My wife is going overseas for ten days to visit her family. As she nears the departure date, the frenzy of packing and preparing for international travel is upon us. Do you recall the movie Braveheart where William Wallace is on his trusty steed and he holds out his arms as he heads into battle and yells, “Freeeeedoooommmm!” Do you remember that? I go around the house with my arms spread wide yelling “freedom.” I receive the look of disgust. But truth be told, the closer her departure date presses in on us, the more I dread her leaving. She is my best friend; and though she will be gone only a short while, there is a sadness within me, knowing I will be empty for a few days without her. I even checked my cell phone provider’s website regarding an upgrade for international phone service so I can hear her voice while she’s gone.
We live in a world that is absent of much depth. And I realize I am just as much guilty as the next person. What is the saying? “We are a mile wide and an inch deep.” In this Christian culture of emotional songs and music that moves us to the heart of worship, have we missed some depth in our Christian walk? Peter wrote; “…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you….” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV, emphasis added). Do we know why we believe and can we explain that belief to someone who asks?
I thought I could, until Duane stopped in my office last week. I had never met Duane. He is 79 and he is scared because he does not believe the truth of God’s Word. I failed to convince him. I hope I helped. But I was reminded that I need to improve my defense for the logical conclusions I have come to about my faith. What is the reason for my faith? What could I have said differently? I did point out to him that he already had faith, because he believed in good and bad and good can only come from God. I don’t want a faith that wavers. I want to be sure of what I believe.
I have been reading Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews says often throughout his letter; “don’t throw away your confidence,” “you have need of endurance,” “have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish” and “let us hold fast our confession.” He writes in Hebrews 10:39, the verse right before the “hall of faith” in chapter 11; “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (ESV)
We tend to think that if there is not an emotional connection with God that it isn’t authentic. But we must press on and not shrink back so that we won’t be sluggish regarding our hope in Christ. I wonder, if we offer pseudo-responses to God sometimes trying to force a connection with Him. I wonder, if we actually know what we believe and why. I wonder, if anticipating my wife’s phone call from Malaysia is due to the depth of love and friendship we find in each other. I wonder, if missing her is because of the time we spend together. And I wonder, I wonder, if I would become a friend of God, connected deeply with Him, if I would spend more time listening to Him through His Word. I would imagine I would grow very close to God, and I would figure out what I believed, if I would spend more time in His Word…so I wonder.