.
Unseen Logic #1: Prayer is powerful.
When I chose the word “unseen”, I was specifically thinking about prayer --and my tendency not to treat it as valuable. Sure, I claim it is important, but the time I spend praying doesn’t reflect that. (Think Peretti’s This Present Darkness).
I’ve been attempting to write a novella. When I spend time working on the novella, it's tempting to view increasing my word count as progress, but instead I’ve been prompted to focus on prayer.
Human logic says that actually typing out words gets it accomplished. The Logic of the Unseen says prayer accomplishes more. If I write without the power of God then I am only a “sounding gong” or a “clanging cymbal” (to take that metaphor out of context).
Unseen Logic #2: The Spirit lives in me.
While I generally think of myself as a fairly confident person, I’ve been struggling with a lot of self-loathing lately. At one point, I caught myself again thinking negative thoughts, but I was so fed up with them that I verbally burst out “I rebuke you, Satan! Get out of my mind”. Now, that is generally not how I pray, nor did I consciously think, “I need to rebuke Satan.” However, I think that I reacted because the Spirit of Christ lives in me.
It is often easy to recognize the Spirit working in my life in hindsight, but in the present, it is often difficult to determine if I'm listening to the “still, small voice” or my own desires.
I've felt led to write a novella as my fictional testimony of God's goodness in singleness. I believe God wants me to write it and has given me a burden for singles. Yet, at the same time it feels incredibly presumptuous to say “God told me to do this", and I find myself questioning myself constantly: “I don't have the time, discipline, or ability. I'm an innocent little Mennonite girl whose life few could relate to.”
And yet, I have this nagging feeling it is what I”m supposed to do --even if the only person who benefits from the story is me.
Jesus lives in me. He works through me. It's exciting to see Him touch other people's lives through my actions, words and prayers. But too often I doubt that He wants to use me, and, thus, I miss out.
Unseen Logic #3: His strength is weakness.
I’ve been traveling a lot. Some may love being busy. I do not.
I was accusing God that He hadn’t come through the way I’d expected. “I’m tired of being strong.” I complained.
“That’s the point.” God told me. "Busyness shouldn't be about successful accomplishments, but rather recognition of your frailty, humanity and need."
It doesn't quite feel right to rejoice in failure, to be thankful for not being perfect, yet faith recognizes that success sometimes looks like human weakness.
I'm learning that living by faith often could be described as "acting crazy". Why celebrate a God who dies? Why continue to trust God when a baby has a fatal illness? Why leave the comforts of home to travel to a new place?
Faith is crazy. It's uncomfortable and illogical.
But the more I experience instead of evaluate --the more I pursue God instead of human priorities-- the more I long for the reality and meaning of faith.
NOTE: I often post several months after I've written the blog post --hence, the time discrepancies.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts.'
Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.
For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength." --1 Corinthians 1:18-25