Spirituality

Could You Please be More Specific? (back to Thessalonians with my next post)

I believe that the Bible can buttress and enhance the efforts of a sincere heart to discern the best way to live one’s life. But does anyone else ever get frustrated with what the Bible doesn’t say? When I read scripture, I find myself dissecting it and analyzing it. Partly because I enjoy it, but it occurred to me yesterday that perhaps another reason for that is because I’m desperately hoping for more personal answers if I just dig deep enough. Sometimes I think that the kind of pulling apart and analyzing I’m inclined toward can distract from the big picture, but mostly I figure if it stimulates thought and conversation about beliefs and ideals, it isn’t a bad thing.

I wish there were a different kind of map. “The Holy Atlas of How and Why,” perhaps. My hunch is that it’s already been published, tattooed on all of our souls, but why does it have to be written in Sanskrit??? Maybe I should explain my difficulty better. As an example, the Bible tells me that I should let God take my worries, my burdens. “Let go and let God” is an expression I’ve heard. Okay. But how? Scripture isn’t so forthcoming about that. I’ve prayed and prayed for help in letting go, for God to take my fear, or feelings of oppression and yet I find myself yanking them back. It seems like that fear is forever nibbling away at the edges of my consciousness. Why do I do that and how can I stop? I don’t think it is lack of faith; I don’t doubt God’s ability or willingness.

Is it really within my power to banish these feelings? Maybe I simply have to wait for God to answer this prayer in whatever way he chooses. Again, scripture doesn’t get specific. It doesn’t give us a time frame. I can’t help thinking it might be nice to read a verse that says something like, “So, if you give up all your nasty feelings to God at 1:30pm, they should be completely gone by 2:00.”  🙂 Or does letting go simply mean accepting the fear (or whatever else you might be trying to let go) and taking comfort in the knowledge that you’re not alone, that you don’t have to take it on by yourself? I can say with complete probity that I’ve done that, but the fear remains. Maybe it’s supposed to be there. Who am I to say?

My prayer today is for quietness of mind and spirit and for a little clarity; a mental clearing of the cobwebs.

I was looking for a passage to close this entry and found Lamentations chapter 3 oddly comforting and challenging all at once. Below I’ve included verses 25-33.

  • The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
    26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
    27 It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.
    28 Let him sit alone in silence
    when it is laid on him;
    29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope;
    30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.
    31 For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
    32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
    33 for he does not willingly afflict
    or grieve the children of men.

 

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4 thoughts on “Could You Please be More Specific? (back to Thessalonians with my next post)

  1. Haha! – you sound like a rule person, like me. Tell me the formula for doing it right, and I’ll do that! However, I don’t believe the Bible was ever designed for that. I believe it is an invitation. It gives us enough information about God to let us know he’s there and he’s worth knowing.

    Much of what we learn about his character from the word can help us navigate life and our relationship with him. But it isn’t all found in the absolute statements he makes about “this I like” and “this I don’t like” or “I will always do this” and “I will never do this”. It can be found in his responses to people and events throughout the Bible. The prophets are great for this. God is very graphically descriptive about the things that grieve him or please him and how they make him feel. He also shares an awful lot of his desires and plans. We can learn much about God’s heart in general from these passages – not just what he is saying about the specific circumstance.

    I can’t speak to your issues or fears specifically. But in my life, all my fears have boiled down to misconceptions/lack of trust in God’s character. I wanted to know the boundaries of what God would or would not allow to take place in my life. His willingness and ability were never much comfort to me. I know that God plays by his own rules and allows other factors (my own sins, the sins of others, the laws of the universe, etc.) to determine to some degree how his activity in my life will look. But what never alters is his CHARACTER. If I get to know him, what he desires and what he plans for me, for the world, for others, and learn to trust in that – fear has a much smaller foothold in my life. Letting go essentially means trusting. And trust has everything to do with knowing someone’s character. If I make it about where the lines are drawn, I will never be satisfied, because he hasn’t given me that. And for good reason, I think. If he did, would I ever seek Him?

    What sort of relationship would I have with my husband if I just wanted to know how to expect him to behave, but didn’t really trust him with my heart and wasn’t terribly interested in knowing his?

    Here are a couple of my posts that are related, if you’re interested and have the time. 🙂
    http://treasurecontained.com/2010/05/26/29/
    http://treasurecontained.com/2011/02/23/the-psalms-vs-systematic-theology/
    http://treasurecontained.com/2010/08/06/the-unguarded-mind-satans-playground/

    1. Thank you very much! I will definitely check out the posts you referenced. I don’t know exactly how to reply to your response. I recently posted an entry about trust and it is definitely something I’ve thought about. My honest feeling is that this one isn’t a trust issue for me, but maybe I’m wrong. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that “God plays by his own rules…” and I don’t presume that I’m privy to the big picture. I really do need to read the prophecies! I certainly have questions about the nature of God’s power and think people probably misunderstand it. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!!

  2. Just so you know – no response at all or a hearty “Wow, you’re really way in in left field on this one!” are acceptable responses to any of my comments. 🙂

    Interesting what you said about God’s power. I think people may misunderstand how he uses it more than anything else. Since when does absolute power mean absolute exercise of that power at all times and in every way? Yes, God can do anything, but I think it is nonsense to say that he created a universe with free moral agents and yet decrees everything that ever has or ever will happen. Or to say that God’s will is always done and affirm, at the same time, that things that are contrary to his will happen all the time. Completely antithetical.

  3. Peppermint Patty was once asked a question in a Geography lesson. She replied “Which ocean do you mean, ma’am. Could you be more Pacific?” (Schulz)
    When it comes to life’s mysteries, I guess we all wish we could find the right answer.
    If you find some, let me know.

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