Saturday, 28 January 2012

I don't know how I know you, but I do

Morning, God.

I've been thinking about this origins of the universe thing. Evolution. Intelligent Design and all that. How and who and what and when and why. 

I know that opening line sounds as if I have some great insight to run by you but the truth is that yes, I've given it some thought and no, I still don't have a clue. 

What I did realise is that I really do believe. I really do have faith. I'm constantly beating myself up about not having enough, not being able to pray with enough expectancy and certainty to somehow convince you to make it happen, but when it comes to deciding what I think about how it all came to be, I don't have any problem in believing that it was you. 

Who else could it be?

It's always been other people who have the Big Faith. I've always looked around me in church and seen people who seem more alive than I do. More alive to you. More in tune with the Spirit. More committed in prayer and generally more switched on in a spiritual sense. For ages I've wanted to be one of those people. I've looked at myself and seen all that I don't have and, in typical me fashion, concentrated on the deficits.

But I do have faith. It's come as something of a surprise.

More than that, I realise that the faith that I do have is a gift from you. I couldn't have stumbled upon it by myself, or worked at it for long enough and with enough perseverance to get where I am; you gave it to me. I know that you have many more upgrade packages for me to install when I'm ready (and got rid of a few more bugs) - I know that there's a way to go, but I did feel a bit as if my eyes were opened the other day to recognise that I do have faith.

When challenged, I can't prove that you're there any more than anyone else can, and yet I know. How can that be?  It's hard to express. It's a feeling, a conviction, a sense, a knowledge. I know that you have answered prayers, I've seen your hand at work in my life, I've heard your voice, not in a booming or even a whispering sort of way but so clearly through other people, or the Bible, or things that I've seen or read. I've got to the point in my life that I recognise that there's loads that I don't understand but I am convinced that the only way that makes any sense is to follow you. Even when I have doubts - great looming, black-cloudy oppressive sort of doubts, I don't doubt you.  When things happen that I don't understand, or don't like; when I don't like what you're doing or I want to know answers, I might get down and wonder where you are, and I might get snippy and ask you what you think you're doing, but I don't at this stage of my life anyway, wonder if you're there at all.

I've read about the 'dark night of the soul' and all that; the places where people of great faith have found themselves lost in a place where you can't be found. I don't know about that. I know that I've had times when I've desperately wanted a hug from you, or a word, or something, anything comforting and it hasn't been forthcoming. There have been times in the past year where I haven't known if I'm getting it all wrong and I should feel something, or understand something or should be doing something that would make it all easier.

But I know after all these years of not knowing that I won't be shaken. I belong to you. There are days when you feel close and there are days when you feel far away but I know that you are there all along. There are days when I feel I can do it and there are days when I feel defeated but I know that you are there all the time. Someone reminded me the other day that you are for me, all the time. Wow.

I used to have moments where I wondered if it was all an illusion - if it was all true, or built on an exaggeration or even lies. Could so many people all be wrong? What would I do if it were all useless?  I've not had one of those moments for a while. I doubt myself, all the time, yes, but not you.

I can only speak for right now, can't I? Who knows what the future holds (but you?). I know that I am often weak and pathetic and lazy so I'd better not make too many promises; better not write cheques that I can't cash. But right now, thinking about our breathtakingly complex, beautiful, awe-inspiring planet, I see you, I know you and I praise you. Thinking about the hope that I have firmly tucked away in my heart, about the joy that I feel when I worship you, about the intensity of the love I find I can feel, I know that it's you and I love you.

People might challenge the Creationist view of the origins of the world, and I might not have an answer. People might come up with a compelling theory of something else and I might not be able to disagree. People I know get angry and confrontational and seem desperate to convince others that no sensible person can believe in you and anyone who does is a half-wit. All I have to say, when it comes down to it, is that I know, in my heart, that you are there.

It's not a touchy feely thing because I don't always feel you. It's a deeply personal thing based on experience and conviction and something else that I can't put my finger on. That's the gift bit. The bit that can't be described, can't be given away or shared simply because I would like someone else to have it. (Would be nice if I could do that). It can't be faked. It's the part that increasingly recognises your touch in my life. The part that wants to please you, to make you smile. The part that glimpses how wonderful it will be in the end to have nothing else to do but sit at your feet in the sunrise to end all sunrises and sing praises to you for eternity in a voice that never slips off key.

That's the Holy Spirit in my life.

That's how I know.

So I don't know how you made the world, but I know that you did.

I don't know how I know you, but I do. 

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