Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Okay, wait...yesterday, I said that if someone is distraught by their nakedness, troubled by their hunger, or worried about their worth, then their faith wasn't working for them as well as they'd thought. Does that mean that Christians aren't experiencing these things? Does that mean that Christians should not expect nakedness, hunger, and doubt? 

Not at all. 

It means that Christianity, uniquely among worldviews, has a way of dealing with these realities that is meaningful for its faithful. It has a way to respond to the troubles that we all face in a way that meets them head on, respects them, but refuses to be held by them. The problem with faith in other things is not that it doesn't answer life's troubles, but that it can't; Christian faith can.  

Not a lot of Christians will admit that. They'd rather say that Jesus solves all their problems so that they don't have any any more. They'd rather say that faith is stronger than the Fall, that they're perfectly fine and don't even know the meaning of the words "trouble" or "distress." But those Christians are lying, and they are presenting a picture of the faith that is just not accurate. Jesus Himself promised that in this world, we would have trouble. How did we become a church proclaiming anything else? 

But what Christianity does is it refuses to let these troubles dictate their own rules, and that's the difference. When you're naked, this world tells you that you must be clothed. It makes sure at every turn that you feel your shame until the shame just becomes unbearable and you start shutting parts of yourself off, sewing fig leaves over your life until your story is completely hidden behind a bush. Christian faith acknowledges nakedness, then offers a reminder that wide-open, shameless living was always part of God's design. It feels shameful, but it's not, and there's no need to hide. Then, instead of sewing fig leaves over your story, God weaves your story's threads into a garment of glory. All of a sudden, everything that made you feel so exposed makes you feel so beloved. 

When you're hungry, this world tells you to work harder. It tells you to put more food on your table. It tells you to eat, as though you hadn't already thought of that yourself. Because the world says that your highest glory is to be satisfied, and if you are not satisfied, then you are not living your most glorious life. Christian faith acknowledges hunger, but then it uses that to draw you in to the table of God. You're supposed to be hungry because this world, this life, cannot satisfy you. And only when you recognize that you cannot be satisfied can your hunger be glorified...and glorifying. 

When you don't know what you're worth, this world tells you to give everything you've got until you figure it out. Put yourself out there and see how you measure up. Try harder, go longer, dig deeper until you've made something of yourself, and then you'll know exactly what you're worth. Christian faith has already declared your worth, and it's because Jesus gave everything He's got so that you wouldn't have to figure it out. He just told you. He stretched out His arms and said, "You are worth this much." When you start to question who you are, ask Him; He knows. 

All of a sudden, all of these things - all of these difficult, troubling, terrible things that we all have to deal with in a fallen world - they're not solved, but they are answered. They are answered by Christian faith in a way that is deeply meaningful and doesn't require you to figure it out on your own. It is declared. It is stated. It is given. 

There's no other faith that does that. Not faith in science. Not faith in peace. Not faith in self. Not faith in "having no faith." Any other thing you can believe in in this world will leave you to answer your own questions. Only the Christian faith can say, in a way that matters, "It is finished." The answer is known. 

So it's not that, as Christians, we don't have troubles in this world. We have them. I have them. Lord knows I have them. Jesus promised we would. But it's very much that Christian faith is the only meaningful way to respond to these troubles, the only legitimate way to make sense of them. For everyone. For anyone. 

Even, yes, for you.

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