Have you ever wanted to read a book, an author, and for whatever reason put it off? Maybe you forgot about it. Maybe you discovered another author, and felt compelled to read all of their books before delving into something else. Maybe you are like me, and simply forgot to pick it up in all the grandeur and fantasy of a beautiful bookstore.
Whenever I am curious about an author or a book and then forget about it, nine times out of ten, that book that I forgot becomes one of the best books I have ever read. Sort of like the universe is saying to me, this is what you get for not listening. I could have given you this treasure months/years ago, but you had to have that other ridiculous book first.
Max Lucado is an author that I have wanted to read for years. I was introduced to him by a long forgotten therapist, and told that he was a joy to read. I was wary that this would either be a text devoted to how great God was, how I much I needed him in my life, or a story of fire and destruction as a direct result of my not finding love and peace. Mr. Lucado is probably all of this, but the amazing part is he is so much more. He takes rather complex and fascinating stories, put’s them in a understandable form, and with humor tells you that someone somewhere actually thinks you are kind of important.
In the book shown here the author goes into detail about Jesus’ desire to go to a party. His first great act as a Messiah was to go to a party, a wedding. Probably because he just finished his forty day fast and he was hungry and thirsty. Probably because he liked to dance as much as the next guy. But probably because he was trying to teach us all a lesson. Even God enjoys a moment of fun. The stories continue from there.
I am always wary of religious books. One because they tend to preach at me, without hard fact. I am simply not the kind of person who can take the bible as hard fact. What I can do is take the stories and the lessons written in the bible and use them to learn about not only myself, but what is truly important in this world. But I have to have hard fact, something provable for me to see the point you are trying to make. Just give me a story with no basis in fact and I end up being so stuck on the lack of fact, that I will forget whatever point you are trying to make. My anger at an author’s belief in my stupidity makes relating to a point moot.
My relationship with God is not so much based on faith, I contend that faith is a lazy man’s excuse; but rather a journey to discover not what but why. For instance, we all know the story of Mary and the manger. My question is, would Mary the mother, knowing the ending of the story, raise her child to die? We can all debate that he died for us, and I believe he died so that we would all began the dialogue but I wonder if a mother would really allow her child to die? Would I? Could I raise my child to die for the nebulous idea of mankind? I don’t believe that I could. Probably why God didn’t ask me.
I have always thought that the moment I reach St. Peter’s Gates, the man himself is going to lean down and tell me quietly, “Library is to the right.” And that will be it. I will spend the rest of my eternity encoused in one of my most beautiful dreams; a brillant library of all books past and present waiting for me. The chairs will be so comfortable I will never need to move; and delicate pastries and fruits will be available for my snacks. I will never need glasses, and I will sit in a place where those that I love can come visit me. That is my dream. And I am sticking to it.
But in the meantime, I will wonder and I will worry. Who are these people that could make the greatest sacrifices, for an idea that doesn’t yet exist? And does God really desire to know me? I know that everyone is automatically saying, ‘sure he does’. But it doesn’t work for me. I am a nobody, I will never be anybody. I won’t create great art, nor will I ever sing an Aria of weeping portions. I will forever be just one of the masses, and ultimately I have come to terms with that. Those childhood dreams of greatness are just that, dreams.
I, like everyone else, hope that there is some kind of meaning for the horror that has been found in my life. I, like everyone else, look for easy answers to incredibly harsh questions. Questions that do not have answers, and will never have answers. But that doesn’t mean I can ever stop the questions from forming. I can not and will not be able to ever learn that water is can form crystals that are arts of works, without proof. And I can not ever believe that God cares one little wit about me without proof.
I don’t believe God truly wants me to. I don’t believe God created such miraculous things as the human brain and not expect us to use it. I think he expects us to question; I think he expects to honestly have doubts. But I also think he expects us to work at finding solutions to those doubts. Think of some of the greatest known thinkers of our time…got one? I almost guarantee that the man or woman you are thinking about, questioned God. Some to the point of declaring themselves atheistic. Did God punish them, or did God say, good for you. I gave you the means, now find the answers.
I enjoy a nice service in church every once in awhile. I like the music. I enjoy a candlelight service, and singing hymns with people I have never met. I don’t have much time for the brim and fire, and I can’t live with myself if I believe that God is sitting on high hating me. I will never believe that God celebrates hate or anger, or bloodshed. I will never believe that God looks upon a sick child and rejoices. Maybe the angels in their quest to protect the great One shield him from these images.
I don’t have the answers, but I truly believe God asks me consistently to try and find the answers. Read Max Lucado. He probably can’t provide all the answers, but he may help you take the first step in the journey. If nothing else, I promise he will make you smile.