Wrestling with the Almighty

Simul justus et peccator. — Martin Luther

I must introduce myself by offering a general disclaimer: I am not a qualified or licensed theologian. I do not have my M. Div. I have never been to seminary. I’m not even all that well-versed in the writings of the church grandfathers. I have no earthly right to be espousing religious opinions on the Internet. So what could possibly possess me to begin a blog that, by its very nature, will anger and irritate many who read it, both inside the church and out of it?

Simply this: I want to chronicle my faith journey.

I am not new to the hard road of Christianity, but I will confess that for many years, I have been in the proverbial carpool lane, coasting along at high speed, drafting in the shadow of greater men and women. I have taken some approved exits and some unapproved exits, but I have never really been to the countryside. This is, perhaps, a metaphor that is working too hard, but my point is that my Christian life has been one of the easy way, the fast way. It is no longer enough.

This is, perhaps, a difficult way to introduce myself here, but it speaks to where I have been these last many months. Last summer, I left a career that I loved to devote myself fully to my children, husband, and home. In the broken spirit that came from that decision, I remembered my Savior. I decided that I must start rebuilding my life with my priorities in the right place. At the top of the list was returning to God’s Word with a broken and contrite heart. My prayer since then has been to increase in love and devotion to my Savior. He has at once answered that prayer with a resounding “yes” and given me a clearer perspective of those things I lack.

But as always with Jesus of Nazareth, he never convicts without also offering a solution. For me, the answer lies in delving deeply into the Word of God, spending time in prayer, studying the words of those who have walked these country hills before me, and sitting at the feet of the Master. Well, in all honesty, it’s more about wrestling with the Master. And like those who have wrestled with the Almighty before, I expect to come away with some lasting changes.

I have never gone easily into belief. I am not a believer by nature. I am a skeptic, and I do not trust my emotions. I have envied those who can simply believe and follow, for I cannot. I need proof, reasons, evidence. And in my healthy desire for proof and evidence (which I think is biblical), I have fallen into another sin–that of complacency, of depending on head knowledge to save me. I have been a hearer and a believer, but not a doer. I have coasted. I have been spiritually lazy. And as I’ve awakened, I have asked the Lord to separate the wheat from the chaff in my life.

This brings us to the name of my blog. I have been on God’s threshing floor for months. I do not expect to leave it anytime soon. There’s a lot of chaff to be blown away. But for now, this is a good place. I am reminded that I am “at once justified and sinner.” I am reminded that God disciplines those he loves. And I am reminded that only when the wheat is broken is it useful.

I do not expect all of my posts here to be morose. I expect to explore a lot of issues that the American church wrestles with every day. I also expect that I will be a pebble in the shoe of many followers of Christ as well as those who do not follow Christ. But I do promise that I will be respectful, that I will offer reasoned, thoughtful arguments, and that I will be open to polite and vigorous debate here. I pray that I might give you something to think about, even if I cannot persuade you to my perspective. And I promise that I will not inundate you with posts (perhaps three per week at the most).

Whether you join me on my faith journey or not, I pray that your own journey would lead you to the foot of the cross of Jesus.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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