I think I mentioned before that we’ve been reading Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince. I’m still liking it. There are some minor theological quibbles, but his determination to live in grace and not guilt is spot on.
Anyway, a recent chapter talked about two false messages the church tends to teach: “the more you know about God, the more God holds you accountable for your sin” and “the closer you get to God, the more trials you will encounter.” Both have some truth in their roots, but they get taken badly out of context. And Joseph Prince heard these things as a boy and took the most logical course of action: he avoided learning about God or getting close to Him.
Of course, Rev. Prince’s point is that these teachings are largely false; following God means your sins are covered by grace, and being close to Him may involve trials but definitely involves joy.
It reminded me of something that happened a couple months ago. I came across the blog of a friend from college, who I will call J. J was my Bible study leader, and I liked her studies quite a bit. She was very intelligent and very practical and very very determined to walk with God – the kind of faith that’s really a little scary. At one point she chopped off her waist-long hair because she felt she was becoming vain. Her conviction lit her up and made her bigger than she was.
I knew she got married shortly after graduating, but we had lost touch after that. When I found her blog, I learned that one of her children is terribly sick – in and out of the hospital, so sick she gets nourished by IV because her digestion is too out of whack for a feeding tube. And horrible as it is, my first thought was “well, that figures.”
I didn’t mean to be cruel or unfeeling, and I’ve been praying for them quite frequently since. But it seemed….logical, I guess, that she would run into difficulties. She almost seemed prepared for it.
The same part of my brain periodically gets convinced that our life right now is going too well, and someone is going to die or something. (I spent quite a while convinced that Beauty was going to be a victim of SIDS.) It’s the same logic that figures my sister C must have something wonderful coming, after all these years of pain.
I dunno. Does anyone else get like this? I don’t really know if this is some terrible character flaw or just a typical human brain trying to make linear sense out of a chaotic world. Probably the latter.