Friday, February 26, 2010

Difficult Questions

I'm not real crazy about the title for this post, it was all I could come up with.

A few years ago, I went on a missions trip to London.  One of the things we did there was street evangelism.  They took us to a place called Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.  If you don't know it, Speaker's Corner is a place where anyone can stand up on a "soap box" and say anything they want.  Yes, really anyone, anything.  There were some people there who were just having fun, holding signs that said "kiss me" or "Make Love Not War"  Some people were just juggling and generally being silly.  The bulk of the people though, were there to talk about their faith and beliefs.  The group we were there with was talking about Jesus and salvation.  Many of the spectators there were muslim.  Our job was to wander through the crowd and try to start conversations with people about Jesus.
There was a man there who I watched  for a long time.  He was moving through the crowd and just talking out loud to anyone who would listen.  He was questioning who God was and what the bible says about Jesus.  Now I must preface this with we were told not to speak with muslim men.  Or rather, that muslim men probably wouldn't speak to a woman and we shouldn't even try.  However, at one point as I was standing and listening to this man shout his questions about Jesus, he looked right at me. 
I couldn't help it.
I stepped forward.
 He was wondering about why God would send Jesus to be born as a human, he questioned whether or not Jesus was who he said he was, and finally, he didn't understand the trinity.We talked for a few minutes and I tried to answer his questions as best as I could.
Finally I said, "I'm sorry but the trinity is difficult to explain and understand and I don't think I'm doing a very good job" (By this time we had drawn a crowd.  Which yes, I know was probably dangerous but looking back I honestly didn't realize what was going on around me, I was completely focused on him.)
One of the other gentlemen standing and listening said to me "Do you understand it?"
I looked at him for a minute before I spoke, knowing that my answer could mean all the difference.
"Well", I said, "It is difficult for me to understand that one, two, three people (I point to three men standing there) could be one person and three separate people all at once." 
"But I don't question it."  "I believe it."  "And I have complete faith in it."
His only response was a solemn look and a nod.
At this time I had to go because we were leaving.
I have never forgotten that man or that day.  I pray for him everytime I remember my trip to London.  I've been thinking about him again lately because our church's mission's conference week is coming up.  I often wonder if he is still there questioning, or if he finally understands.
Maybe it's not really a matter of understanding.  Some things about God we will never completely understand.  As believers we learn to accept this. We live in a world with a need to know attitude and access to instant answers. Sometimes it is hard to accept that there are things we just don't understand.

But accept them we must.  If we spend our time getting hung up on trying to understand everything and make sense of all that is in the bible then we may miss out on what God has for us right now.  Sure, I could have kept trying to explain to that man about the trinity using all kinds of metaphors or examples, but sometimes we have to just admit that some things just are.

Yes, Jesus being born of a virgin is difficult to understand.
Yes, three separate beings but all one being is difficult to understand.
and Yes, an innocent man laying down his life for millions of guilty people is difficult to understand.
Yet, it is the truth.  I know it with all my heart.  I live on it everyday.
Believing in Jesus? That's easy.
How about an earthquake in Haiti? the death of an olympic athlete? a house in foreclosure? soldiers in Iraq?
These things are not so easy to accept.
Given the choice we wouldn't have things happen the way they do would we?
No probably not.
But we are not God.  We are not in charge. 
The bible says in Isaiah 55:8, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord.


No matter what we think, there are just things that we don't always understand.

It's called faith.


Thanks for stopping by!
Josey

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