I am probably wrong — if not in entirety, then at least in some portion, about everything that matters to me.
About who God is.
About how to read the Bible.
About what it means for Jesus to be a human being.
About politics — and history too while I’m at it, and oh heck, eschatology too.
About raising my daughters and the assumptions and decisions I make for them.
About your motivations and the ways your wounds have shaped you.
About my own story and how I’ve made sense of it.
About your story too and how I judge it.
About All Those People and what I “discern” about them.
About what is actually happening in the world, and even about how the world actually came to be.
I have this experience, all the time if I’m honest, where I am Trying So Hard to get it right, whatever “it” is — and it is usually more than one thing. And deep down I know I’m getting it wrong. I know I don’t have all the facts, all the information, the circumstances are too complex, the possible outcomes infinite and unpredictable. I am overwhelmed with the imagined voices and faces of the witnesses that have gone before me who understood God, the Scriptures, the world and their place in it differently than I do. I see myself in contrast as small and hanging on for dear life, shaped in mysterious ways by my affluence, my education, my family, my historical moment, my personality, my church, my DNA.
And I picture myself finally, in that first moment, just after my last living breath, standing there before God and realizing all at once how wrong I was about all sorts of things that mattered, how I didn’t see clearly and how dim that mirror really was as I stared into it all the while thinking I had it all figured out.
But in that same moment — last living breath, first eternal breath — recognizing Jesus.
Recognizing Jesus because I have known him all my life, imperfectly for sure, but I know the sound of his voice when he speaks my name, the cadence of his speech when he describes what he sees, the marks on his hands and feet and forehead.
In the face of the overwhelming complexity of modern, or really post-modern life, I sometimes think, why, really, am I a Christian? Is it because I believe the Bible, prayed the sinners prayer and had a conversion experience? Is it because I grew up in a Christian home and an evangelical community instead of a Muslim family and Islamic community or some other religious or secular equivalent? Is it because I am afraid to walk away from ancient religious beliefs or too delusional to see the truth of our material existence? I have friends who would — who have — pointed to every one of these possibilities as the cause celebre of my faith.
This is why: I am a Christian because of the unbelievable grace of God who loves me, knowing fully well my human frame, knowing fully well I cannot, will not Get It Right. I am a Christian because God did everything I could not do, moving heaven and earth to make a way for me to belong, once again with Him. And as if that were not enough, God then condescends to accompany me on my journey even now in this liminal space of a now-and-not-yet Kingdom. Here, faith and doubt open up the widest road possible, a journey of shadows as well as light.
I find it breathtaking that in the midst of my deepest doubts, awash in the most excruciating tensions of daily life, the Person I most want to talk about it all with … is God.